As I write, Sandy is driving us all insane. He has not yet given up on his devious plan to ensure his release through relentless barking, howling and other forms of [extremely annoying] vocalization. It’s been three days of this—the same amount of time I’ve been suffering a mild but unrelenting headache and stomach virus. Hmmm…could it be the two are related?

Today, I was uncharacteristically heard to remark: “Either that dog gets ‘aced’ or I do!” And then I felt guilty…

So you know, “ace” refers to the ubiquitous veterinary tranquilizer formally known as Acepromazine. And I’m loath to apply its characteristically mind-numbing effects just for the sake of my own personal sanity—or the staff’s, for that matter. But this case may yet prove an exception. I mean, it can’t be good for him, I rationalize, all that stress he must be feeling…and tearing up his larynx like that.

For the love of God, just knock us all out of our misery!

Sure it sounds borderline cruel to sedate an animal just because he won’t stop barking—especially if the goal is to soothe your own frazzled psyche. After all, this dog is half Jack and half Beagle—he can’t help it! But what do you do when the barking is so persistent that every cat in the hospital looks like it’s hanging on by the thread of its last exposed nerve? Is it OK to tranquilize him for their sake?

It may seem like a no-brainer. And depending on the hospital and its culture, it very well may be. Animals get sedated a lot for a whole host of minor reasons in many places I’ve worked. If the animal is relatively young, healthy, and working himself up (along with everyone else) it’s often considered acceptable to sacrifice one creature’s optimum health to quiet his inner demons and effect a modicum of peace in his surroundings.

So why is it that I suffer in deciding whether to propose to my colleague (Sandy’s doc today) that we actually give him a dose of injectable rest? I guess it just seems too self-serving. Yet the owners of his hospitalized brethren (the poor cats!) could probably care less whether I have this little inner battle with myself. Just shut him up already!

Just when we were getting ready to do so, however, we received a phone call from his owner agreeing to pick him up a day ahead of schedule. Woo-hoo! So it was that when she walked in an hour later bearing a tray of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, I had cause to feel guilty all over again for wishing her dog comatose. Too bad my stomach’s too much a mess to eat one, though…sigh.