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Justin and the Vet

In 1995
after Sonic the Gerbil passed away I asked the Vet if it would be possible for Justin to work with him for a week's work experience as I felt this might help him to come to terms with the death of his beloved pet's. Deirdre, the Nurse, made arrangements and said she would phone Justin with a date.

In June
1995 Deirdre (the Nurse) phoned Justin and invited him to spend a week helping at the Surgery, he was delighted. Two days after Deirdre phoned Justin got a job in a Garden Center which was destructive to his self esteem and which became a product in the destruction of our family as it was. Justin was to begin working with the Vet on the 17th July '95 and he spent a lot of time deciding what he should do with regard to his work in the Garden Center when the time came to work with the Vet.

We went through different scenarios with him and suggested the various choices he had, in the end he decided he would give a week's notice to the Garden Center. On Saturday 15th July when he was leaving his wages were not ready for him and he was told to call back for them and to bring back his uniform washed and he would then get the 10 deposit deducted from his wages for it. Considering the treatment handed out to him we were all relieved that he was leaving.

On Monday the 17th July Justin got up and prepared for his day with the Vet. I got up and made Tea and he had his cereal, four weetabix and a pint of milk. He left home at about 9.45 a.m. When he came home at lunchtime, about 12.15 p.m. we had some lunch together and he told me about his morning with Michael McCahill, the Vet on duty. He said they had a quiet morning and his duties included cleaning up after the Animals. He had the opportunity to watch Surgery been performed on a dog who had problem's with a toe. He enjoyed the experience and was eager to get back for the afternoon. He returned home at 4.15 p.m. and once again had stories to tell about Surgery performed on animals that afternoon and playing with Bart the cat and Zack the German Shepherd dog.

On Tuesday the 18th July he went off to the Vet's again eager and confident. Again he came home at lunchtime and relayed the events of the morning with us. He told us that Michael told him the various areas of Veterinary Medicine he could work in and what subjects he required to do this. He said it would be cheaper to train in England to become a Vet and that Michael had told him about Marine Biology. I was very taken by Justin's interest in what he was learning and in how this man sitting in front of me was so different from the boy I knew. Justin was a squeamish child and even a chip in his finger would cause havoc and tears set him off and nothing would convince him that it would be better to have the chip out.

Michael came to see me in the Hospital three week's after the accident and told me about our wonderful son and how he really cared about the sick animals. He told me of how he was asking the trainee Nurse questions about Arteries and other body functions and when the Nurse got stuck on one question he noticed Justin shuffling from one foot to the other and he sensed Justin knew the answer, so he asked if he knew. Justin got embarrassed because he did not want to show the Nurse up but Michael told him it was OK "he was not going to get the Nurse into trouble," so he answered and he was right. Michael said how he was taken by Justin's nature and knowledge, how he was not arrogant or bigheaded. Michael also told me about how Justin helped him in the theater during surgery on a very sick dog to remove her womb. He said that during the procedure the dog showed signs of coming round and how he forgot for a moment that it was Justin who was with him and not a Nurse and how he impatiently asked for the machine to be turned up by a half percent, then suddenly realizing that the young man with him might not know how to do this he turned to do it himself and there was Justin's hand turning the machine up a perfect half percent. He said he asked, "How did you know how to do that?" and Justin replied "I saw the Nurse do it yesterday".

I was amazed to discover that our son Justin had seen a womb and that he had the strength to stand in during surgery. Michael said Justin did not even blink at the sight of the blood because he knew that what they were doing was necessary for the dog's health. Michael also told me that in the weeks following the accident dogs that he was sure would not survive because of their injuries or illness survived the Nurse said how she felt it was Justin's Spirit watching over the ill animals that helped them recover.

We are forever grateful to the Vet's and Nurses at The Animal Hospital, 37 Main Road, Tallaght, for the opportunities they gave Justin in his last days. He had wonderful learning experiences with them and was close to what he most loved in life during those last two days of his young life. Because of his love of animals we are endeavoring to set up an Animal Trust Fund in Justin's memory so that through helping to save ill, unwanted animals we can continue the work he would have done.

To commemorate Justin's time with the Vets at 39 Main St, Tallaght, we presented them with a garden seat on his first anniversary so that people visiting sick pets would have a place to sit in the beautiful garden provided by the practice.  


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