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"Patricia Morris offers a richly textured and superbly insightful ethnographic account of the medical and ethical decisions and emotional responses of veterinarians with respect to the euthanasia of companion animals. Much is written about the lives of companion animals, but little is written about how those lives are ended. Blue Juice is essential reading for anyone interested in the complexities of human-animal relations."
Garry Marvin, Professor of Human-Animal Studies, University of Roehampton, London
Offering a candid behind-the-scenes look at small-animal veterinary practices, Blue Juice explores the emotional and ethical conflicts involved in providing a “good death” for companion animals. Patricia Morris presents a nuanced ethnographic account of how veterinarians manage patient care and client relations when their responsibility shifts from saving an animal's life to negotiating a decision to end it.
Using not only her own experiences and observations in veterinary settings but also the voices of both seasoned and novice veterinarians, Morris reveals how practitioners think about euthanasia and why this “dirty work” can precipitate burnout, moral quandaries, and tense or emotional interactions with clients. Closely examining these interactions, Morris illuminates the ways in which euthanasia reflects deep and unresolved tension in human-animal relationships.
Blue Juice seeks to understand how practitioners, charged with the difficult task of balancing the interests of their animal patients and their human clients, deal with the responsibility of ending their patients’ lives.
Excerpt available at www.temple.edu/tempress
"[T]his book [offers] detailed insight into the professional and private tensions experienced by practicing vets during the course of their work, but primarily when they perform euthanasia on animals. The author draws expertly from her rich data set, helping us learn a great deal about the nature of this complex occasion. [The book] helps us to understand the ethical and moral complexity of animal euthanasia, how vets undertake this work, and cope with the emotional consequences, for all involved. The rich and insightful nature of the account give[s] us confidence that the author has made significant in-roads into understanding this difficult and complex practice, from the point of view of those undertaking it."
"This book may be found useful by clinical veterinarians and by their clients as well. Veterinarians may find some comfort in knowing that their concerns are shared by many other members of their profession and may learn of different alternative options to deal with these issues. Pet owners will similarly benefit by gaining a better appreciation of the complexity of these issues and of the perspective of the veterinarians. In the end, one can hope that this improved understanding of the issues related to companion animal euthanasia by all parties involved will result in a benefit to the animals, and that will be everybody’s gain."
Introduction: Euthanasia in Veterinary Medicine
1. Negotiating Death: Managing Disagreement with Pet Owners
2. Creating a Good Death: The Dramaturgy of Veterinary Euthanasia
3. Strange Intimacy: Managing Pet Owners’ Emotions
4. Learning to Euthanize: Death and the Novice Veterinarian
5. Coping with Euthanasia: Emotion-Management Strategies
Conclusion: Animals as Property and Patients
Patricia Morris is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Drury University.
Animals and Society
Animals, Culture, and Society, edited by Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders.
Animals, Culture, and Society, edited by Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders, is concerned with probing the complex and contradictory human-animal relationship through the publication of accessible books that consider the place of animals in our culture, our literature, our society, and our homes.
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