Two veterinarians who committed suicide (Dr Jian Zhicheng and Dr Sophia Yin)

Dr Jian Zhicheng

We posted this story in 2016.

Today is Dr Jian Zhicheng’s death anniversary and we feel that the grim reminder is more than relevant.

Here is the post:

Taiwanese animal shelter director and vet commits suicide due to guilt in having to euthanise 700 dogs in shelter: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peoplesdaily/article-3604719/Director-Taiwanese-animal-shelter-commits-suicide-feeling-distraught-having-euthanise-dogs.html

According to Chinese media, she left a note, explaining how she had become too distressed with the fact that she had to put too many dogs to death.

However, Jian’s last words have not been published in full.

Jian, who is reported to be 31 years old, worked at the state-run shelter for some years and was described as a kind-hearted and dedicated person by her colleagues.

She worked helping bring sick and stray animals back to health before helping find them a new home.

According to reports, she strived to help re-home the dogs and also tried to promote adoption instead of purchasing however she later revealed that she had been forced to euthanise 700 dogs in just two years.

She spoke of these figures during a news report in which animal rights activists called her a ‘female butcher’ in the comments section of the story.

Chinese media has reported that she became upset with the name-calling as many people did not understand that the animal shelter capacity is limited and they were struggling with increasing numbers of animals being abandoned.

She was put under pressure to provide a resolution.

Jian was found by police and her husband after having injected herself with the euthanasia drugs. She died in hospital a week later on May 12.

Elisa Allen, Associate Director of PETA told MailOnline: ‘The reality is that there are simply not enough homes to go around for the millions of unwanted animals who are euthanised every year.

‘It’s left to shelter workers like Jian Zhicheng, who love animals so much, to do society’s dirty work because so many people fail to do the one thing that could alleviate the animal overpopulation crisis: spaying and neutering animals.

Please, if you are an animal caregiver, please get the animals under your care neutered. We offer our neutering aid: animalcare.my/aid/.

Dr Sophia Yin

The legacy and tragedy of the life of Dr Sophia Yin: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-legacy-and-tragedy-of_b_5927396

A farewell to Dr Sophia Yin: https://www.dvm360.com/view/farewell-dr-sophia-yin

On Sunday, Sept. 28 2014, Dr. Sophia Yin, one of the world’s most respected and important veterinary behaviorists, committed suicide. She was 48. Dr. Yin was a pioneer in the field of force-free, positive-reinforcement dog training. It would be hard to understate her contribution to the world of humane pet care.

Dr. Yin’s passing has been a cataclysmic event in the animal-training and veterinary community and is sparking some important conversations about the prevalence of depression among those who care for animals (Jessica Dolce wrote a great post on “compassion fatigue”), and specifically among vets. Veterinarians are believed to be four times more likely to commit suicide than people in other professions. One recent study found that two thirds of vets surveyed had suffered from clinical depression; of that group, only a third had sought professional help. (Recently in New York City, this sad trend hit the news when Dr. Shirley Koshi of the Bronx killed herself following a lawsuit surrounding a stray cat she had tried to adopt.) Although I am not aware of the statistics regarding animal-trainer suicide or depression, I’ve certainly heard anecdotal cases of both. Perhaps most notable was the alleged suicide of Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, who was the dog trainer to the Obama and Kennedy family dogs.

About compassion fatigue among animal caregivers and workers: https://missiondrivengoods.com/blogs/stories/what-is-compassion-fatigue-in-the-animal-rescue-community

To all animal caregivers, please take good care of yourself so that you can continue taking care of the animals under your care.

We always keep saying this: Keep it small and manageable so that it is sustainable. Learn to say no if you cannot take in another animal.

We cannot help every animal. Just do what you can and please, please take a rest.

And coming back to Dr Jian’s death, it wasn’t just compassion fatigue that caused her suicide. It was also the name-calling by others, chastising her for doing her job.

So to keyboard warriors and those who just like to read, judge and criticise, please stop doing it. Human beings are fragile. We will never know when one word, spoken at the wrong time, can drive a person to suicide because she is already at the brink. All it takes is one word which could be the last straw on the proverbial camel’s back.

Please let’s remind ourselves that we do not know what the other person is going through. We do not know how hard life is for that person. Do not judge. Do not criticise. Find out more. Help, if you can. Not criticise.

On a personal basis, when I rehomed my Monsters three years ago, I was judged on Facebook too. Quite harshly. For those who judged me, your words stung for months. You did not know how depressed and sick I was until I could not cope so I had to rehome them. The Monsters are back with me now, but I still remember your words. Is that a good thing, you tell me? How did your harsh words help the Monsters or me? Did you offer to take them from me? No, you did not. You just criticised, that is all you did.

Someone can be having a hard time without telling anyone. Be kind. Be helpful.

We are all fighting our own battles. Some of us are just better at hiding them than others. Please be kind.


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