Around this time I was subject to another traumatic experience—some dogs had died in the winter and because the ground was frozen they could not be buried at the time of their death. The dogs who died in the winter were placed in garbage bags and put into an unplugged freezer in one of the barns—because it was winter the dogs remained frozen without plugging in the freezer.
In the spring of 2017, I asked my supervisors if we should bury the dogs before it got to warm—I was nervous about what would happen if the dogs thawed as, based on previous experience, I anticipated it would be me tasked with doing the job. A week later I asked one of my co-workers to help bury the frozen dogs but she refused, saying it would be too hard. I understood this and did not ask her again.
Shortly thereafter my employer gave me the key to the freezer—she told me that she kept the freezer locked to ensure no one stumbled across it and told the public—and asked me to bury the dogs. When I opened the freezer I almost vomited, as I had worried, they had already started to thaw and it smelt like rotting flesh. I tried to work as quickly as possible, wheeling the bagged dogs into the burial pit. When I got to the last four dogs, I was horrified to see that they had not been put in plastic bags. I recognized the dogs and felt even more distressed by the experience. I had to reach into the bottom of the freezer but these dogs were frozen together and I could not get them out, the smell was horrible and I had to take a break. I finished burying the bagged dogs and brought the key back to my employer, I told them that there were four dogs left in the freezer but that I had not been able to get to them. I was very distressed.
I spent the following week extremely anxious and nervous about the remaining four dogs in the freezer. I knew that we would have to deal with them at some point and given my co-worker’s prior refusals to help I was not optimistic that I would get any help this time.
Approximately a week after I first buried the bagged dogs I returned to the freezer, with the key that had been given to me by my employer. It had been after a warm spell which I thought would likely have unfrozen the remaining dogs. I was worried about what was waiting for me when I got there and I again asked two of my co-workers to assist me but they both refused.
In an effort to avoid reaching into the freezer I pushed it over in hopes that the dogs would roll out. Unfortunately, only thawed blood came pouring out and I still had to reach into the freezer to pull the dogs out, it was awful and I was dry heaving due to the smell. When I grabbed the first dog and tried to pull him out I accidentally pulled off his skin. I immediately began to vomit. I eventually got this dog’s remains into the burial pit at which point one of my co-workers, came over to the freezer and began to help me. I continued to vomit intermittently as we moved two dogs that were still frozen together into the burial pit.
When I returned for the last dog I grabbed it by the collar to try avoid pulling of its skin like the other dog. When I pulled the collar I pulled the dogs head off. I vomited again, the smell was horrible and I knew this dog, I felt terrible. I was covered in blood, vomit and was crying uncontrollably. With my coworkers help we managed to get this last dog into the burial pit.
I continued to dry heave and cry and had to sit down.
This was a traumatic event, one which I still have nightmares and flashbacks about.
Later that day, while driving to the office with my coworker, they had asked me if I had buried a specific dog. I was not happy with this, as they did not help me and the dog they were asking about, was the dog whose head had started coming off.