"Animal Husbandry" by Seanan McGuire
This story is from the anthology "Wastelands 2: More Stories of the Apocalypse" edited by John Joseph Adams.
This was a story about a veterinarian, Mercy Neely, on her way to Grants Pass, Oregon to meet up with her 9 year old daughter after a plague wipes out most of the population. Along the way she sees to animals that have been abandoned by their owners or left behind after their owners were taken by the plague. Part of seeing the animals is seeing that they don't suffer needlessly. So she puts down the animals that are sick and suffering. Why leave them in pain if they don't have to suffer?
While Mercy is scrounging around inside of a store for supplies she runs into another survivor pointing a gun at her. After some discussion he finds out she is a vet and asks her to come with him. His daughter needs help. Even though she protests that she doesn't know anything about people medicine she finally gives in knowing she probably at least know more than the guy does.
After arriving at his daughter in an abandoned office building they find her lying in bed. Mercy sits on the bed and does a check-up of the nine year old girl. She is really sick and obviously dying. She won't make it very long. One thing that Mercy can do for the girl is make sure she doesn't suffer anymore. How will she do that with the father around?
The story talks about the plague that killed everyone. Texas was decimated, so was California, and the plague was said to be man made. It made mention as to possibly some terrorist organization being responsible for the plague. I wish the author would of expanded on that for just another paragraph or two to really set sights on where to the plague came from.
I understand that the point of the story wasn't necessarily about where the plague came from as much as it was about a vet who tried to help people stop suffereing by any means she had available. I think it would of added a little bit of depth to the story though if the plague origins were addressed a tad bit more.
Overall I really like this story and is another pretty good story from the anthology Wastelands 2.