The Last Act of Kindness
We love our pets, and all through the years it’s been a pleasure caring for them. But when their time on earth is expiring and their quality of life has diminished to almost nothing…. still it’s pretty darn hard to even say the word euthanasia. It doesn’t matter that we know in our heart we’re trying to spare them from pain and suffering. We still ask ourselves impossible questions, not once, but over and over again. What is quality of life? How do we define misery? Is it pain, suffering, loss of dignity? We ask ourselves these questions even though we already know the answers. But there’s one question without an answer. How can we be sure their quality of life is actually over?
My mother once told me “Never underestimate the possibility of a miracle.” Does that mean a pet might snap out of it and be blessed with a little more time? Sure, but we can’t possibly know that. The point I’m trying to make is just that, we don’t know. We do know however, that it’s our responsibility to care for our pets the best we can. I can tell you one thing, end of life is seldom pleasant, we like to think our pet will pass peacefully in it’s sleep, but the truth is, that seldom happens.
If your pet is aged then most likely there’s been numerous trips to see a veterinarian. A vet will be honest in telling you when your pet has reached their final stages of life, you just have to ask. Basically, it just means end of life may be in the near future. Ask questions, know what signs to watch for, the more informed you are the better.
Ichiro’s15th birthday is tomorrow. He has stage 4 heart failure, arthritis, cysts everywhere, partially deaf, and poor eyesight. He still enjoys life, eating, and some playing. He has good and bad days, but there are still more good than bad. He’s lived a long and happy life, but I must accept the inevitable, the end is near. For fifteen years he’s trusted me to keep him comfortable and I’ve never let him down. Do I constantly question his quality of life? Of course! Especially on the bad days.
Everybody struggles with the indecision of euthanasia for an aged pet. But read carefully the next few lines… and remember them.
There’s no cure for old age, and when you feel it’s time to make that hard decision for your pet’s comfort, be grateful for having the right to exercise your last act of kindness.