Decisions around when not to treat or operate on a sick pet have been some of the hardest decisions of my life. For me it is always about quality of life and a desire to spare the animal additional pain and discomfort, how do others deal with such decisions?
These are always heartbreaking decisions especially when you see how hard it is for other family members to cope with the loss of a much loved pet. I always try to do what is best for the animal and sometimes the right thing to do is not to allow the animal to suffer the fear and pain of further treatment.
Tears. I cry, a lot .... and I cry some more ... and I grieve. When I was at work, I took time off. Amazingly, my bosses knew that and asked me if I wanted it even before I asked. My pets are my children, and I go through all of the grieving process when those times come.
I look at three main aspects in a dogs life.
1. Are they eating and drinking alright?
2. Are they incontinent?
3. How mobile are they?
When one or two of the above things start to go, overall quality of life and health start to decline. When a dog/cat cannot really do any of those things, there is zero quality of life and its best to do humane euthanasia. Its a hard choice, but I think of it like I'm in their shoes...would I like to be in the life of the dog/cat in question?
This is such a sad thought but then, it's better to spare the animal the pain rather than let him linger on while suffering. I hope this doesn't happen to me anytime soon as I'm not yet ready to encounter such feelings or even let go the pet just yet. Even if the dog is still relatively new to our family, I love her already. She makes my daughter very happy.
I had to put my beloved dog Murphy to sleep a few years back. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. She was eighteen and was doing well for her old age, until one day she started to act strange and paced back and forth like she was in pain. I gave her a baby asprin and made an appointment for the vet for the next day. We were heartbroken to learn she had brain cancer. The vet said their was no way for me to know and not to feel badly. It broke my heart to put her to sleep. I took her home that night and fed her a steak and let her spend some time with my teenage children until we had to say goodbye in the morning. She was not in pain as the doctor had given us some medication to keep the pain down. I am still grateful that we were able to spend one more evening with her. It was a very sad morning putting her to sleep even the female vets assistants were crying with us. I will always miss her and have been told that 18 years is a very long life for a dog. I found comfort in the fact that we gave her a happy and long life. I grieved her right along with my children and we ended up getting the dog we have now. His name is Andy and he came to us at a year old. He is now eight and we love him very much. He could never replace our Murphy but has filled an empty place in our hearts. To anyone who is facing this, my thoughts and hugs go out to you and your family. Even though it may be best for you pet, it does not make it easier. I lost a child that day and I totally understand a persons pain when this situation happens.
I've only had to make that decision about one of my dogs named Sheba. She had a huge tumor in her chest and the vet said, just by looking at the tumor, that it was cancer and that it had likely spread throughout her body. As Sheba was around 13-years-old at the time, and was not very mobile, we felt that she didn't have very many quality years left to her even without the cancer. We took her to the vet and let him put her to sleep. I was rubbing her fur at the time and my husband was cradling her head as she passed away. We bawled like babies because we loved her and had raised her from the time she was 5-weeks-old. But we felt that that we had made the right decision. We will always miss her, though.
Thankfully, I haven't experienced this yet. Although I don't want to think of it this early but it will surely come.
I guess I should always think of my pet's health over my emotions as it would not help if I let him linger on while he is in pain. Sad as it may seem but that's how life is, just like ours, it comes to an end.
Sadly this is something that we all experience at one time or another, it happened to me not so long ago. It hurts so much, but I think that if you trust your instincts you know when the time has come to prevent any more suffering.