As a pet owner myself I can honestly say my animals are part of my family. I have owned many pets over the years and I have had my share of ups and downs. Pet ownership is not just about having nice walks with a fluffy dog or cuddles on the sofa with a snuggly cat. Most people get a pet because they enjoy the companionship. But with great pets comes great responsibility. We are their owners, we speak for them and they rely on us for everything. Whether that be food, water, exercise, grooming or fun. But on the flip side, that responsibility comes with making sure they are healthy, the cost of all their care, training them and also making a decision when they are injured or sick.
You have a decision to make!
This can be a very sudden injury or a disease where your loved one has deteriorated over time. Whichever moment this might be, the decision to cease their suffering falls on us as their owners and is not always an easy decision to make.
In my experience I have had to cope with both situations. When I was a child, my cat Katie had kittens. I was allowed to choose a kitten and name her as my own pet; this was the first pet I really remember. I chose a mottled fluff ball and called her Dinah. She was my everything growing up, she was always there when I was sad, she was the type of cat you could do anything with, she used to lay across my arm so I could tickle her tummy. Her tail was injured when a car ran it over. Our vet amputated her tail and she was affectionately known as stumpy for years after.
An Act of Love
Dinah grew up with me and had got to a good age when she came home injured, to this day I still don’t know how she was injured; but she was in pain, so we rushed her to the vets. During the consultation it was discovered that she had a broken back and there was nothing that could be done for her. It was kinder to “put her to sleep”. I have to say that it was an easy decision to make from a practical side of things; but the hardest decision I have ever made on an emotional one. I loved Dinah so much and I couldn’t bear the thought of her not being there for me, sitting on my lap and having a snuggle. The thing that I could bear less was her suffering. I feel it was an act of love to let her go.
When is the right time to say goodbye?
Another pet that I want to tell you about was my dog Skip. We had Skip as a family pet at the same time as Dinah. He was adopted by my family when I was again still young. I didn’t know we were going to get a dog until my parents told me. Because he came from an abusive home my parents told me not go home after school. I went to my grandma’s house as we were not sure how this poor dog would cope with a new family. He was, as it turned out, the best natured dog I had met and settled into the family very quickly. He was our family dog for many years and got to a ripe old age.
His health deteriorated slowly
His health deteriorated slowly and when his quality of life had got to a point where we felt he was suffering, we made the decision as a family to “put him to sleep”. It was again a difficult decision to make. When was the right time? How much discomfort is too much? Our decision came when Skip was no longer able to toilet properly and groom himself. He had arthritis which although was uncomfortable wasn’t painful. He struggled to get about a little but when it had progressed to the point that he didn’t want to go for walks, which he had loved, or even move about the house and laid in his bed permanently it was time to say goodbye.
To euthanise a pet is an act of love
My two experiences are different because of the reason for the decision. One being a sudden injury and the other a slow deterioration of health. Both decisions were hard to make on an emotional level. At the end of the day both were made with the deepest and utmost respect for long lived and long loved pets. My decisions were also similar because losing a loved pet is never easy no matter the circumstances. The responsibilities of owning a pet mean that you have to make the hard decision. It falls on your shoulders to do what is best for your pet. It might not be easy, but easing the suffering of a pet is definitely an act of love.
The Blue Cross
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