For those of us who are long term pet owners, we know all too well the grief that comes with the passing of a beloved four-legged companion. To make matters worse, in the case of elderly pets or those suffering a serious illness, the lead up to their passing can be extremely stressful. The heartache and trauma of having to make the decision to put your faithful companion to sleep can be just as bad as the actual loss. We all hope that our pets will live to a golden age and then slip peacefully across the rainbow bridge in their sleep. Not once, in all my life with any of my many pets, have I ever been so lucky and I’m guessing many of you have had the same experience.
Pet owners often look for guidance and assurance that they are making the right decision as to when it’s really time to euthanize, but what they are really seeking is something to assuage their feelings of doubt and most especially, guilt. Sadly, regardless of the appropriateness of putting our pets down, we suffer great guilt in making the decision to do so. There may be circumstances that add to the guilt, such as the high costs of veterinary care and medications or the inability to dedicate enough time to the needs of a declining pet.
Unless your veterinarian finds some definitive condition that causes the animal suffering, you probably won’t get the outside justification we all hope for. The bottom line is, we as the caretaker, are the ones that have a true perspective on our pet’s quality of life; the problem is, we have a hard time facing it.
I’m not saying that these tests are going to give you a definitive answer that will make it all better or easier. It may, however, help you separate yourself from your emotional barriers and make a decision based more solidly on your pet’s condition.
I often hear people grieving from the loss of a pet that they will never have another because losing them is just too hard and upsetting. As with all things that make our lives worthwhile, there will be ups and downs; but I can’t imagine life without pets.
If you are struggling with a pet in failing health, try searching “quality of life chart for pets” on your computer and do more than one version. Like I said earlier, it’s a tool, not an answer, but it may help you with a very difficult decision.
Shelter needs: Soft dog treats, cat nip, peanut butter, hot dogs, hand soap, paper towels, and gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets.