I am an emotional wreck. We have made the heartbreaking decision to put down our very old, very large dog whom we’ve had since she was a pup. She has not been doing well since we moved into an apartment over a year ago. Arthritis, cataracts, incontinence – diseases of age – afflict her & makes it hard for her to get up & walk on ceramic tiles, & she leaks pee if you don’t bring her downstairs fast enough. Hard for everyone.
I’ve been putting off this decision while desperately trying to find a good home with a garden for her to enjoy her last years with some degree of comfort but alas, in a country where most people live in government housing that disallows dogs beyond a certain size, it has been a futile effort. The fact that she is almost 11 years old, weighs 80 lbs & has these health problems don’t help either. It would be hard to find anyone willing to accept a pet like this, & not fair to burden someone else with these problems. We looked at a no-kill shelter to see if it was an option but seeing how overwhelmed they are with the number of dogs they have to foster, we didn’t see how our dog could be happy in that kind of situation.
Euthanasia is emotion-ridden. I think my reluctance to face this ultimate decision is partly for selfish reasons too. I don’t want to go through the trauma of loss & grief. Tears have come at the most unlikely moments. But I need to also think about the quality of life issue. Should I, due to my selfishness, allow her to go on like that? It breaks my heart each time I see her trying to struggle to get up so that we can bring her down for her toilet break. I suspect she has some degree of heart failure as well, as she pants really hard from just walking less than 100 m.
This is hard, and it involves an animal. How much harder would it be if it involved a human life. I can’t imagine how Dr Kevorkian did what he did, although if you look at it in a cold, clinical & detached way, it sounds like a logical solution to an existence wrought with pain & suffering. Problem is, as human beings, we aren’t cold or detached when it comes to a loved one. At least, we shouldn’t be. As for being clinical, well, the arguments for and against euthanasia among the medical community have been & will always be an ongoing & controversial one.
Stop crying, aliendoc.
Note: In my opinion, euthanasia & the Advance Medical Directive are two different issues.