Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and nutrition, pets are enjoying healthier, longer lives. Most of us have had to face at least one "difficult decision" for our pet, most of us several times over.
Common questions include: are they suffering? Is it "time" to consider end of life choices? People also seek help dealing with overwhelming grief after losing a pet.
I had approximately one year to say goodbye to my beloved Herman Roosevelt Quinn, and it was hard. I wrote "The Twilight Time" detailing that journey of watching his health decline. This topic is one that comes up often on this site, in many forms. Here are a couple examples from the VetMed Forum.
A VetMed Forum Guest writes:
"I have a very old dog, 18 years old already (her breed's average lifespan is 12-14 years). I am pretty much caring for her at home on my own. My vet has been telling me for 3 years that she is a very old dog and I should probably put her down. I am tired of hearing that lecture, and I know that the next time I take her to the vet it will be to put her down.
I know she will not live forever. I know if I take her back to the vet it will be that final last trip. I'm just wondering if there are things I can try at home to make her more comfortable and less stressed until I make that final decision."
Forum host Jaime Glasser DVM is also in the process of saying goodbye to her beloved 23-year old cat, Sparky:
"Tonight I think my 23 year old kitty Sparky may be beginning the active dying process. I am much more aware now of the stages of dying that we and our animal companions move through as we near death. It is a kind of backwards dance with life; a graceful exit.
For the first time I am wholly committed to this experience. I am not attempting to control or change or "fix" it. I hope I can accept it, not fear or avoid it, not postpone or hasten this precious death. I think I can do this because he is not suffering and I am not as ignorant as I was!" Read full post: Saying Goodbye To Sparky
Have you faced a difficult end-of-life decision with your pet?
Read what others have to say, and please consider sharing your story about saying goodbye to your pet with dignity.
Pet Grief Resources
- Pet loss and support hotlines
- Pet Loss and Grief Forum
- Why is it so hard when a pet dies? by Jaime Glasser DVM
Photo: Herman Roosevelt Quinn - October 2007 © Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM