With the holidays recently, we were spending more time with family. My dad lives about an hour away and we headed to his place the other day to visit with him. He has 2 dogs, an older dog and a younger dog. The older dog is a medium sized dog and she’s about 15 years old. His younger dog is a 2 year old, large, fuzzy, bouncy fool.
Anyway, his 15 year old dog has been slowing down for some time now. She has some arthritis. She’s thinning quite a bit. And, the other day, we noted a large lump that was open and oozing. Sorry to those who are grossed out by this stuff.
He had taken her to the vet and was told that the lump is cancerous, however, given her age and other factors, there were concerns about putting her under and removing it, so my dad brought her home and the lump remains.
This got me thinking about the end of life proceedings. Personally, I don’t want to suffer. Call me wimpy, but when I am no longer comfortable and I hurt all the time, I don’t feel that I would want to go on. Admittedly, I’m not there yet and things may be totally different once I do get to that point. It also got me thinking about my own dogs. Some of them are also older. I, too, have a 15 year old dog. When I feel that he is suffering, I am likely to have him euthanized. I will take him in to my veterinarian and I will stay with him throughout the whole thing. I don’t want him to be alone and I want him to know that I am there for him. It also got me to thinking about how I will know when it is time.
Looking at my dad’s dog, she does not appear to be the picture of health. However, if you look closer, she is still happy. She wags her tail, she begs for food, she comes up to people for attention. She’s a happy dog!
The decision to euthanize a beloved pet is a very personal one and one of the most difficult decisions that any of us will ever have to make. It weighs a lot on us as our pets start to age. It weighs on us as we make that final trip to the vet. It weighs on us for a great deal of time afterwards. I know that it is a compassionate decision and a selfless one. But that does not make it any easier.
For now, my dads dog is doing well, but I know that soon, he will have to make that decision. My heart goes out to him when he does as it does to everyone who has to have a pet put down. But for all of the sorrow that it causes, I take comfort in the good times that were had with the pet. Though the end is always so hard, the 15 or so years before hand were wonderful and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.