Friday, 10 June 2016

Do we euthanize our pets too soon?

You often hear “We had to put our dog to sleep to put them out of their misery”. 

I recently had an occasion to ponder if this might be something I had to do for my dear old girl.

She developed an enormous cancer that required, for us, an expensive operation for breast cancer. 

It was a case of finding the money or have her put down. 

The vet assured me it was a simple operation with a very unlikely chance of recurrence. As difficult as it was we found the money and it was a complete success.

About a month later I woke to find she could not move her back end and was dragging herself along the ground. We had to lift her bottom so she could go to the toilet. Then with tears in my eyes expecting the worse I took her to the vet.

It was a slipped disc and evidently, unlike people, was not operable but he gave her an injection and some tablets and warned me she might have to be on them the rest of her life. Within 24 hours she was mobile although she was limping badly and dragged one foot rubbing the top of it along the ground.  

The tablets gradually helped but haven’t given a complete recovery and she was still very stiff in her movement and still had a bit of a limp.

What to do? Was she suffering? Should we have her put down?

Her movement was limited and she obviously had some pain. Were we just keeping her alive and easing her pain with medication for our own selfish reasons? Was it time to say goodbye to my beautiful 13 year old Sassy?

Then I thought. I am not young any more. I have pain and stiffness and I will also be on medication the rest of my life but I am enjoying life and I certainly am not ready to be “put out my misery”.

I don’t believe Sassy wants to end her life yet any more than I do.  

And so, each day, my beautiful Sassy and I take our medication. At times we both hobble around with stiffness and pain but most of the time we just take things slowly and we are both happy.  She is still the matriarch of our dogs but now is our time to leave things to the younger ones.