This is the most difficult part of owning a pet by far. It’s never easy losing a member of our family. We often struggle with the thought of am I doing the right thing? I have watched many families, and pet owners fight this inner battle, looking for an answer, someone to tell them, yes it’s time. However, they are the only ones who know their pet the best, and only they can make that decision.
We have this ideal in our heads that we wish our pets would just go to sleep and pass away at home. However, this is less then 1% of what actually happens. When pets get sick, we often want to wait for a sign or wait until they can’t do much of anything, but this is not the best thing to do for your pet as they are typically suffering by the point we decide to bring them in.
I personally am struggling currently with this myself as I have a 17-year-old Border Collie whose body often fails him as his mind wants to still go go go, but his body just can’t keep up. My personal view on this is, are his good days out weighing his bad? For now, yes, however, things may change next week. I often think, can he still greet me at the door – yes. Is he still eating and drinking on his own – yes and can he still go out to the bathroom on his own – yes (mind you he does have occasional accidents).
For the most part, he is still very much able to enjoy his life, even though he can’t chase a ball or catch a Frisbee. I think we need to remember what our dogs live for, what they enjoy the most in life. They live for us! They want to run and play and get up and meet us at the door when we come home. They live for food! They hear the food bag or cheese wrapper, and they come running. They live for adventure and exploring! They can’t wait to sniff and roll and chase, go for walks or run down a trail. When they can no longer enjoy these things, is it fair to ask them to lay on a bed they can’t get off of just so we can get a little more time with them? I’m not saying this is the only way to decide. I am saying this is the way I am deciding.
I write this in hopes it may help another pet owner possibly going through this struggle as well. They live for us, and give us their everything, sometimes; ending the pain and suffering is the greatest gift we can give back to them.
Written by Lyndsay McShane, Office Manager/RVT