Euthanasia – Time to Say Goodbye

Dog Cemetery

Whether the loss of your pet occurs suddenly or you know it will be soon, your grief is overwhelming.

Euthanasia – it can be viewed as an ugly word or a gift of love. The word euthanasia comes from Greek meaning well or good death. However one feels about it, euthanasia evokes very strong feelings.

Sadly our pets don’t have the words we understand to tell us they don’t want to suffer anymore. We learn to read their body language, the look in their eyes. And we’ve come to know when it is time to say goodby by using quality of life criteria.

If you have an elderly pet or a pet that has a terminal illness, you want to provide that pet with the best veterinary care you are able to. It’s important to minimize any pain or distress your pet may be experiencing. Consult with your vet as to the necessary hospice care to be given. Surround your pet with all the things known and loved – favorite toys, favorite pillow, comfy bed and most of all – You.

In the files of Bone Cancer Dogs and Canine, you can find a scale of the Quality of Life. Does your pet have more good days than bad days; is your pet mobile; how is your pet’s appetite; is your pet able to experience happiness or mental stimulation; can you manage any pain your pet is experiencing. These are some of the questions offered to consider. I recommend you check these scales to help you determine whether or not to continue home hospice care. Take into account what your eyes and your heart are telling you.

When the time does come to say goodbye, there are things to help make the transition easier.

Discuss procedures with your vet. Do you want to be present? Do you want to hold your pet? Do you want to remain with your pet for a while afterwards?

Discuss with your vet beforehand what you plan to do with your pet’s remains. Some options you can choose are burial at home, cremation or a pet cemetery.

If the procedure takes place at the veterinary clinic, try to have someone who understands what you are going through, accompany you.

If possible have your vet come to the house as it avoids distressing your pet even more. There may be friends and family who want to say goodbye to your pet. Please allow your children to say goodby as well.

The following is just to prepare you for what will occur.

The vet will usually administer 2 injections. The first will calm your pet and put him to sleep and the second will end his suffering. It’s usually a matter of seconds.

Don’t be alarmed if there are involuntary muscle contractions or your pet gasps as your pet is not experiencing any pain nor is your pet concious. Your pet may lose bladder and bowel control. You or your vet may cover your pet after the injections to avoid witnessing these responses.

I have had many pets in my lifetime and had to have some euthanized. It is never easy, but try to think of it as the final gift of love your are giving to your beloved pet.

I found this poem on the Pet Loss Matters site. This caring young woman has set up a site for those grieving the loss of a pet. The poem is so touching, almost as though my beloved dog, Timo wrote it for me. For all those grieving for a beloved pet, and for me personally I wish to thank the unknown author who put these beautiful words to pen.

You will be sad, I understand

But don’t let grief then stay your hand

For this day more than all the rest

Your love for me must stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years,

What is to come can hold no fears.

You don’t want me to suffer so

The time has come, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they’ll tend

But please stay with me til the end

To hold me close and speak to me

Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree,

It was a kindness done for me

Although my tail its last has waved

From pain and suffering I’m saved.

Please do not grieve that it was you

Who had this painful thing to do

We’ve been so close, we two, these years

Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

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