Considering euthanasia for your canine
Animal Communicators Help Answer 7 Critical Questions Before Making the Decision to Euthanize.
One of the most painful experiences all animal lovers must go through is at what seems to be the end of your animal friend’s life.
This is that dreaded time when your friend seems to be in pain, their body is degenerating and their quality of life has diminished. And you don’t know what else to do to help them anymore.
“My old dog friend, Annie, seems to be going downhill fast. She was doing pretty well, but now… she is restless, fussy, isn’t eating well and it seems harder for her to get around. I’m worried she’s in pain and I feel helpless. I’m so stressed out, sad, and anxious about the whole situation and I just don’t know what to do. I’m living in fear that I may need to take Annie to the vet now to be put down, but I’m so afraid of making the wrong decision at the wrong time.”
Did you know that most animal lovers grieve the loss of their animal companions more and for a longer period of time than they grieve the loss of their human family and friends? It’s true.
I think we stress more because we have the option of euthanasia available to us, which gives us some choice about how and when to end a life with compassion and dignity. With our human family, that’s not usually the case.
But with the choice comes a huge weight of responsibility, stress, concern, and worry. Making this decision on your friend’s behalf is not an easy decision to make.
We animal lovers have a special bond with our companions. Many of us feel that our animals understand and love us better than anyone else ever could. Imagining life without their presence feels very empty and lonely…
Are you worried about making the right choice and when you should do it? Whether you are doing it too soon because they may recover or just need a different pill or approach? Are they ready to go now, or do they want to stay awhile longer? Or are you afraid because you just can’t imagine life without them in it?
Often, when we look at an old animal or one who is suffering a terminal illness or has trouble getting around, we feel sadness and pain ourself.
But the real question isn’t how do we feel observing them. The real question is, how do they feel themselves! Can you look at someone else and truly know what quality of life they are experiencing? Whether they want to and are ready to die? Whether they feel they have fulfilled their life’s purpose or if they still have more to do?
Communicating with your dog, cat, horse, reptile, fish or bird gives them a chance to tell you: when they are ready to go, how they are really feeling, what they need or want, if they are in pain or not, what helps or doesn’t, and if they want assistance through euthanasia — or not.
Before you make this final compassionate decision for them, be sure you know the answers to these 7 critical questions: 1. Is it time to let them go, or is something else going on? Perhaps they are simply ill or injured, and with the appropriate assistance, they can recover to live many more good years…
Many conversations I’ve had with animals who we thought were dying became about addressing pain or illness or other trauma in such a way that they were able to recover.
2. How are they feeling and are they are in pain? If so, what kind of pain and where is it? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 equals no pain at all, and 10 equals extreme anguish, it’s important to understand what level of pain they are dealing with. Most of us live with some pain at times and some on a daily basis. Because we think someone else may have pain is not a reason to put them down. Many animals live quite well and are capable of coping with pain.
And often what we are actually feeling is our own pain and suffering while we imagine what their experience is like. Nothing steals joy and happiness faster than this, imagining emotional pain and fear about other’s suffering.
3. What do they really need or want? Is anything you’re doing helpful — or hurtful? Sometimes in our need to comfort and help, we wind up doing the exact things that cause more pain and discomfort. If they are taking drugs we need to know if the drugs are helping or actually causing other problems.
For instance, if the back hurts or there is swelling in the abdomen, then picking them up the wrong way can cause a great deal of pain. If they have a headache, then touching around the head can either help, or make it worse.
4. If it is their time to go, would they appreciate assistance through euthanasia, or would they prefer to pass on their own? Often we need to explain what the procedure looks and feels like, answer questions or concerns, so they can make an informed decision for themselves.
I’ve found in my work that most animals are not afraid to die. They welcome death like an old friend, and when they are ready, they gratefully surrender to it and step joyfully out of their body. And often their gift to us is this experience. Especially if we are afraid of death or dying, then going through this process with them can teach us how to face death with dignity and respect, and with much less fear.
5. Is there anything they want to tell or ask you? Do you need to tell or ask them anything before they go? Often one of the hardest parts of the process is not getting the chance to ask forgiveness for any perceived wrongdoing, discuss any regrets, and the opportunity to celebrate the life you’ve had together.
I’ve worked with so many people who are still grieving their loss even after many years, mostly because they haven’t been able to find peace with what happened, and feel incomplete because of what was unexpressed, unheard and unsaid.
6. Have they fulfilled their life’s purpose? Have they done what they came here to do? We all have a sense of purpose, even our animals. They have certain jobs to do, just like we do. Often their jobs include care taking and protecting us from perceived dangers, teaching us certain lessons, showing us how to connect and love unconditionally.
In fact, our connection with and love for our animals helps us learn the lessons they came here to teach us, and that makes us better humans.
7. If they know they are dying but it isn’t their time yet, and they would like assistance when it is time, then can we set up a clear signal that will tell you that they are ready? Sometimes they will hang on until that one day when they wake up and know, today’s a good day to die.
You will want to be prepared so you know the actions to take and what to do next. We can also talk about what happens after they die. Does their spirit continue on somehow, and will you ever see each other again?
We also can answer all their questions about what will happen after they give you their signal. They need to know what to expect next, and what happens after they die. You may need to know what to do with their remains. Many people are curious to know if their spirit will continue on somehow, and will you ever see each other again?
There are many other critically important reasons to talk with your animal too, especially if you are considering taking in a new companion to replace them. But that’s a whole different conversation!