Time–for many dogs this can mean years or days. Having a pet for 12+ years feels like an accomplishment worth receiving a medal for these days, but when the time comes our hearts ache as they have never ached before. I see the years passing quickly with my Oliver, just having celebrated his 2nd birthday and we’re coming up on his Gotcha Day in February. 2 years with my special man and it seems it was only yesterday the lady at A Paw Up Rescue in Prosser, Washington was handing me my bouncing baby boy. Tears welled in my eyes as he was placed in my arms for the first time, and tears will well when “the day” comes.
Most of you are aware I moved to the boonies to give Oliver a better life, a better home, and to live more stress free sans city life. Here in our new home we are co-habiting with 5 other dogs, one of which is nearing “the day” closer and closer day by day. She has mobility, visual, and hearing disabilities, and many days I can’t honestly tell how happy she is. So how do we tell when “it’s time”? Some say, ask you’re vet–they’ll tell you; when quality of life has run it’s course and we’re simply counting quantity; or when the tail stops wagging. It’s a (pardon my french) shitty situation, but part of being a responsible, and loving pet parent is telling yourself when enough is enough and allowing your loved one find peace once again.
I’ve told myself that at no matter what age, I will not allow Oliver to suffer. I will do whatever I can that is within my reach and my abilities to make him well again, but if “the time comes” I will compile many factors into my decision, but it all boils down to a combination of all the things I mentioned above. If my pet were to be completely miserable, suffering and pain-ridden for the majority of his days, I would have to consider humane euthanasia. I’ve recently heard of a story of a couple allowing their horse to suffer and die over a long period of starvation and not even be willing to put the animal down. I’ll think of this everytime I wonder if I’m doing the most compassionate thing.
Although this topic is touchy, and no one wants to think about it before you need to, I think having a “plan”, can save a lot of pain for both you and your pet. Remember that eventually (however unfortunate) this day will come, and we need to tell our dearly loved pets how much we love and appreciate them EVERY SINGLE DAY. It sounds crazy, but I tell Oliver every night in bed that he saved my life. He may, or may not understand, but the hug and kiss that follows–he gets:) You’re pets view you as ‘mama’ or ‘papa’, don’t take their love for granted and be kind to them as they age. Decisions will get tougher and tougher, but we can’t shy away from the right thing to do. And remember, the Rainbow Bridge is a respectful place that welcomes your pets with dog cookies (the really good ones too!)
As for the old girl in our house, we pray she’ll make it to her 15th birthday in May, 2013, consdiering we were told she’d never live past age 4.