You still remember the day you brought your pup home for the first time. Your excitement and feelings of love gave way to an instant bond. Just like you can’t imagine a gurgling, cooing infant as anything else, similarly, you have difficulty seeing past your dog’s puppy years, or worse imagining him as an old and ailing dog. You hope that by some miracle your dog will live longer, longer than any dog you have heard of. But deep down you know that it is inevitable, and if by some miracle your dog does have a long life it will not be more than sixteen or seventeen. These thoughts come unbidden into your mind-time again, as you take care of your dog.
This is all natural. A dog is the most lovable animal to have as a pet. When you bring a dog home, you give it utmost care, affection and attention. Just like you would feel for a baby, you can’t imagine parting with your dog ever. But it is unavoidable. Your dog will age, and it may not do so gracefully. In fact, most dogs become very difficult to handle as they grow old. And the only option that remains is euthanasia. But how can you do it? How can you bring yourself to kill a dog that you took care of with so much love?
Handling the Fears of Mercy While Killing Your Dog
Very often we find ourselves wishing that our dogs should also have lives as long as ours. Just like our children or parents, we cannot imagine outliving our dog’s as well. This is because they too become our family members in a very short time. But you must consider yourself lucky if your dog goes away peacefully in his sleep. Otherwise putting your dog down yourself can be very disturbing, and even more difficult to cope with. Dying naturally is one thing, but killing your animal yourself? That is entirely another story.
It would be utterly wrong to say that anyone would not feel anything at the time of euthanasia of their dog. Some people simply drop their dog off at the euthanasia service, and walk away without a backward glance. This may seem like callous behavior, but it is actually the owner’s way of hiding or showing their grief. Maybe they walk way because they cannot watch their beloved animal be put down. On the other hand, some people, stay as moral support to their animal, and go home to grief quietly. While some practically fall apart at the death of the pet. Anyhow, the crux of the matter is how you think you will deal with the mercy killing of your pet. It is something that is different from everyone, and is a private thing for any master and dog owner.
The first question that arises is that whether your dog is eligible for euthanasia. Usually, there are some dogs that pass away quietly. But then there are some, which simply don’t die, despite the fact that may be in suffering. You need to decide if your dog falls into this category, and if he needs to be put down. First of all consider the question of illness. Has he contracted an illness that is terminal, and treatment will only make the disease long drawn and painful. If yes, then you might need to consider the euthanasia option. Similarly, some dog do not heal once they get injured in the old age. If your dog has had such an accident, then you must consult a vet and determine whether medication will really make your dog better. If not then you might have to face the ugly truth of euthanasia.
Similarly, some dogs completely stop eating when the end is near. Many dogs may pass away quietly in these cases, but lack of food and nutrition might make death ugly for some dogs. Also, if your dog is completely unable to move, do his business in the proper place, unable to bark and respond, then you may need to consider euthanasia. This is because, the quality of his life has deteriorated, and putting it down will be a great kindness to him indeed.
Preparing Yourself for Euthanasia
It goes without saying that putting your own dog down is probably the hardest thing. But it may also be the kindest. Being terminally ill, gravely injured, lost control of physical functions, and being unaware of the surrounding, are signs that euthanasia should be preferred. After emotionally preparing yourself, make an appointment with the vet. You can give instructions, such as getting an appointment in a less crowded hour. Also, you can ask to have a session with the vet yourself, so you can ask him about the procedure, and know what to expect.
Some people fear that their animal might be carted off to some lab or used for experimentation. If you have any such fears, then you can always ask. But it is well known that these fears are just fears, and it is illegal to do such things with a deceased animal.
Secondly, there is the matter of burial or cremation of your animal. Most euthanasia services have the facility of doing it at the centers itself. But some people are touchier than others, and they may find themselves wondering what will be done to their pet, which can be disturbing. So, if you prefer, you can take your animal home for proper burial. Otherwise, these tasks are carried out at euthanasia centers very responsibly and honorably.
Last but not the least is handling yourself through all this. Most people are wracked with guilt in addition to grief. They start wondering that maybe they could have cared better for their dog, maybe he could recovered, maybe he could have lived longer. Pet euthanasia gives to the feeling that one might have shirked from the responsibilities of a pet. This is totally baseless, and you need to tell yourself that you did the honorable thing, and did out of love for your dog to put it out of its misery.