We are never quite prepared for the loss of our pet. Whether death is swift and unexpected or whether it comes at the end of a slow decline, few of us are fully aware of what our pet means to our lives until our companion is gone.
Our involvement with the final outcome may be passive. We may simply decide not to pursue medical or surgical treatment for an aging pet. Perhaps the ailment is incurable and the best we can do is to alleviate some of the suffering so that the remainder of the pet’s days are spent in relative comfort. At the other extreme, an illness or accident may take a pet suddenly.
Everyone privately hopes their pet will have a peaceful passing when their time arrives. However, the impact of a pet’s death is significantly increased when we face the most difficult decision a pet owner can make: to have a pet euthanized.
Veterinarians do not exercise this option lightly. Their medical training and professional lives are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. And they are keenly aware of the balance between extending an animal’s life and prolonging its suffering. We need to understand that euthanasia is the ultimate tool to mercifully end a pet’s suffering.