By Alfred J. Plechner, D.V.M.
This is such a difficult subject to bridge! There are so many questions to ask, and when the time has come, when the procedure must be considered. I do not have all the answers, but I do know when the recommendation needs to be made.
When your beloved pet goes from "Living to Existing", this is the time to respect their need to "transcend". None of us would want to not live life to its fullest, nor would we ever want to be in a position where we soil ourselves and can only experience the feelings of deterioration and suffering.
When the time has arrived, you need only think about your pet, and not yourself. You need to remember the happy years your pet gave to you and respect your pet in their final days.
Often, you want to be with your pet when the euthanasia is done. What you need to remember is your pet will realize your grief and make the situation worse, even though you "mean well".
From my stand point, I will give to my patient a large amount of tranquillizer and have the owner spend 10-15 minutes with the pet, until the pet is tranquillized. I think it is best for all at this time, for the owners to leave and remember the pet, as the pet would like to be remembered.
Just so you know what my feelings are, you need to realize I am about prevention and after helping a patient live for many years and then have to do euthanasia, is very difficult for me. I will hold my emotions in front of the owners that are trying to do the same thing, but after I excuse myself, I find a private place when I can experience my grief without others seeing. No, I will never get use to doing this when my mission in life is only to heal.
When I was in practice, here in California, I would never charge a fee for euthanasia. I would rather see that money go to another pet. I did send in a donation to the Tree People, here in California, to plant a tree for that animal in that animals name in a state or National forest. In Asia, when a child is born or an old person dies, a tree is planted in their name. It gives the family a chance to walk through the forest of their loved ones.
The hardest thing in the world is to have another dog or cat, but your deceased pet would want you to do this. You do have an obligation to so many of the innocent animals that are being put to sleep every day, because of over population and lack of finances. We are seeing so many precious animals taken to the Animal Shelters because the owners cannot feed their pets, much less themselves and their children. The Rescue Groups are doing everything they can do to rescue these animals but many of their rescues are being returned because people are losing their jobs and their homes. You not only need to make the difference to these animal but also to yourself, because you will never again be able to experience the joy that an animal will give to you, with unquestionable love and loyalty.
Yes, you must continue on as I must do also.
I hope this article will give you the understanding you need to help both your pet and yourself.