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In the Veterinary profession we have to discuss with our clients many times concerning the right time for euthanasia or indeed ending the pet's life. There is a feeling of compassion from being able to end the suffering of a pet's life. The timing of this event is one of the most difficult features.
As a young man in practice I heard many times, "the vet said I had to put my pet to sleep," This is a poor assessment of our profession as I do not believe we are allowed to play God and have final say in the life of any creature. It is my position that I am called upon to gather needed data and present it to the owner and allow them to make this decision. I have found over the 50 years of my practice life that the owners know when quality of life has descended to the point that intervention is needed It will always be different for each owner or care giver.
There may well be some guide lines that we can give to help the owners. I have found that each of them have a tract or script in their minds that help to evaluate how the pet is doing. A written list may contain some of the following areas of consideration:
I try to communicate with my clients the Biblical concept that, "God gave man dominion over all the earth." This is done to relieve any feeling of violating a moral code that may be in the subconscious mind. Hopefully this presents concept of feeling that they are a bad person. There is a beautiful concept of the Rainbow Bridge concerning the ascension of the family pet to a better place. This brings joy and comfort to the pet owner...
A bonding with the owner at some level will prepare both the DVM and the owner for the finality of the issue. Time spent prior to the euthanasia will be time well spent. An owner may or may not elect to be present at the time, but wish to return and spend time with the pet. Having a quiet place for these events will facilitate faster healing. There must always be a discussion of what the owner chooses to have done with the remains. Many options exist and they will be different for each area of practice.
As a matter of good business, a release form must be signed by the rightful owner who is of legal age. It is best to have financial arrangements cared for prior to the event as it allows for uninterrupted grieving by the owner. In home services are often requested and may be provided. Certain conditions must be met to assure that all expectations are met, for the owner, the pet and the DVM.
Dr. Dale R. Hodgson
Our company of choice for cremations and burials is Faithful Friends Pet Cemetery.
Their link can be found below.