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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Dog

Usually I reserve this blog for Masonic eBay listings but today I am inspired to write about something else.

Last week our dog (who will rename nameless for this post) was diagnosed with advanced stages of tumors in her lungs and various complications this causes, leaving her with only half a lung. The poor girl suffered, as her health started to dive quickly. My wife was taken off-guard by how quickly she went from being a happy healthy dog to a state of having a hard time just breathing, and taking little interest in the things she always enjoyed.

We made the tough decision and after explaining the best we could to our five year old, we let him say good-bye to our dog before he went to bed. We figured our other child was still too young to explain these things. We then took our dog to the emergency vet clinic and had her euthanized. That is a hard thing to do. It was surreal in many ways when the vet asked for permission to proceed with the needle. You know it is best for the dog not to suffer and yet you still have a hint of doubt, especially as the dog is looking up at you as you give the word.

I know it was much harder on my wife. She had the dogs head on her lap as it passed away. In some senses I was relieved not to see her struggling for breath anymore but up until a few minutes before this moment I was the tough guy that supported my struggling wife. She had this dog since before we met. I cannot claim however that I was a tough guy as I dealt with this issue. My heart melted and I felt bad as I reminisced about the fun times and companionship this friendly animal gave us over the years.

In the vet clinic I was told a couple of times, at the bare minimum, that euthanization was the last act of kindness I could give our dog and allow her to die with some dignity.

I will end this post with a new thought in my head and a question. I've seen my grandmother die of lung cancer and struggling to breath... when she died she was on so much medication she didn't know who she was or where she was. That is only one example... So I ask you to comment. Why does our society look down and disapprove of euthanization for our own kind if we think it is acceptable for our pets? Why is it not acceptable for us? Why can we not opt or perhaps create a living will that allows others to euthanize us under certain circumstances? I guess I've just seen too many people suffering to the end, even when it is know there is no hope for recovery. They sit in a bed suffering till the day of their demise. Can we not give our own species the ability to die with dignity? I'm aware some European countries allow this. This is a giant question, with lots to consider, no easy answers, but I'd love to hear your thoughts...


Anonymous said...

My most sincere sympathies during this difficult time.

Masonic Traveler said...

Brother, my heart goes out to you and your family. Our family dog has a mammary tumor that is fairly large and has probably metastasized. I think I may be facing the same situation sooner rather than later.

I have often wondered the reason why society does not allow this compassionate act. For such an enlightened human race, we still seem to be stuck in the dark ages of religious right. Perhaps one day things will change.