the thing about life and death is…

Posted: September 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

our perceptions about them change.

when we are children..death doesn’t even exist and life will go on for everyone forever. as we grow we somehow become careless with life…not so much our own, but others.

most animals euthanized prematurely are euthanized by younger folks..i don’t mean actual youth..i mean folks in their prime who because death is still so far away from themselves, think it is really no big deal to end an animals life…that life just doesn’t seem to have as much value.

then there are the seniors facing their own challenges of extreme aging and failing health, loss of mobility, sight and hearing. and suddenly that old dog or cat that they have loved into both of their shared old age, is deaf, blind, confused, crippled and ancient.
but he or she can still blindly toddle around in his or her familar home…he or she still likes to chow down and nap away the day on a comfy bed next to their lifelong friend. when suddenly the aged human can no longer care for their aged pet…they do not want to end that life, the human certainly is not ready to end their own life yet…they are facing the same challenges as they age.
when nearing the end of our road..every single day of our life or our pet’s life suddenly becomes something precious to hold.

and so then what happens when the elderly person brings their beloved pet here to me? they know they can no longer physically care for him or her and they just can’t face putting their good friend down simply because they grew too old…. together.
they want a kind and compassionate answer so their pet can still live..like them… until both of their natural endings comes whenever or however that may be.

i tell you it breaks my heart to stand before these ancient and falling apart human and animal creatures and try to explain that maybe a little bit early death for the pet is really the kindest thing. i feel like i am crushing hope, stomping on the extreme challenge of living a long, long life, that i don’t see how precious each day is to them both.

but i honestly tell them my thoughts and i fairly lay out the options..euthanization from the home they have known (and if money is a concern, financial help with the cost)…coming to live here where we do everything that we possibly can to make the rest of that life feel safe and loved but knowing it will be very hard for the pet to come here so close to the end.

i leave it to the elder human to decide, what is right for them and their greatly loved friend.

i will never tell any aged person what they absolutely have to, or must or should do, or what is right or best in this matter. i can tell them the reality of what each option means and send them away to struggle to find the answer that they can most easily live and eventually die with. their own life will not be for too much longer and they need to be at peace with whatever decision they make.

aging and aging and living and living..sometimes and somehow, strips away everything the elderly try to hold dear.

i will let you know if another little old ancient dog will need to soon come here.

7 Comments on "the thing about life and death is…"

  • erin says

    fuck me its all just such a sad situation. what a crappy choice to have to make, the ones that DONT agonize over the decision are the ones that bother me.

  • lynne says

    i am sorry, but if one of my dogs cannot live with me anymore and i can not take care of him or her than i would have him humanely euthanized in my arms and me loving him until the end. my dogs will all live with me until the end of their lives this is their home and i will not rob them of their last home. they will be with me until it is time to cross over, i can not do any other thing i do not feel it is right to put them somewhere they do not know and do not know why there are here. i love saints dearly but my animals will end their lives with me. like carol says for the ones that had no home this is a heaven on earth, but for the ones that had a home this is hard for them i am sorry but my dogs will; end their life with me.

  • Maggie says

    Carol, is the washer fixed?

  • Janice says

    When i get to that bridge, i hope that in my child like mind there is someone who can reason and gives a shit enough to take my friend/friends so at least they can live the rest of thier life with someone they know if they must be torn away from the one they really want to be with. Really hurts me to know that these old souls both human and pets are dumped by the loving family when it would bring such comfort in there rest of days to know the kids are with the kids.

  • Carol says

    ahh..but what you going to do if it is not yet their time to cross over and you are physically unable to look after them?

    if all of a sudden i get terminal cancer and will be dead in three months…do i nuke benny, june, phoebe and daphne? will you take in my personal family cats…the fruitloops and conan the barbarian and let them literally saturate your house in cat spray and urine?

    this is not as simple as my animals stay with me forever…what does happen to them when my forever ends but their forever hasn’t yet?

    sometimes there is not a right or easy answer to it all…

    oh and the washer is working again.

  • Maggie says

    Sorry to add such a jarring note into the discussion but I needed to know if I was on laundry detail again today.

  • Fiona says

    Reality really sucks sometimes. I feel for people in these situations as for most, I am sure this is not an easy decision and very heartbreaking.

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