The past week has shown its darker side. A clear contrast to the many cute puppy pictures we often see. We do need the “baby pictures” to remind us, that life goes on. We need to remember, that with illness also comes great health and new beginnings.
All dedicated pet owners fear the day where it ends.
Unfortunately, only a few passes in their sleep in the basket, without any further illness. Rarely a pet gets struck by a heart attack and die. It means that in the most cases, we actively have to decide on the behalf of the pet when the time has come to say goodbye.
We are afraid to cross boundaries. We often postpone the hard decision about putting our pets to sleep too long, and in that way expose the pet to unnecessary pain and suffering.
We have given many promises to each other: When the day comes, and when we as vets judge it’s time, then we need to let the owners know. We know when the sad feelings hit, then the common sense closes down.
We don’t have a week, not even a day where we don’t say goodbye to our beloved patients. Often not during regular opening hours, since when the time has come, it shouldn’t have to wait.
Many have been through a time where illness wastes the body, and at last there is only one right thing to do. We don’t put healthy animals to sleep, and it must hurt before we reach the time where we end life.
What makes it so hard is, there is no check list. It’s not science to judge “what is a good enough” life for a pet?
Animals can walk with a fractured leg, wag its tail even it is sad and eats until the end.
Because of that we can’t just judge from the obvious objective parameters. Of course, we need them, but as well need to see it as the whole picture. We are so privileged; we can do the very best for the animals. We can decide about saying stop in time ant not just let the animal lay there silent, with the sparkle gone from the eyes.
It’s okay to have a bit of doubt whether it is the right time to say goodbye – if not, then maybe you waited too long?
The past weeks we have said goodbye to too many of the patients here at Artemis. Too many to be understood in the way that it also hurts us to say goodbye. Still, all the goodbyes were right.
Every time we say goodbye, we must remember that we do it out of love to the animals. It is the motivation and drive. It is the torch we always must lift together. We need to remember “rather a week too early than a day too late”.