It is interesting to note, dear reader, how often people turn to me for advice or even just to share a concern or complaint. Now I don’t pretend to have any sort of expertise or training in this field but I do have a body of life experience, albeit from a dog’s perspective. In that vein, today I will respond to a query I often receive from readers, which is the age old question of “How will I know if and when it is time to end my dog’s suffering?” It is a valid question and one that I am honored to tackle.
First, there is no hard and fast rule for this, but as humans you must know that you have given yourselves an incredible license…choosing your pet’s ultimate fate is certainly a great privilege and not something to take lightly. You hold the power to end your beloved pet’s suffering when there is no hope for a future and no quality of life remaining. But with all power comes a grave responsibility (pardon my choice of adjective), and that responsibility weighs heavily on every pet owner’s mind. On this you must trust me…we will tell you when it is time. We will tell you because we know of your concern and we are grateful that you can do this last act of extreme love for us. There will be no doubt about the time, and even if you cling to us for an hour or a day past that time, we know you will ultimately do the right thing, which brings us peace of mind.
So, while our lives are brief in comparison to yours, we know with absolute faith that you will see us through our journey with love and compassion. If we could, we would do the same for you. Remember, it is not the length of the life lived, but rather its quality. You give us the ultimate gift of love by ending our suffering when it is time.
I apologize for the rather grim subject, dear reader, but it is one that every pet owner must face from the moment we enter your life to the day we leave it. Shakespeare said it best in The Merchant of Venice…
“The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”