of tails that wag

When I first moved in with Mister, Sugar would greet me every morning with a happy wag of the tail and a cursory but tell-tale lick on the hand. She would wait in the room until I got out of bed, and then proceed to follow me around as I carefully avoided reading the newspaper. She would wait patiently for me to pet her. I would often sit on the floor, resting my back on the ugly-ass black leatherite sofa in the living room, and Sugar would promptly sit down next to me, touching me just a little bit.

She’d growl if I got up before I finished my tea. She’d whimper if I ate before passing on a morsel of whatever it was I was eating to her. She’d follow me around like a puppy, because she became one when she was with me. She was having fun, being in the here-and-now.

Now, she’s eleven. She has cataracts in her eyes and no energy in her body. All she can manage to do in the morning is walk up to my bedroom and crumple in a heap near the door. She doesn’t lick me or wag her tail anymore, or whimper or growl at me for not giving her attention. She just drags her feet trying to be in the same room. He favorite treat, ice-cream, goes untouched. Now, I’m no longer sure if she’s enjoying the here-and-now so much.

We recently had her uterus removed. And then, right after her surgery, we discovered that there was a tumor in her breast. We don’t know if it’s cancerous yet, but what if it is? The doctor says she may not make it, and it may be kinder to “put her down”.

Most of my life I thought – hell, I knew I was against euthanasia. Not on religious grounds – because god knows I’m not religious at all; but because I don’t think it’s ethical. And here I am, entertaining the thought that maybe Sugar would be better off dead than dying. It seems, suddenly, the more humane thing to do.

But is it ok to even consider euthanasia just because we’re talking about a dog and not a human being? A pet, however old, is still like a baby – completely dependent on us human beings for their survival, unable to speak their minds, unable to give consent.

I wouldn’t request a doctor to put down a terminally ill baby, so why Sugar? What makes it ok for me as a human being to assume superiority over a being not even from my own species?

Have you ever been faced with this situation? What would you do?

 

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anawnimiss

Blogger. Crazy bitch. Stalkee. Weirdo magnet. Wannabe housewife. Corporate Slave. Find me at anawnimiss.wordpress.com!

32 thoughts on “of tails that wag”

  1. I’d say let her fight it out. During those last moments, however painful they may seem, bother you and the doggie may learn something valuable about life. I truly believe that animals have better control over their bodies; so much that they don’t breathe their last unless they want to. Hope things work out well!

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  2. I am so sorry, that Sugar is in such a bad condition. They are like the closest friends, never lied, always loyal. I was crying for two days even when one of my guinea pigs died. He was more like a dog than a guinea pig. I understand your feelings. So sorry you are facing this decision. Much love and big hugs to you, Anawni.

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  3. I don’t think people think of euthanasia as exercising superiority. I could be wrong. I would see it more as exercising humanity – ie, having the ability to end suffering. You wouldn’t “put down” a terminally ill baby because our society has a taboo against it. However, there are instances where parents might decide not to have further interventions that would keep the baby alive and leave no quality of life / extreme pain. In this case they’re doing a similar thing in a passive rather than active way. Also, people end the lives of babies before birth every day. It’s a matter of ethics and how society thinks about it.

    Personally I think that voluntary euthanasia is a good thing. We shouldn’t have to struggle on in immense pain so from my point of view if an individual’s wishes are clear (wanting to die) then it would be better for that to happen in a nurturing environment surrounded by loved ones.

    Animals can’t tell us their wishes so we have to make the decision for them. We had to put down a cat once and it was heartbreaking, but we truly loved him and didn’t want him to be in so much pain. He couldn’t eat or move properly. The vet came round to the house and did it, and he passed away in my mum’s arms.

    If something happened to my dog (who is basically the most important being in my life, for whom I have responsibility and am caregiver), I would like to think I would weigh up all the information and make a humane decision. I’d want him with me for as long as possible (and am still hoping that he’ll turn out to be immortal) but I wouldn’t want him suffering in extreme pain with no hope of respite.

    I’m sorry to hear about your dog and I hope whatever happens that she has a good experience of her remaining days. X

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    1. Thank you, Nara. I think you’re right about voluntary euthanasia – I’d like to have the liberty to choose when to stop suffering, and I’d like to have my family around me when it finally happens. But would it be ok for my family to decide my suffering is greater than my will to live? I honestly don’t know.

      So it baffled me that I even thought about it in the case of my dog, because what if she wants to live? I guess there are no right answers to these questions – you have to do what seems right at the moment. I just hope it doesn’t come to that.

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  4. Yeah, it’s hard for me to take any life. I feel bad even when I squash a mosquito, but a dog is just a heartbreaking decision. It’s hard for me to weigh in because only you will be seeing the pain that she’s going through and maybe there is a point when it is just too much, but it seems like it is such standard practice that people, even though it is hard for them, are not really considering if it is right. I don’t know.

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  5. Unfortunately, I’ve had several close pets that I’ve had to put down. The last one had suffered a stroke, had a terminal disease and was in pain. I had him in the hospital for the last 6 days of his life in an effort to save him, but to no avail. He died on his 5th birthday. It was tough, but the right thing to do.

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  6. I don’t think it’s about superiority. I think it’s the humane thing to do. I wouldn’t be against euthanasia for human beings if it had adequate safeguards in place. I know someone who had a kidney failure when she was 80 something and had to go on dialysis and the transplant list. I remember her saying ‘I wish I could just peacefully pass away. It’s not correct for an 80 year old to get a kidney transplant when there are much younger people waiting. I have seen enough and I believe my time is over’. Unfortunately she suffered painfully for over 4 years.

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  7. I have done that twice. In both cases the dogs were very old and bound to die within a week or two. The first dog knew what was happening and she was ready. The second dog was my mother’s. After my mother passed away her dog was very old, and suffering, so it was decided by the family that she should be put down. I held her in my arms while the doctor gave her the injection. She literally died in my arms. I cried for a week in both cases, but I have no doubts about the morality of what we did.
    Leslie

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    1. Thanks for sharing and weighing in, Leslie. Though I feel like consent is really important, my instinct, too, was to do the more humane thing and let the poor dog go.
      But the more I think about it, the worse it gets; I guess this is just a massive grey area, and there is no actual right or wrong here. We all have to do what feels right.

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      1. You have to do what you can live with, Ana. I can understand your hesitation. I have no doubts nor regrets about it. They were dearly loved but had come tho the end of the road and were suffering.
        Leslie

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  8. Tears my heart apart.. I have a small baby named Bilbo.. and just the thought that he will not be with us for more than a decade just kills me.. I really hope we don’t have to take a decision like this.. Stay strong.. Love for Sugar.

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  9. OH god .. this hit me reminds me of “Jimmy” .. and has brought a tear now . I had to make that decision. Jimmy was sitting minding his own business when someone Shot him, yep.. SHOT we did try everything we could, he did survive but …

    I still cry thinking of what happened, but i do think i made the right decision I could not see him suffer the way he was , although the question is right why in animals and not humans .. And I also don’t want to live like that , I am open to the idea of euthanasia and would want to be PUT down if i am seriously ill, dont want to be a burden on anyone who so ever they are ..

    I think this is personal choice..

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    1. Sorry to hear about your dog, Bikramjit. I can imagine how painful it would have been to let go. And I definitely agree with you about wanting to be put down if I’m ill, but the thing is, it’ll be voluntary if it ever comes to that in my case. I will ask to be put down.
      Dogs can’t ask, and that’s why I think it’s a grey area for me.

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      1. Yes you are right.. but that’s because they can’t speak. And since they are and will always be faithful to us no matter what .. maybe when it comes to a scenario like this we as humans need to KNOW our friend more than we think we do.. If you know what I mean.

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  10. Uggghhh…silly dogs having shorter lives than us humans 😦 I’ve never had a pet but I’ve seen the kind of immense joy they bring to their human families and I can only imagine what you’re feeling right now. Sending you some virtual hugs! Stay strong, Ana!

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  11. Oh dear, A. I’m so sorry to hear that Sugar is having some troubles. Our pooch, Macy Grey, is at 14 years and counting. I’ve had to face the decision of euthanasia more than I’d like to think about. You’ve highlighted all of the things that went through my mind, too.
    After losing four dogs through our 25 years of marriage, I’ll simply say it’s a very personal decision that only you can make. Losing a pet doesn’t get any easier, but they are certainly worth the journey. Keeping you in my thoughts and sending hugs. You’ll know what to do. I know you will. xo

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    1. Thanks Michelle. No matter what we finally decide, I don’t know if I will ever be able to adopt a pet again. I just can’t go through this. It’s never going to be easy to let go, regardless of how it ends, you know!

      (P.S. I love the name Macy Grey – it’s really cute!)

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  12. This is precisely why euthanasia is such a debatable topic. People for whom the person/pet is hurting, it seems like a humane thing to do. But, for others, who are not emotionally attached to the ailing body, it seems like an inhumane thing to do, to chose to stop the life before God decides to stop it. I don’t think it has got anything to do with being a human or a dog. It is about whether you want to end ‘your’ suffering (caused by the much-loved entity hurting) by killing it/her, or you let destiny/God/life take its own course and endure the sufferings during it. In such cases, my opinion is not to elongate the hurt-process by putting the ailing person on harsh medications/ventilators, etc. Let life take its own course.

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    1. I have to agree – ventilators are especially painful for the ailing, and it’s not ok to put them through so much in what seems to be their last few days. I’m pretty sure I’d rather die at home, surrounded by my family if it ever comes to that…

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