Last night we had to make an emergency trip to the vet for our little house dog. We've had her now for 12 years and she's been a part of our lives longer than the Sanctuary has been up and running. The only other animal that we've had longer is Dude. Everyone else has come since we took Trouble in as a two year old. She's 14 years old and her health is failing.
It's difficult to watch the progression and for some reason I'm struggling with it a little bit more than I do with the horses. Maybe because I've turned a blind eye to what I know in my head and heart is really going on.
So I had a discussion with a co-worker about euthanasia and death in general. It was nice to get someone else's perspective. She couldn't figure out how people could turn a blind eye to what needs to be done (you know, the whole quality of life), but she's never had to make that final decision, to have to play God.
People continually tell me they don't know how I do it, to care for an old animal and then have to make that final decision. What I can't figure out is how people can NOT make that final decision and instead they do something more cruel and walk away from the animal when they deserve so much more in their final days/months.
Of course it's not an easy decision and there are going to be many tears shed over the next few days on what we do with our little dog (and there are many tears shed of horses that we have had to say goodbye). But I have a clear conscious. I know I've done right by those that I've had to make that decision. I can only hope they forgive me for ending their time sooner than maybe their body/mind was ready for.
I'll be truthful, it sucks to have to make that final decision. It sucks to have to play God. It sucks to be the one that has to decide because others won't. It sucks. Plain. And. Simple. But if I don't do it, who will? I will not dump a dog at a shelter in hopes that someone else will give them a "good home" when there's only a few months left and I won't don't a horse at an auction in hopes that they get a "good home" when you know damn well that they won't because you didn't put the elbow grease in to showcasing that horse.
Death is inevitable. It is not a topic that people want to discuss but it is a part of our life. There is no way to get around it. Do you have to play God all the time, no. But when it concerns your responsibility, then perhaps to the right thing and evaluate quality of life and ask yourself what is really right.
I will gladly go with you if you can't handle watching a euthanasia. But unless the animal is in my care, I can't make that final call because it's not my place to do it. But I will support you if you need that moral support.
So the next few days I'm sure I'll be in turmoil over the decision that I know is coming, it's simply a matter of when I will have to make that decision. You don't throw away 12 years for nothing.