How do you know when it’s time? That is a question I get a lot when pet owners are faced with an aging or perhaps terminally ill pet. I have a fairly standard set of criteria: when he stops eating, becomes less interactive, and/or when he can no longer do the things that
Recently I experienced being on the other side of this question for the first time in over a decade. My dog,
I spoke with a Surgical Specialist who said that, although he never liked to call things “inoperable,” Spudgy’s liver mass was as close to that as possible. He would be willing to try as long as I understood that
Oh, and by the way, because the mass was made up of
I made sure to say
Time passed and life continued. Spudgy had already been getting stiffer and slower before his diagnosis, which I understood as just part of the aging process. He gradually got weaker, but it happened so slowly that I didn’t really notice.
Eight months after his diagnosis he began to have what I would count as “bad days.” He seemed to be having difficulty urinating so we drained his bladder through a catheter. That day he walked around the house for 15 minutes checking for cereal my toddler had dropped. It was then that I realized how far down he had gone. I couldn’t remember the last time he felt strong enough to cruise for food.
His improvement was short lived and now I was faced with the question, “How do I know when it is time?” He still had a great appetite. He still seemed bright and interested in his surroundings. He could no longer do his most favorite thing of running in between two people playing catch, but he hadn’t been able to for over a year, maybe two.
My main concern was that he be comfortable. As far as I could tell he wasn’t suffering and I wanted to be sure it was “time.” Over the next couple of weeks he continued as he had been, but with the realization that he really wasn’t able to do most things except eat and be pet, it began to become clear. I began to realize that his time was coming, but
It was a beautiful, sunny Tuesday morning. I greeted him
I spent time that day saying a final goodbye. Al brought the necessary equipment home from the hospital. On some level, ever since he was young, I dreaded the moment I would hold his paw and inject the fluid that would end his life. But in the