I’m sure most of you have seen the recent press coverage lately of ‘Walk with Walnut’ BBC Walk with Walnut. We’ve talked about this in the practice and thought it was a wonderful, kind gesture from a heartbroken owner to his ageing best friend.
Sadly Christmas is a time of year where we see euthanasia requests increase. We’re not sure why exactly, but there have been several suggestions. Maybe it’s because the whole family are getting together and they all have the chance to say goodbye. Or simply that we notice the little things more at Christmas, being at home and taking time out from our busy lives. Christmas does tend to be a time of sad goodbyes at the vets, so we thought we would put together a few words of advice at this difficult time.
Quality of Life – means different things to different people. For example, some may be okay cleaning up after their ageing pets continuous ‘accidents’ around the house. Others may be unable to cope. Measuring your pet’s quality of life is difficult. Often people base it on a wagging tail, a purr. It’s worthwhile to take a moment to consider what your pet enjoys. For my boy it’s a walk and diving into muddy puddles whenever possible. When that’s no longer an option for him, I’ll take a look to see if there are other things he can enjoy in its place, so he still has some pleasure. Owners always seem to know when their pet is happy, often coming to the vets because ‘he’s just not right.’ We all know our pets well, so trust your feelings.
Think about the moment – what would you prefer? What would your pet prefer? Many people call to speak to the vet, when they know they are coming to the end. To discuss options available or simply for reassurance. Some prefer euthanasia to be carried out at home, surrounded by family. Others prefer to come to the practice, so there are no painful reminders at home. It is a very personal choice and this is where talking to us about the options can help you make the right decision for you.
Think about the after – what would you like? Cremation? Burial in the garden? Both come with options. If cremation would you like your pet to return home, so you can scatter their ashes in their favourite spot? Would you like to attend a remembrance service at the crematorium? How about putting together a memory box? It’s easier to think of the options now, rather than to make the decision when you’re under extreme emotional distress.
What you choose is a personal choice, and ultimately one of the most difficult decisions as a pet owner you’ll ever have to make. Feelings of guilt can be a major issue, for you and for your family. What can cause you unimaginable pain is one of the kindest and most loving things you can do for your pet. When making your decision, we are here. Just to chat, to hear your thoughts, to give our advice, to hold your hand.