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> Making The Big Decision - Euthanasia, article by Gary Kurz
Furkidlets' Mom
post Sep 18 2007, 11:00 AM
Post #1





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 1,208
Joined: 21-June 05
From: Canada
Member No.: 961



Permission to Republish: This article may be republished in newsletters and on websites provided attribution is provided to the author and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live website link. E-mail notice of intent is appreciated, but not required: (mail to: PETGATE@aol.com)


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Summary: A "How to" article to help people cope with guilt associated with putting a pet to sleep.

Article Description: Help for those feeling guilty about putting a pet to sleep

t*itle of Article: "Making the BIG Decision - Euthanasia"

By Gary Kurz

As an author of books in the pet loss genre, I often receive e-mail where I am asked "Do you think that I did the right thing by putting my best friend down?" The question is always qualified by a very heart-wrenching and moving story about the rapidly declining health of the family pet, which resulted in making the "big decision".

Almost without exception, the inquirer expresses a deep sense of guilt from having made that choice, which, in all probability, is the real reason for their writing to me…to help them with that guilt. Essentially, I am being asked to approve of a decision made during a period of great duress without much background information. It is a task that I do not relish, but one that I cannot and will not avoid.

Making such a decision is one of the most difficult things a person who loves animals will ever have to do. Our pets are perpetual children to us: children, because they depend upon us for all of their needs (food, shelter, medical attention, etc.); and, perpetual, because they never grow up and leave the nest.

They do not marry. They do not go to college. They remain utterly dependent upon us throughout their lives. When our children leave home, we still love them and provide help when they ask for it, but generally they have their own lives to live and we no longer make decisions for them. But for our furry children, the decision-making responsibilities permanently fall to us.

Is it any wonder then, that when we have had to prematurely hasten their passing, we blame ourselves or feel guilt? After all, they depended upon us and somehow we let them down. Somehow we should have had control and been able to prevent their illness or injury.

The truth is, however, we have no control over such things. We cannot know when illness will strike. We cannot know when an animal will dig a hole under the fence and run into the street. We can take all the necessary safety precautions, feed them the best food, get them regular check-ups, but we cannot foresee the future. Accordingly, from a reality standpoint, there is no basis for feeling guilty when unexpected circu*mstances force us to decide to help our best friend pass on.

From a perceptional standpoint, when someone is so broken that they feel compelled to seek my help, pouring out their most intimate emotions to a complete stranger, this suggests to me that they could never have failed their best friend by making a poor decision. It just is not in them to have not been vigilant and caring. It is my perception that they could have done nothing to deserve the guilt they torture themselves with.

It has been my experience rather, that such people possess great love and devotion for their pets. Invariably, they will have done anything within their power to extend the life of their best friend if it were at all possible to do so.

Indeed, I can attest that some who have contacted me have spent literally tens of thousands of dollars on surgery and other healthcare efforts, traveled great distances to meet with specialists, or sat up night after night all night long trying to provide comfort and care. There can be little doubt but that people who love their pets, people like you and me, will exhaust every possibility to help their animals.

Sadly, despite all of our selfless effort and expense, success sometimes is not realized and our best friend continues to deteriorate, often in great pain. We are forced to make that dreaded big decision, whether or not to let our best friend go.

It is after that decision has been made and our best friend is gone, that guilt comes, accompanied by its infamous associate, doubt. Together they rob us of our confidence and turn our precious memories into a source of pain. We beat ourselves up in our hearts and minds and are plagued by the haunting questions:

· "Did I do the right thing"?

· "Should I have waited longer"?

· "Why am I feeling all this guilt"?

· "What if I had done this or that"?

Again, these questions are hard to answer. If you were to ask for my help in validating your decision, I could not presumptuously determine that putting your best friend down was the right thing to do. Neither could I suggest that it was the wrong thing to do. I just cannot know.

Similarly, I do not know if the decision was made too soon, too late or whether it should have been made at all. At best, my thoughts in those areas would be nothing more than a subjective guess, based upon very limited information and my own values and level of sensitivity. It would be unfair to hold everyone to my own personal standard and to respond to them based upon that alone.

Instead, I would encourage you to remember how things were at that moment in time when you bore the responsibility of making that big decision for your family pet. Only you can know if it was the right and timely thing to do. My advice to you is to simply “trust the moment”. By that I mean, that you should not second-guess now, the decision that you made then. Second-guessing will only lead to a feeling of insecurity, which will eventually manifest itself as guilt.

It is imperative to trust that at that moment, when you were forced to make that undesirable, big decision, you did so from a position of love. You didn't want to do it. It horrified you to have to decide. Nevertheless, you stepped up and assumed your responsibility. You selflessly decided, at that moment, that your best friend was suffering, that there was nothing you or anyone else could do about it, except make that decision.

Now, long after the fact, divorced from the emotion and pressure of that moment, you are allowing yourself to dissect every thought and cir%%stance. Now, with the luxury of time, you are starting to re-think the facts and question yourself, playing the "what if" game.

Today, it isn't as clear as it was then. You really don't know if you did the right thing. Take heart, it is human nature to doubt. We are imperfect and fickle creatures. But that does not make it right to pull a load of guilt upon ourselves, and that does not change the reality of the moment when you had to make that big decision.

Don't let your feelings of grief give birth to guilt. Remember the moment. Remember that at that moment you wanted nothing more than to help the one you so dearly loved. You would have done anything, paid any amount, performed any feat to prolong their life, but it was just not to be

The doctor’s prognosis was grim. There would be much suffering and pain. The recommendation was to bring them relief, to help them pass on. Under extreme duress and emotional strain, through tears of love, you weighed all the facts, reached down deep inside yourself, put aside your own selfish desire to have your pet hang on, and did what you thought best for them at that moment.

At that moment, your love made the selfless decision that rationale and logic now question. There was no selfishness then, but rather a somber consideration of the facts, and a decision to do something that you really did not want to do. But you did it, because someone needed for you to be strong for them.

You put self aside and found strength you did not know that you had. Don't let go of that moment. Hold on to it. Trust it. Trust that you were right and that you did what was needed. Trust that your love ruled over your selfishness and know that where your love prevailed, there is no room for guilt or doubt. Grief and sadness are important validations of your love, but do not cheat that process with doubt and guilt. It has no place.



The author, Gary Kurz, helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at www.coldnosesbook.com/ for more information, tips and gifts or write to Gary at petgate@aol.com.


--------------------
"I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you."

[center]~Anonymous~


<div align="center">"Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart - but in it"[/center]

~Fleur Conkling Heylinger~


>^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^<


"For one species to mourn the death of another is a noble thing"

~Aldo Leopold~

<span style='font-size:9pt;line-height:100%'>Life is life - whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage. ~Sri Aurobindo

Spay now or pay later, the interest is killing us.


</span></div>
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AlleysMama
post Sep 18 2007, 03:03 PM
Post #2





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 625
Joined: 13-December 06
From: Virginia
Member No.: 2,356



This article has me sitting here with tears streaming down my face. It has been more than nine months and I still play the "what if" game and wonder if things could have been different. If I did the right thing. I think I will always feel this way.


--------------------
Read Alley's Story

May 1, 1997 to December 9, 2006 - Always in My Heart
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toonie
post Sep 22 2007, 02:33 PM
Post #3





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 628
Joined: 25-February 07
Member No.: 2,632



I feel exactly the same as Alley's Mama just said she did. Thanks Furkidlets, you are the greatest, we may cry and we may still go through the what ifs, but the article sort of rounds the sharp corners of our guilt or regrets or whatever are those awful feelings that haunt us.
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James in my hear...
post Oct 25 2008, 01:27 AM
Post #4





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 1
Joined: 25-October 08
Member No.: 5,182



Thank you so much for this article. I just put my cat, James Bond, down today. I haven't stopped crying. I feel sooo guilty that I didn't somehow save my baby. I feel like I failed and like I killed my cat. And I so badly just want to hold him again. I hope these feelings pass and that I can just feel love and smile at the happy memories.

James was only 2 years old but had a body that was just giving out on him. The vet was confused why I brought him in because she hadn't ever had a cat suffer so badly from colitis. I tried to explain that I just didn't have the money to spend to have exploratory surgery and ultrasounds anymore. If I had the money I would in a second but I had already spent so much and they still weren't sure what was wrong with him.

The poor guy was so miserable. He just let me hold him this last week nonstop. He was never a cuddler but he just became so weak so fast. I feel like my vet added to my guilt. I'll never forget the moment his body fell in my arms when he passed. I feel like I'll never forgive myself. I've been searching online for any articles I can possibly read that will help me because I've never felt this loss before. It's so different and so much closer to my heart.
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ckrspanl
post Oct 27 2008, 08:24 AM
Post #5





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 38
Joined: 23-October 08
Member No.: 5,171



QUOTE (James in my heart forever. @ Oct 25 2008, 02:27 AM) *
Thank you so much for this article. I just put my cat, James Bond, down today. I haven't stopped crying. I feel sooo guilty that I didn't somehow save my baby. I feel like I failed and like I killed my cat. And I so badly just want to hold him again. I hope these feelings pass and that I can just feel love and smile at the happy memories.

James was only 2 years old but had a body that was just giving out on him. The vet was confused why I brought him in because she hadn't ever had a cat suffer so badly from colitis. I tried to explain that I just didn't have the money to spend to have exploratory surgery and ultrasounds anymore. If I had the money I would in a second but I had already spent so much and they still weren't sure what was wrong with him.

The poor guy was so miserable. He just let me hold him this last week nonstop. He was never a cuddler but he just became so weak so fast. I feel like my vet added to my guilt. I'll never forget the moment his body fell in my arms when he passed. I feel like I'll never forgive myself. I've been searching online for any articles I can possibly read that will help me because I've never felt this loss before. It's so different and so much closer to my heart.


Jamesinmyheart,

I wanted to offer my condolences and tell you that one of the things that happened to my dog, which lead to her spiral downward of health, was severe colitis. My vet, too, who is a trusted friend, said her case came on so suddenly. Brandy Noel had all the diagnostic tests and I spent the $7,000 for an answer, which I never got. Sometimes we just don't know and that for me, has made it worse. The emotions and the pain and grief are all consuming to me. I am finding reading this forum at least gives me an understanding others feel this way and I am not alone. My baby died 10/11/08, so I know exactly what you are feeling.

Hugs
Carol


--------------------
Brandy Noel
Fly high, Dear Angel, Watch over Mommy
10/17/93 - 10/11/08


Time is...
Too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice.
But for those who love,
Time is not.
~Henry Van Dyke~
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ann
post Oct 28 2008, 01:37 AM
Post #6





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 650
Joined: 8-July 08
From: Mass
Member No.: 4,838



Wow, I just got to this article. I too have tears streaming down my face. I hope a lot of us find this and read it.. Thanks. Ann
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Furkidlets' Mom
post Oct 28 2008, 05:47 PM
Post #7





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 1,208
Joined: 21-June 05
From: Canada
Member No.: 961



I'm glad people are finding this article helpful. I also just noticed Gary Kurz has some newer books out as well (see his website link, above). His is a Christian perspective, which may or may not resonate with every individual, but he at least speaks with a compassionate heart.

Ann, I've posted SO many articles on LS, when an older one sees renewed interest, I re-read it myself, as I wouldn't have bothered posting them if I didn't find them personally helpful. And now, over 2 years down the lonely road since my fur-daughter, Nissa, left, this one's brought back tears for me, too. Most of them do, even after the over 8 years since my fur-son, Sabin, left. (he's the all-black boy in my avatar)

If you're interested in other ones I've posted, you can always click on my username, open the "arrow" and then click on "find member's posts". For articles I've posted, it's usually pretty obvious which ones are articles and not personal posts or replies by the ti*tle.


--------------------
"I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you."

[center]~Anonymous~


<div align="center">"Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart - but in it"[/center]

~Fleur Conkling Heylinger~


>^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^<


"For one species to mourn the death of another is a noble thing"

~Aldo Leopold~

<span style='font-size:9pt;line-height:100%'>Life is life - whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage. ~Sri Aurobindo

Spay now or pay later, the interest is killing us.


</span></div>
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ann
post Oct 29 2008, 12:59 AM
Post #8





Group: Pet Lovers
Posts: 650
Joined: 8-July 08
From: Mass
Member No.: 4,838



Thanks, I'll have to get to them at some point. This one was great in helping me realize that what I've been thinking and doing is right. Feeling the guilt is because we do everything to keep them happy and healthy and when we have to do this, we feel that we failed them somehow, we failed their trust in us. And I also keep going back to that day and why I made the decision even though it hurts a great deal, but I have to. It helps with the reality and acceptence of it all. Thanks again.. Ann
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