Friday, 16 January 2009

The Compassionate Thing To Do

I have recently (Monday) had to deal with the loss of my parents dog (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel). She has been getting progressively worse over the last month or so, and it looked like her kidneys were failing, so my parents faced the hard choice of what to do. As she was fairly old they in the end did the compassionate thing and had her put down.

It is really hard to have to let someone (and yes I consider a dog a someone) go, especially someone who was close to you and special, it leaves a hole inside you, and this is the second time in a few months that I have had to deal with this, with my father-in-law passing away from cancer in November. At the very least I can say that neither of them are suffering anymore. The long drawn out stages where the illness is taking over and body is on the decline is so hard to watch and must be hard to endure too.

What I find interesting is that although both were clearly suffering, the right thing to do for the dog is to have her put down, where as if one was to euthanize a person you would essentially be facing murder charges. Do we humans not get to die with dignity, where is the compassion in letting a terminally ill person suffer through the debilitating last stages of cancer (or any other disease)?

I will however point out that my father-in-law fought to stay alive for a long time after he was no longer able to be fed, in fact this in itself made things worse for the family (especially my wife who is the only girl among 4 brothers).

What I want to finish on is that if I was in that situation (which I hope to hold off for as long as I can, after all I am still planning on doing a lot of living), my body failing and the end near, I would like to go the way of the dog, with dignity and not suffering to the bitter end. I would like some one to show me the same compassion as my parents did to their dog. Not only that I would like someone to be allowed to show me that compassion.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, we totally agree with your sentiments (and logic).
Also, cavaliers are very special "someones", our sincere condolences to you and your parents.

Best wishes from Kangaroo Island, South Australia