Quality of life is a phrase that we use often in the veterinary field. How do we know “when it’s time”. I wish I had an exact answer for that! What I do know is that when we can discuss, on an individual basis how a pet is living their day to day life, we are able to make decisions on objective factors, instead of feeling lost in emotional grief.
Humane Euthanasia: I find that this is one of the biggest blessings, and also a heavy burden to be gifted as pet owners.
We love our pets, and consider them a true part of our families. Let’s be honest, most of us will say, unapologetically, “we love our pets more than our human relatives!” We welcome our four legged family members into our homes knowing that their lives will never be as long as we would like them to be, but we love them unconditionally all the same.
Few will go into pet ownership with thoughts on end of life care, but it is an undeniable fact that this is something we will have to face. Even in the most “seemingly obvious” of situations, having to be the one to make the decision is so unnatural for us, this is the burden part. On the flip side however, being able to end one’s suffering is a true blessing.
As a veterinarian this is also a double edged sword for me. It is not something that I promote or enjoy, but I do feel a strong responsibility to provide care for those that cannot communicate with us. I want to be able to discuss with their owners how to evaluate quality of life. If I can help end pain and suffering to a pet, I want to be there for them.