When It’s Time for Your Pet’s Final Moments, Be There, Vet Pleads
Most of the time, we’ll outlive our pets. But a veterinarian’s post may make you rethink where you should be during those final moments.
If you love your pets as much as I do, the last thing you want to think about is their final moments when that horrible time comes.
I saw a story about a veterinarian who described those moments.
And I have to admit that it was difficult and painful to read.
The Facebook post appeared on the page of Hillcrest Veterinary Clinic in South Africa. In the post, a veterinarian begs people to be present when it’s time to put down their pet.
That’s because, the vet says, when your pet is about to die, they desperately search the room for you:
DO not make them transition from life to death in a room full of strangers in a place they don’t like.
The vet then suggests pet owners shouldn’t be cowards and should be there for their pets for those final moments.
That’s a hard thing to do. But I agree.
The first time I stayed in the room when one of my dogs was put down was with my second Collie, Skye.
Skye was a beautiful mahogany, sable and white Collie who had apparently been abandoned near an Army base. The man who found him reported him to a local Collie club on the same day I called them to ask if they knew of any Collie puppies that might be available.
When we went to meet this dog, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure what the man thought might be a Collie and I was set on having one. When I saw this dog for the first time, it almost took my breath away because he was so beautiful.
At the time we brought him home, the veterinarian who checked him out estimated that he was about 10 or 11 months old. He was a sweet dog, but there was something a little distant about him. Collies form a strong bond with their masters. They’re very loyal dogs. I think he never forgot that he’d been put out — that, at least, was the speculation for the man who found him and wouldn’t accept a dollar: he just wanted the dog to have a good home.
He lived to be about 13. He began to slow down and eventually became ill. We had him on a thick comforter to make him comfortable, but I heard that “death rattle” and looked into his eyes and knew it was time.
We took him to the vet and they confirmed he wasn’t going to get better.
I didn’t want to see him actually die.
I was heartbroken enough just thinking about it. And almost 30 years later, I can still get emotional thinking about that.
But something told me I needed to be in the room when they put him down. He had been such a good dog. He gave us 12 great years. I needed to be there with him. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did.
The process was very simple. There were two injections. The first was an anesthetic. It looked like he just went to sleep. It was very peaceful and suddenly that hard breathing calmed.
The second shot is what sent him to the fabled “Rainbow Bridge.”
It was hard to be there. But at the same time, I felt like I was doing what I needed to do for him.
Ever since then, for every dog I’ve had to put down over the years, I’ve been there. Somehow, I feel a sense of closure later because I know the last face they saw was mine.
I feel like I owe it to these wonderful companions as they leave this earth.
As the vet said, they’re a part of our lives; we are their entire lives. Being there for them at this time is something we need to do for them.