Hello from beautiful Montana, I want to introduce Dr. Marty Becker, a like-minded individual who loves animals,
“I was out in the pet cemetery that sits inside our orchard at Almost Heaven Ranch, standing in front of Shakira’s recently filled grave. Shakira was our beloved female,15-year-old Golden Retriever who we just euthanized when she was in rapid decline from kidney failure. I then looked at the graves of Sirloin, LLLucky, Scooter, Shing-I, and Bruce, and reminisced on each when it had become the time to say goodbye to them.
“When” can take on several meanings from a specific day or time, an alignment of circumstances, or the actual decision to euthanize. In our pet cemetery we mark the time by two years with a dash between, but it says nothing about how they died (natural or euthanasia) and what led to the final chapter of their book of life.
Sirloin and LLLucky died horrific deaths, whereas Scooter and Shing-I had easy goodbyes at Bonners Ferry Veterinary Hospital, and Bruce and Shakira had beautiful, more peaceful goodbyes at Almost Heaven Ranch, surrounded by people who loved them in a place they loved. I’m a huge fan of home euthanasia services.
Thinking of all of these beloved pets caused tears to well up, and I thought to myself, “What good could come out of the raw emotion?” And it hit me; to help even one person with the decision of when it’s time to say goodbye to a pet:
1. When your pet is in pain or extreme suffering that can’t be relieved.
2. When your pet has been diagnosed with a condition that is incurable or can’t be managed or successfully treated.
3. When the “good days” are outnumbered by the “bad ones.”
I learned that adage from famed veterinary oncologist Dr. Greg Ogilvie who reminded me that only pet owners know what are good and bad days for their pets. For one, good days are when the dog still wants to chase a tennis ball, while for others, just a healthy appetite is enough.
For every pet owner I thought might have wanted to perhaps euthanize a pet a little early, there are 50 I thought might have waited too long. As in the pet experienced extreme pain and suffering for longer, when the “final grace” would have been best.
My belief as a veteran veterinarian and life-time pet lover is that “I’d rather a pet owner was a week too early than a minute too late” to say the final goodbye.
Wags and meows (and the occasional neigh),”
Dr. Marty Becker
PS: Thank you to Dr. Marty Becker for his insightful and kind sharing of our Animal Human Connection. When we met at BlogPaws, I knew we were kindred spirits and like-minded individuals.
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