Dealing With Euthanasia

As a vet tech at animal hospital for three years, I seen a lot of euthanasia. Unfortunately some times the dogs and cats euthanized were healthy due to the staff not wanting the burden of finding a rescue or home for the animal. The clinic I worked at worked closely with Animal Control and most animals were given a 5 or 7 day hold which meant if nobody claimed them within that time they could euthanize. So they did more often than not.

I could not site back and watch healthy animals be killed everyday and made a promise that

I would save them all.

That choice of words actually brought on a lot of ridicule from co workers who would say to me, you know, you can’t save them all. I argued that I could. In fact while working there, I did save them all. Every animal I looked for a rescue to take or a home to keep the pet,did get saved. All it took was a little effort and compassion. I was willing to put in the effort and I was against unnecessary euthanasia to the point that I didn’t think I could ever euthanize in any situation.

Dealing With Euthanasia

Fast forward a few years later to my beagle Mojo who has been suffering from liver cancer, ulcers, Cushing’s disease, and tumors throughout his body. I was told he would only have 3 months left after a late night trip to an emergency vet for him throwing up blood. They tested him for all kinds of things, diagnosed him vaguely with a few diseases and sent us on our way. I had no answers but was told I  didn’t  have much time left with my beagle, Mojo. I gave him some prescriptions and he seemed to be back to his old self again.

A few months past and Mojo was still acting healthy so I disregarded what the doctor said and was thankful he was obviously wrong about Mojo’s condition. After a hear past he was throwing up blood again and this time the prescriptions wouldn’t heal him.

He was bleeding to death and I had to make some very hard choices.

I could euthanize him and put him out of his misery as everyone around me encouraged me to do. Or I could give him a blood transfusion which is only guaranteed to prolong his life by a few hours and he will ultimately die anyway. The idea that I was giving up and not trying everything I could do to save him was haunting me but after everything I went through with Sparkys cancer and chemo treatments I didn’t wan to make him suffer anymore.

I cried, as I am sure most people in this situation would do and decided that I really was being selfish forcing him to suffer.

I was so worried about making choices that I didn’t think were mine to make

 There are many ailments that I feel if I were to suffer from, I would no doubt end my life before the disease could. I’m sure of it. I have ulcerative colitis and it is miserable and some days I think about getting a surgery that would remove my colon. The downside of that procedure is the chances of it going horrible wrong and leaving me worse off then I started are very high. If this did happen and I felt disfigured, in pain, and worse than I am now, I must say that I would want to put myself out of my misery. Nobody wants to live that way, that’s why they are legalizing assisted suicide in many states. I made the decision for my best friend who could not make the decision for himself. I had the vet euthanize him. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I cried for months. I still cry sometimes. Its very hard and on the contrary of what I once thought, I now believe in this case it was the only selfless thing I could have done.

I still am completely against unnecessary euthanasia but I now know it is not always a selfish act and it takes a selfless person to make that decision.

Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever been in this situation?


  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dog. I agree with you that euthanizing animals can be the right thing to do if it’s for the sake of the animal (to relieve incurable suffering) instead of for the sake of the caregiver (because it’s more convenient).

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