our perceptions about them change.
when we are children..death doesn't even exist and life will go on for everyone forever. as we grow we somehow become careless with life...not so much our own, but others.
most animals euthanized prematurely are euthanized by younger folks..i don't mean actual youth..i mean folks in their prime who because death is still so far away from themselves, think it is really no big deal to end an animals life...that life just doesn't seem to have as much value.
then there are the seniors facing their own challenges of extreme aging and failing health, loss of mobility, sight and hearing. and suddenly that old dog or cat that they have loved into both of their shared old age, is deaf, blind, confused, crippled and ancient.
but he or she can still blindly toddle around in his or her familar home...he or she still likes to chow down and nap away the day on a comfy bed next to their lifelong friend. when suddenly the aged human can no longer care for their aged pet...they do not want to end that life, the human certainly is not ready to end their own life yet...they are facing the same challenges as they age.
when nearing the end of our road..every single day of our life or our pet's life suddenly becomes something precious to hold.
and so then what happens when the elderly person brings their beloved pet here to me? they know they can no longer physically care for him or her and they just can't face putting their good friend down simply because they grew too old.... together.
they want a kind and compassionate answer so their pet can still live..like them... until both of their natural endings comes whenever or however that may be.
i tell you it breaks my heart to stand before these ancient and falling apart human and animal creatures and try to explain that maybe a little bit early death for the pet is really the kindest thing. i feel like i am crushing hope, stomping on the extreme challenge of living a long, long life, that i don't see how precious each day is to them both.
but i honestly tell them my thoughts and i fairly lay out the options..euthanization from the home they have known (and if money is a concern, financial help with the cost)...coming to live here where we do everything that we possibly can to make the rest of that life feel safe and loved but knowing it will be very hard for the pet to come here so close to the end.
i leave it to the elder human to decide, what is right for them and their greatly loved friend.
i will never tell any aged person what they absolutely have to, or must or should do, or what is right or best in this matter. i can tell them the reality of what each option means and send them away to struggle to find the answer that they can most easily live and eventually die with. their own life will not be for too much longer and they need to be at peace with whatever decision they make.
aging and aging and living and living..sometimes and somehow, strips away everything the elderly try to hold dear.
i will let you know if another little old ancient dog will need to soon come here.