Euthanasia is something I am involved with on a regular basis. Working as a veterinary assistant, I see it more than your typical person. It’s definitely not an easy part of the job, and it can be emotionally taxing at times. Sometimes it’s because the pet’s health is rapidly declining, sometimes, it’s been a long time expected as the pet’s age has begun to show over the last few months. Sometimes it’s a tragic accident and options have been exhausted. We wish we could wave a magic wand and turn back the clock but we can’t.
We recently attended some continued education on the topic. Ways to help owners through this, knowing ‘when it’s time’, etc. One of the things that really stuck with me from that was her telling a story of losing one her pets suddenly and not having told them that she loved them recently. She now ‘prescribes’ to her clients to take 15 minutes every day to love on their pet in the way that they appreciate most and to tell them you love them. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ve done that with mine every day since.
While my pets are really only ‘middle aged’, I still often wonder how it will be when it’s their time. I pray that I will know and that I won’t let them suffer. I pray that I can keep them happy and as comfortable as long as possible throughout their lives. I am reminded on a daily basis that the time that we have with our pets can be very short. Accidents happen, cancer happens, crappy, unexpected things can happen. So I really try to not take them for granted.
Another thing I learned about are bucket lists. Things to do as it gets closer to your pet’s time. The exemple she gave had things such as: “Eat a steak dinner, snuggle in bed with Dad, have a photoshoot, go to a new park, enjoy an ice cream cone.” I thought this was a really cool idea and will definitely do when the time comes. It makes that last time with them a little easier, knowing that you were able to give them an amazing last few days (or weeks depending on timeline).
We’re never actually prepared to lose a pet. It doesn’t matter if they’re 18 years old and you knew it would be coming soon. You’re still never prepared for that loss. And it doesn’t make it any easier to lose them. So tell your pet you love them, and give them your undivided attention for 15 minutes a day. For all that they do for us, it’s the least we can do for them.