Grieving After: Coping With Pet Euthanasia
It’s been a month since we said goodbye to Bono, the lively and super likeable two-month-old bastard who joined our family on Christmas Day 2008. Our grief has been eclipsed by the usual health and work stress that we the “hoomans” have. had to cope regularly.
But on this Undas, I can’t help but remember the dog we named Bono because I was such a fan of U2 at that time. Two months after Bono came into our lives, we welcomed his “brother” Simon, whose namesake was the acerbic-witted “American Idol” judge.
At the time, I didn’t even think about having to shoot them – death wasn’t even on our minds. The new “pawrents” that we were, we were learning to deal with the stench and chaos that came with new puppies – also things we didn’t think about as new pawrents.
But such is the unconditional love that comes from dogs and with them learning to care for them quickly came. They have made our home warmer over the past 13 years.
In the last week of September, Bono started to weaken. He lost his appetite and began to have difficulty lifting his hind legs. My mom said he kept screaming in pain late at night, probably because he couldn’t move and keep the bugs feasting on him in the dark away.
We saw what my parents meant when we visited the dogs. As Simon gladly slid down the snubbed kibble, Bono could only look weakly at us as we tried to feed him his favorite treats.
It wasn’t the first time Bono had fallen ill. Five years ago, he survived a debilitating liver disease. When the vet who rescued him visited Bono, he took a look at my aging dog and told me he was missing. It’s heavy, considering he was our “miracle vet”.
We went to another vet to get a second opinion. After all the blood work and tests, the prognosis was dire: Apart from Bono’s kidneys being in poor condition and having hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive type of blood vessel cancer, Bono also had cataracts, hip dysplasia. and a severe case of dehydration.
We could opt for treatment, but his chances of survival were not high. Her internal organs were too weak to undergo chemotherapy. He didn’t mince words when we talked about the cost, all for the sake of spending a few more months with Bono.
“Better put her to sleep,” he said, when I asked for his recommendation. Then he told us how he also made the painful decision to drop off his 14-year-old Pomeranian, who was suffering from old age.
My sister, Analyn, and I were crushed. The vet politely came out of the treatment room to give us time to make up our minds. I alternated saying ‘I’m sorry, thank you, and I love you’ to Bono, while Analyn silently cried.
“We cannot afford the treatment,” she said firmly.
I didn’t mind spending my savings on her hospitalization, but thinking about all the other expenses we had to pay at home, I knew my sister was right. I looked at Bono as he stared at me with his tired eyes.
Sweet dreams, Bono!
The whole process was faster than our farewells. Bono was asleep in less than 15 minutes.
The vet had to shave part of his leg so he could put the intravenous needle where the anesthesia will pass. When we were ready, the vet gently stroked Bono’s head and looked him in the eye, probably his way of saying goodbye to his patient, before administering the anesthesia.
While waiting for the anesthesia to take full effect, we had a few minutes to say our final farewells, Bono’s eyes looking glassy. Then the vet gave him the fatal bites: four doses of potassium chloride to stop his heart.
My hand was on Bono’s trunk, which was still warm. “Has he already left?” ” I asked.
The vet nodded and pointed to his lower body. Upon death, all the muscles relax to release the feces. Bono was so dehydrated he just urinated.
I cried for the umpteenth time, but now, aside from the grief, I also felt guilty for knocking down our faithful ward.
According to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), pet euthanasia is defined as the humane way to end the suffering of an animal with an incurable disease or physical distress. It is recommended that the methods of administering euthanasia do not cause rapid loss of consciousness, minimal pain, distress and suffering in animals.
“It’s not euthanasia that’s negative, it’s murder outside of euthanasia – animal neglect and irresponsibility [of pet owners]”said Anna Cabrera, executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.
The cost of euthanizing your animal at licensed veterinary clinics depends on its weight. Because Bono weighed 15 kilograms, we had to pay over 5,000 P.
“My heart goes out to pet owners who face the difficult decision to put their pets to ‘good death’. The decision to euthanize [for humane] reasons… it takes a brave person to do this, ”Cabrera said.
Euthanasia of pets can only be performed by a duly licensed veterinarian. It is authorized when the animal suffers from an incurable disease, or when its condition can be cured but the quality of life will be poor, when an animal presents a danger to the life and physical integrity of humans, or when An animal owner cannot afford animal rehabilitation. It is also acceptable when there is a need to end the misery suffered by animals as determined and certified by a licensed veterinarian.
“I don’t put pressure on them to put their dog to sleep, but [I] tell them to spend quality time until they feel and accept it’s time to let go, ”said Doc Nielsen Donato, Born to be Wild host and vet. “The best thing to give their pets on the last day of their life is not to make them suffer,” he added.
In the Philippines, an average of 200 dogs are euthanized each week at city books. They have no choice but to do so to accommodate other animals and respond to public health concerns (for example, stray dogs bite humans).
According to the Animal Welfare Act, acceptable methods of euthanasia are injection of the drug pentobarbital, the cheapest option, potassium chloride, and pure carbon monoxide poisoning.
Cabrera said animal euthanasia using the “tambucho method” or gassing with motors is illegal after PAWS and other organizations protested. Automotive emissions are not pure carbon monoxide because other gases are mixed with it. Euthanasia should be painless and should be done in one minute, unlike the “tambucho method”, where animals suffer for five minutes, then choke to death for another fifteen minutes before exhaling.
“If you kill the animal violently and the animal is conscious, it’s not euthanasia, it’s just killing,” Cabrera said, adding that “euthanasia is not the problem. It is a consequence of irresponsible pet possession. “
PAWS also recommends that owners accompany their animals until their last moments.
“If the animal is about to leave, you give it a good day and then hold it while it is injected with the medicine for euthanasia. Your vet will allow this because the animal will be scared if you just give the animal to the vet and then the vet will put it in a cold room – wala siyang kilala (they don’t know anyone). You must sing to your pet, or talk to him until the last moment.
She thinks it’s painful for pet owners but reminded them, “You don’t do this for yourself, you do it for the animal. Like it’s the least you can do for them because you’ve been the animal the whole life. said Cabrera.
In Memoriam: Pet Memorials
After putting Bono to sleep, we called a pet tracking service who would take care of his remains.
Even though the costs are high, we decided to spend P 8,500 on pet cremation for the memorial service, cremation and photobox urn with fur samples and paw prints.
We figured spending a little more on sending Bono was probably a way to alleviate our grief.
With his remains ready, we entered the Pet Chapel and didn’t expect the facility to be so special. Thank goodness we were the only ones at that point so we had time to say our final farewells and whisper a prayer for Bono. The vibe was also solemn and the setup made me happy that we gave him the memorial he deserved.
The reality of depression in pets
A few days after putting Bono to sleep, it looked like Simon realized that his best friend was not coming back. He began to show signs of depression in the animal.
“Pets become emotionally depressed like humans; they love routines and bond emotionally. And if it all stops suddenly, the depression starts to subside, ”Nielsen said.
The worst thing that can happen when animals are depressed is that they become defensive. “They can easily defecate or urinate when they are afraid, some don’t eat at all,” he said.
“There is too much stress and they can also stop eating and if they are not brought to the vet clinic they can get sick and die,” he added.
However, Nielsen assures animals can recover from depression if they trust more and allow humans to step in, “What’s important is” giving. [them] time and care, ”he said.
A month after saying goodbye to Bono, Simon, like us, is learning to manage.
Maybe it helps that we still see the picture box with Bono’s ashes sitting quietly somewhere in our living room — makes us think that somehow he’s still ‘watching’ over. we.
If there really is a “rainbow bridge” for animals that have already passed away, I hope Bono has his best afterlife –– no more pain or illness.
Just love, and of course, an unlimited supply of dog treats. – with reports by Rochelle Senaida and Keith Barbarona / LA, GMA News