By T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM
Many people who have had to put a cherished pet to sleep, even after thorough soul-searching and careful consideration of the reasons and timing, have had second thoughts about having their pet euthanized. It is very common to be plagued by remorse, doubt, and guilt about the decision to go ahead with the euthanasia process.
Please remember no amount of preparation will be enough to prevent those yearnings to have your special friend back with you again. You may wish you could undo what you have so carefully considered to be the correct course of action. In some cases, the self-doubt can become overwhelming... and even advance to obsession.
If you get to feeling this way, read Annie's letter to her human family. It was written by a thoughtful and caring husband and father who witnessed family members suffering from self doubt -- suffering from the "Did we do the right thing" syndrome even after long and sincere consideration of Annie's difficulties, discomfort and loss of dignity.
The decision to terminate a loved pet's suffering and discomfort is never easy, but Annie speaks to all of us who have wrestled with self-doubt about our human responsibility to ease a gentle friend's discomfort and disabilities.
Annie really has some happy words for all of us; we should thank her for freeing us from our chains of self-doubt and guilt. Thanks, Annie.
I just want you to know how happy I am to be in doggy heaven. It is great up here! My legs work fine, and I only go to the bathroom outdoors, just like I used to, before I got real old. Also, I can hear again! The other barking dogs here are all very friendly, and once in a while I even bark back at them. It feels real good to bark again.
The views are spectacular. I can see all of Winnetka, Deephaven, Tonka Bay, Bloomington, and all points in between. I can see the work going on in our back yard ... it is shaping up and will stay beautiful now. At the end of my time there, I could not see the yard or anything very clearly. My mind is inquisitive again, too. I am sticking my nose in to all the new nooks and crannies here. Exploring used to be a big part of my life. Remember me tugging you in all directions on our walks, except for the last year or so. And I like being real mobile, nimble on all four feet, again. I want to thank the whole family for taking care of me for 15 great years (well, really, 14 great years -- my last year of real advanced age was not so great, for me at least).
You may think you rescued me years ago after I was abandoned, but that is not quite right. You see, I selected you guys, not the other way around, because I knew you were a great family that would take really good care of me! And did you ever take really good care of me!! Really, really good as you would say. Especially you, Susan. You were the one who usually put my food in my bowl, took care of my water, too. That is all I ever really needed. And you kept the bowls clean, because you knew that was important to me. You were my very best special friend. Thanks.
You took me to the vet for my check ups, and had me fixed when my spleen went bad on me. Remember when my ear filled up? You nursed me through that too. Even though you laughed at me, you knew how stupid I felt walking around with that lamp shade device on my head and you were able to comfort me through that difficult time. By the way, would you please throw out all the photos of me bumping into walls and chairs with that stupid thing on my head... it just is not in keeping with my lady-like personality!