A Dog's Prayer  

Dear God,
 

As I wander the streets lost and confused looking for a scrap of food and a soft place to lay my head I pray once again that you might send an angel of rescue my way. I have heard about them. I hear they give up days at the spa and golf courses to get us mended at the vets. I hear they give up going out to eat so we may have a full bowl of food. I hear they don’t get to go to nice hotels because they would rather give us a bed to snuggle in. They don’t buy the latest gadgets but have a basket full of toys for us. I have heard they sacrifice all this and more just for us.

 They mend us, love us, teach us, and then give us new life in a forever home. They pour their heart and soul in us only to give us up to another for a chance at rebirth and redemption. But why God would they do that when we have nothing to give back to them? I am just a battered old dog. I smell from sleeping on the streets, my paws are bleeding from being on the run, my ears are scarred from the insect bites, and my ribs are showing from lack of food. I can also be a little aggressive and scared from the lack of love I have had and may bark or bite if approached although I don’t mean to. I do want to be loved but have never been shown it. So why God would they want to rescue me? If they do exist though please send them my way. I would be forever grateful.

Love,
The Dog

 

“Gods Response”

Dear Dog,

As you wander the streets know that rescue angels are looking for you. I made them extra special so they can help you on your way. They have the sharpest eyes around and can see a dog that needs help when others will pass them by. They have very keen ears to be able to hear even the tiniest puppy whimper calling out to them. They have a nose that welcomes the smell of a dog in need of a nice warm bath and gentle hands to massage away the fear. They have a face designed to withstand hundreds of dog kisses and will relish every one. Do not fear for they will find you. I also gave them the heart of soldier who will never quit until every last dog is rescued and will never leave a dog behind.

 You ask why they would want to rescue you and sacrifice so much. Silly dog they do not sacrifice things in life for you because you give them life and enrich their souls more than any material thing could. To them the battered old dog is as beautiful as a rainbow after the rain. The smell of puppy breath is better than any exotic perfume. Your excited little wiggle and jump when you see them after a long day is more relaxing and heartwarming than any day at the spa. Your scarred ears and little ribs showing through gives them an opportunity to caress, cuddle and care for you as they would a newborn baby. They do not fear your bite but welcome the opportunity to show you how to love. So you see my pup, without you they would truly be sacrificing life as you are the reason these angels live.

 
Love,
God and your angels of rescue
 
Written by Tammy Randolph

 Euthanasia...What to Expect

written by T. J. Dunn, Jr. DVM

Should I put my pet to sleep? 
It is a tough call and everyone has an individual way of handling this crisis. Ask the animal, too. This may sound silly but each individual should spend time alone with their pet in a quiet and private location. Hold and comfort your pet and talk it over... just the two of you. Then, if you listen to your heart, the answers can become very clear. 

We always fear losing our pets that mean so much to us. Nevertheless, that time inevitably does come. How you will act at your pet's final moments is a completely personal experience. Your pet has been a huge part of your life for a long time and this is not an easy thing for you to do. Most people really have no rules to follow, have no firm ground on which to stand while partaking in their pet's final time. For those of you who have had no experience with euthanasia of a pet, here are a few guidelines when "that time" does come. 

Making the appointment 
Be sure to tell the receptionist that you would like to schedule the appointment at a time when the veterinarian is not in a hurry with other appointments or surgery. You might even request that your appointment be the last one of the day or the first one in the morning. Explain that you have never had to go through this experience before and would like to know what to expect regarding the euthanasia procedure. You have a right to take your deceased pet home for personal burial. You may also choose to leave your deceased pet with the veterinarian for burial or cremation. Always ask what will be done with your deceased pet after it is "put to sleep"! If you don't, you will always wonder, and your imagination will not be kind to you. You have a right to know what will be done with your dog or cat if you choose to leave it with the veterinarian. Do not be apologetic about asking. 

The Appointment... To Be There or Not To Be There
It is your personal choice whether or not to be present in the exam or surgery room when the veterinarian administers the euthanasia solution. Many people simply cannot bear to see the moment of their special friend's passing. Others wouldn't let a tidal wave interfere with their being present! It really is up to your personal preference. Some people choose to stay in the waiting room during the procedure and then briefly view their pet after it has passed away, maybe then spending a few moments in private with their pet.

If you are not sure just what to do I will offer an observation I have made from feedback from my clients. There are a multitude of pet owners who have regretted NOT being there with their pet when the pet was being euthanized, and their feelings that they may have abandoned their pet at a crucial time has created a certain sense of guilt that simply will not go away. So... think over very carefully how you will feel long after your pet has been "put to sleep". Will you have regrets if you do not stay with your pet? You really have no need to pretend that you can handle it when inside you feel terrible...it is perfectly normal and acceptable to cry. 

You might choose to leave your pet in the car and go in first to see if there will be any delays prior to your scheduled time. It is perfectly reasonable to ask the receptionist to let you know when the doctor is ready to see your pet... then bring your pet directly into the exam room. You should not have to be isolated in the exam room for a long period of time, either.

If you think your pet would be more comfortable and less apprehensive (not all pets relish coming to the animal hospital!) you may ask the veterinarian to provide your pet with some sedation prior to your visit. This can be administered at home at a directed time interval prior to the appointment or often sedation is given in the animal hospital via a painless injection under the pet's skin. After a short time the pet is relaxed and calm.

The Last Moments
When the veterinarian is ready to administer the euthanasia solution the assistant will help hold your pet and put a slight amount of pressure on a vein, usually in the foreleg. This allows the veterinarian to see the vein better and aids in passing a fine needle into the vein. When it is certain that the needle is within the vein the veterinarian slowly injects the solution. Many pet owners choose to help hold their pet and if possible even have the pet in their arms at the time of euthanasia. Your veterinarian will try to accommodate your wishes, but remember that it is imperative that the solution be injected within the vein for the procedure to unfold properly.

Usually within six to twelve seconds after the solution is injected the pet will take a slightly deeper breath, then grow weak and finally lapse into what looks like a deep sleep. (This state gives rise to the questionable euphemism "to put to sleep".) The pet, although completely unconscious, may continue to take a few more breaths before all movement ceases.

If the client chooses to take the pet home, by pre-arrangement a container is at the ready to receive the pet. The veterinarian usually will place the pet into the container and carry the deceased pet out to the car for the owner. If the pet owner chooses to have the pet cremated the veterinarian generally will make the arrangements through a cremation service and notify you when you can expect to have the ashes returned. Generally, pet owners are surprised at the small quantity of ashes that are returned. Remember, most living creatures are about 95% water.

It is perfectly reasonable to ask "How do I know that the ashes that I receive will actually be those of my pet?" Everyone wonders about that. To make the last moments with your pet as unstressful as possible call the cremation service with your questions long before that final day.

It is not unusual nor unreasonable for pet owners to save a bit of their pet's fur as a physical remembrance of their special friend. Some people want their pet to be buried or cremated with a few photos, or a rose or even a personal letter or poem from the pet owner to their pet. Just remember it is YOUR friend, YOUR pet, that is passing away and you can do anything you wish to ease your transition into the time of separation from that friend. 

Suggestion: You may want someone to be with you after the appointment to drive you home. You may be surprised how difficult it can be to concentrate on driving after experiencing such an emotional event. 

Grief 
Many, many pet owners experience a very strong and lasting sense of pain and grief after the passing of a special pet. This can be a very lonely and private grief since the pet owner often is reluctant to disclose the source of their saddened state for fear of ridicule. If someone hasn't personally experienced the loss of a loved pet they simply will be unable to connect with the pet owner who is grief stricken. 

The bereaved pet owner often is self-critical, too. Reading their thoughts we would recognize self chastisement such as "Oh, this is ridiculous feeling like this over a Cocker Spaniel" or "I can't believe losing a cat would wreck my entire life!" And the loss of a pet often brings up memories of other losses in a person's life and a vicious cycle of sadness, helplessness and even clinical depression can result. Our pets are THAT important to us and we don't have to apologize for feeling that way!