The sun was shining outside today but it still felt like a gloomy sad stormy day. Today I went home to my parent’s house and along with them and my sister, we took the family cat, Pebbles of 13 and a half years, to the vet and she was put to sleep.
This was not an easy decision by any means.
I myself, in general, was against putting pets down. Unless for example they were hit by a car and were in current physical pain and were in an untreatable state. Before today I really believed that when you have a pet, you stick it out with them, thick and thin and do whatever it takes to allow them their full God-given life. I had a hamster once, who I loved with all my heart. He lived 4 years because I took exceptional care of him. Some people will laugh at me for this but I feel every life is equal. Doesn’t matter how big or small or how especially much that pet cost. I even took him to the vet when he was sick and hand fed him medicine through an eye dropper. (He died anyway though.) Today I saw a different side. My viewpoint has officially changed after spending Pebble’s entire last day with her.
Pebbles lived with my parents. Myself and my sister had moved out years ago. So we would only see Pebbles when we came for a visit. In the past year and especially the past few months, my parents would tell us how bad she was getting and how sick she was. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that bad. I really thought they were exaggerating, Every time I visited, she would either be downstairs in the basement (because it was cooler) or just sitting at your feet waiting for a scratch. She looked OK to me. Today though, my sister and I came over early in the morning to spend her entire last day on Earth with her and to spoil her. Truthfully, I now feel guilty that we didn’t euthanize her earlier. She has some major physical problems that were definitely causing her pain and discomfort. One being her hips were so bad, she was actually walking on her full leg – the backwards knee part to her paw. She was using that whole part of her leg as a foot and it was flat with the ground. I can’t imagine what that misalignment must feel like. We think she had some sort of UTI because she was peeing on herself every 30 minutes or so wherever she was at the time. To eat she had to lay down and kind of twist her face into the bowl. The only time she seemed to be ok was laying still and getting a good scratch with her brush. But that only lasted a few minutes because she would try to move again to reposition herself to try to get comfortable. I don’t think she was ever in a comfortable position.
Last night I was doing a lot of crying in preparation for this day. Mostly because I thought what we were about to do was wrong and unfair to her. I felt like we were cheating Pebbles out of maybe a few months or years of her life. But something my husband said to me last night changed my focus. I asked him what he though of my view that you need to take care of animals and do whatever you need to do to get them to the end of their natural life, save for exceptional injury circumstances. He asked me how much longer I realistically thought she could live. I said maybe a year or two. He then asked me, if Pebbles really had the choice, would she want to live out the rest of her time in a medicine fog and constantly have to be put through the stress of going to the vet to be poked and prodded for tests. I thought no, that does seem worse from her point of view. It was in that moment I realized I wanted to keep her alive for me, to make me feel better and make me feel like I am doing the right thing. But it’s not about me. It’s about Pebbles. And any pet that comes to that point near the end of their lives where they are in physical distress and they do not have a chance to be properly medicated because they can’t tell you their symptoms or what hurts.
I have made peace with our family decision for Pebbles today and I think she is looking down on us right now and thanking us for realising her from her physical ailing body. She is safe now. She is OK. But she will be forever deeply missed. Love you Pebbles, rest peacefully.
What do you think? Right or wrong?
Have you ever had to put down a loved family pet? What were the circumstances?
~ with love, Chelsey P