Most people love their pets so much, they consider them an extension of the family. Although pets are deeply loved, they rarely have a long lifespan. A heartbreaking reality for every fur parent. It becomes even more painful, when said parent is forced to make the choice to put their fur baby down.
After a vet encountered sad circumstances at work, she anonymously shared with Reddit a piece of valuable advice. Her advice was to encourage people to stay with their pets even if it’s painful. Before explaining a heartbreaking tidbit from her day, she wrote: “It might be hard to say goodbye but it’s hell for them. They already don’t like the vet. They’re confused, they’re scared, they’re sad and they’re looking for you when they take their last breath. I can try to provide them as much love and comfort as I humanly can but at the end of the day, I’m a stranger to them.”
May Cause Heartbreak
She then shared her motivation behind her message was that one dog was left alone all day before the appointment. “I told her we didn’t have a vet in the clinic as she was on farm calls all day. but She insisted on leaving her there at 9 am knowing that our vet wouldn’t be back until well after 6 pm. She was too busy to bring her back later. So, she left her sweet girl to be alone all day before dying. I kept her with me for most of the day, took her for a small walk, bought her a cheeseburger and doughnut on my lunch and laid on the ground and cuddled her while she cried, scared and confused.”
And cue the waterworks, “I kissed her and told her she was a good girl while she crossed the rainbow bridge, but her eyes never stopped looking for her family. Dogs know what’s happening, don’t do this to them. Be there when they cross that bridge. It won’t kill you; I promise.” she concluded.
Responsible Fur Parents
Unsurprisingly, most commentors were of the position that they’d never leave their fur babies alone to be put down. One said, “Seeing my dog euthanized was one of the worst experiences of my life, but I would never have made her go through that alone. People don’t deserve dogs; they are too good for us.”
Most fur parents can’t imagine the possibility of leaving their fur baby alone to go through that. After all, you wouldn’t leave another beloved family member alone in their final moments, if you could help it. In fact, the majority of pet owners struggle to leave their pets. This applies to when they go out of town, or even to run errands for the day.
Last year, as post- pandemic life began to find a new sense of normalcy, many who had been working remotely, were called back to full time at the office. One Reddit user posed the question, “How would you feel about leaving your pet alone again for 8 hours a day?” One responded with, “Not doing it. If I were obliged to return to office, I’d find a new job.”
Another shared, that although they don’t have another option, all seems to be fine. “I don’t like leaving my dog alone while I go out to work, but I can’t afford to take her to a kennel every day. It costs a fortune. She’s quite content on her own anyhow. I once attached a GoPro to her to see what she gets up to while I am out. Any guesses? She sleeps all day.” they explained. Someone else said, “I can do it now that my nephew has moved in. Aside from this, she and I are joined at the hip and wherever I go she goes.”
All 3 responses, while completely different, show that no matter the circumstances, they all prioritize the well-being and happiness of their pets. Another Redditor asked the same question but specifically regarding during euthanasia. Again, many responses expressed a deep sense of compassion, encouraging fur parents to stay with their babies in their final moments.
Getting to the Root of Why
The debate isn’t new and in 2018, someone sparked conversation, empathizing with Veterinarians who are left with pets whose parents were otherwise absent. Most often, veterinarians become so, because they love animals and the idea of helping to care for them. However, many would agree the hardest part of their job, is when it’s time to put an animal down. Especially when that animal is frantically looking for their family, or any sense of familiarity and comfort. The following year, 2019, Psychology Today issued an article tackling some reasons that parents may not be present during those final hours.
We all have differing personalities, so the way in which we handle challenges also differ. Therefore, we don’t know everything they’re dealing with. Most likely, they handled things the best way they knew how, even if e don’t agree with their choices. It’s important to be understanding of people’s specific needs and struggles. In contrast, many would argue if you can’t be there, then don’t have a pet. Pets are living beings and require a lot of care and responsibility. Although some are just fine with a little independence, they still need love and comfort, just like we do.
- “Vet issues emotional advice to pet-owners putting their animals down.” Tyla. Ben Thompson. April 5, 2023.