In your column, the writer asked how pets feel about euthanasia. My experience was interesting. When the vet gave Munchkin the initial injection to numb her so she wouldn’t feel anything, she started kissing my husband and me.
We thought it was so strange, but in my heart, I knew she was saying, “Thank you. Thank you for releasing me. I love you!” She seemed so happy. It was comforting on a certain level, but still devastating. Her final moments were painless, and my husband and I held her and talked to her. We should all be so lucky.
— L.M., Naples, Fla.
I believe your letter underscores the importance of owners being present when their beloved animal companions are euthanized, either at the veterinary hospital or, ideally, at home in safe and familiar surroundings. Some pet owners are not emotionally up for this final responsibility, just as some veterinarians are leery about occasional adverse reactions to the euthanasia drugs in some animals, which can greatly upset owners in attendance. These vets don’t allow owners to witness the termination of life, which almost invariably is accomplished without incident.
We may never know if your little dog, like many others, was licking you to comfort you because she felt your distress and concern or because she knew that her time had come.
The transition to the afterlife or nonbeing was evidently without fear; I wish that for all creatures under our care. Someday, we may enjoy no less for ourselves, provided our culture evolves into one that is more compassionate and more accepting of death and euthanasia.
Dear Dr. Fox:
I am writing to get some advice and help dealing with my cat, Timothy.
Ever since my daughter left for college in August, Timothy has become very aggressive during mealtime. If I put food in his bowl and then try to touch his bowl, he growls and attacks my hand. While he eats, he growls until his food is gone.