Scima is an old dog.
She’s lived a good life and had many health issues. She now seems to have full hip dysplasia and really can’t walk much on her own or even squat to relieve herself.
As I looked at her last night, wondering if she’d wake in the morning, I thought of all the other pets I’ve lost over the years and realized that most had not just failed to wake up one morning. Most of the pets I had through childhood had some sort of illness that the vet treated as long as we could and when we felt that our pet’s life was nothing but pain and suffering or a vegetative state on pain medicine, we let the vet end that pet’s life with as much dignity and remaining joy in life as possible. It was always a hard decision and it was never made lightly.
Animals can’t communicate their desires to end their lives other than to stop eating, which is what Scima did this weekend, but Sunday night, she did eat a bit of chicken, so maybe she still has hope. I never want to keep an animal alive in an unhappy state just for my own enjoyment of that animal. That would just not be fair. We will see how the week progresses with Scima, but looking at her and thinking these things made me think that we, as a society condone and support putting pets to sleep that are infirm and who cannot make that decision themselves, but yet, we deny people, who can make that decision the same right.
If Scima were a person and she told the doctors that she had made her peace with the world and she was suffering too much to continue, she could not get relief from her doctor. She could sign a living will so that she would not be resuscitated and other actions would not be performed to keep her alive, but if she wanted to die, she would have to resort to the same method a dog would use. She would have to stop eating.
These are my own thoughts, what are yours?