#432: A Decision I Do Not Want To Make
Monday, November 29, 2010
I do not post blogs merely for the Spark points. Nor do I beg people to read what I write through Friend Feed updates and Huddle messages. I write when I feel moved to share experiences, memories or thoughts that I hope will be inspiring and encouraging to those who choose to read them.
Sometimes, though, the message is a sad one and one I need to explore more for myself than for anyone else. A form of release, I suppose. This is one of those times.
I do not enjoy playing God, deciding what life must be spared and which one should be taken. I hate having to make that decision, but I do it. We all likely do when we spray Raid on a roach or sprinkle pesticide granules on fire ant hills. And we do these things without expressing a second thought about our actions and without thinking of the insect lives we terminate.
So why is it so much more difficult and emotional to take the same action with animal lives like cats, dogs, birds, horses and others? Is having them as pets the difference? Is it because we can interact with a higher species that can return the love we show them?
Many of us have had to undergo the unpleasant experience of deciding when a treasured animal's quality of life has eroded, some of us many times. It never gets easier and is, I believe, one of the most difficult decisions we will ever need to make.
Do we hold on as long as we can because we are selfish and want more time together with them? As long as the animal is responsive, how long do we hold off on making the decision to stop their life? How do we always know when it is time?
Once again I am faced with this task. I thought today would be the day but it is raining and I want to prepare a burial site for Kitty who has been sick these past two weeks. So maybe tomorrow. I know she can not be happy with the I.V.s of fluids and antibiotics she has received or the needle sticks for blood samples. And I am convinced she is at the end. She won't eat or drink and is lethargic but she still responds with wide open eyes when I call her name and hold her. So why is making this decision so difficult? I've talked with the vet who has prepared me and I know it is the right thing to do for Kitty.
But I hate having to be the one to make this decision. Then, I think, isn't this part of being a mature adult and responsible pet owner? Is there such a thing as too much compassion in instances like this? Several times in the past these decisions were made for me when a valued pet just didn't make it through the night. But there have also been times when I had to trust the vet's judgment.
No, these things never get any easier. I hate playing God and would not want the job of being God. But I am the one who rescued Kitty from a life as a stray on the street and I am the one to have to decide when the time is right, for both of us.
It has been emotionally draining the last few days. I have shed thousands of tears and had many talks with Kitty as I looked into her eyes hoping she could tell me it will be okay. The other pets, especially the dogs, sense my turmoil and sadness and have offered their comfort. Now I know I must show that same concern for Kitty, just as I will for the remaining two cats and the dogs one day.
Some people will say, "But she's only a cat. What's the big deal?"
But those of you who are or have been pet owners will understand the anguish such a time causes. I know you will not deride me for expressing my emotions about this.
And I know you will understand why I now have to go and cry and hold Kitty again on our last night together.