I understand that it is supposed to be “humane”, by being quick and painless.
Still, after 16-plus years of loving companionship, I took great pains to give her the best quality end of life. I wanted her to leave feeling so loved and peaceful. She was such a dignified dog. She rarely ever whimpered in her entire life. She was a strong, quiet presence with a sweetly quirky personality. Through 37 months of living with a cancerous tumor on her leg, I only heard her cry once or twice, and that was in the last few days of her life, when it had become so burdensome.
For all the tender care, and surrounding her with calm and peace, in her last moments she was frightened. They used an electric razor to shave some fur off her leg. That freaked her out. I was clearly painful when the needle went in.
Yes, in moment which came too fast, the phenobarbital flooded her brain. Her body relaxed and she was gone before we could even realize it. But, her last moments of consciousness were filled with fear. That will haunt me, always. It shouldn’t have to be that way. There should be a way that we can send them off peacefully, at home.
If I did not live in a city, I would have preferred to stay outside with her until she died naturally. In her last 24 hours she was not able to walk more than a step without collapsing. This meant she couldn’t manage urination and bowel movements. We live in a second floor apartment. She was too large for me to carry down the stairs. All of these factors led to the decision that we had to euthanize her. In the end, we weren’t able to provide her the surroundings she needed to die with same dignity she lived with.
I don’t want to be angry with myself over this. I did the best for Pachamama that I could. We had a marvelous relationship. I know that she felt loved and tended to. I do want to recognize that that was no proper way to end such a magnificent creature’s life. I won’t do that again. Given my health and life circumstances, it is unlikely that I will have another dog in my life. Never say never, though. One thing is for sure. Before I would even be willing to consider living with another animal, I want to know of a better way to manage the end of life. There simply has to be a better way.
Goodbye, Pachamama. I’m so sorry for those last moments. Please forgive me and let your spirit wander the universe in peace.