Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ailing Pet Health And The Process Of Dying

Here's a photo of our backyard rabbit, whom my husband named Oscar. I took this picture just last week and then, yesterday, Oscar suffered some sort of neurological malfunction. He now holds his head sideways and looks like he's had a stroke.
I called the vet right away and they told me what no fur-baby's parent ever wants to hear: "You need to bring him in to be euthanized." "It's the humane thing to do." (I heard even more such pat phrases that veterinary offices tell pet owners at such times; when their pets develop a neurological problem.)

That sort of feedback really made me marvel because it's such a stark contrast to what medical doctors say when they treat humans with similar medical conditions. My poor mother-in-law, for instance, has been suffering strokes for more than five years now. She has been infirmed for so long, she cannot feed herself, eliminate properly or fully digest food. She has deteriorated so much she now weighs 50 pounds. Yet NOBODY is saying it's inhumane to keep her alive.

So I questioned the idea that allowing Oscar to die naturally, on his own time, providing he's not in pain, was "inhumane." I began to realize that Oscar's care, and how he will spend his last moments of this life, are completely up to me. I decided that since he's eating, drinking water and doesn't show any signs of emotional distress or pain that I would not feel compelled to exert 'humane" intervention.

That means that every time I go out to his kennel, which is multiple times during the day, I'm feeling dread about what I might possibly find. My emotional pain causes me to wonder if we tend to euthanize our pets when they're hurt because caring for someone with compromised health feels horribly uncomfortable for US (as pet owners). I wonder: are we merely euthanizing the aged beasts for our own convenience and calling it "humane?"

So this morning, when I first checked on Oscar, you can imagine I felt incredibly, euphorically, surprised. He was up and hopping about his kennel. He was eating alfalfa quite animatedly, chewing very fast like a healthy rabbit, except he was holding his head to the side.

At other times when I've gone out to be with him he's just been laying in his favorite spot. He's not holding up his head like he normally would do. He's completely resting into the white shavings that make his bed. So I pet him, and he leans against my hands as though the massage feels ridiculously comforting.

Tonight I even administered Reiki (a hands-on comforting energy) and I sang to Oscar. The only song I could think of to sing was this one: (see YouTube video: May The Circle Be Opened) 

I have sung this music so many times in the past. Yet at no time have the words: "Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again" ever moved me so deeply. "May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart."

This is my wish for Oscar -- while he spends his last days in my care. May he have no doubt that he was deeply, completely, unselfishly loved. Blessed be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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