CHOICES WITH OLDER DOGS AND RESCUE
Tuesday, June 19 2012 @ 06:29 PM EDT
Contributed by: Admin
Today we were confronted with a unique situation that needs to be discussed so as to prevent this from happening again.
The situation is that we had inadvertently taken in an 11 year old GSD with a set of serious (yet not life-threatening) problems. These issues so adversely affect the dogs quality of life that the only humane thing to do is to have him put to sleep. We have to deal with all sorts of issues as a rescue. We try to be compassionate at all times, even in the face of adversity. In all cases every dog we have here at the house enters our hearts in a profound way. We immediately begin to care about the animal. Even knowing the eventual outcome of this situation, we are heartbroken for this beautiful dog. Yes, I do wish to avoid the agony I personally feel with these types of decisions. I question are they our decisions to make.
No one can know how hard it is to say good-bye to a best friend unless it has happened to you. No one can imagine the sinking feeling you get when the decision is made and the act is performed. The sense of helplessness and the sense of loss is overwhelming. It tears at your heart and remains in your mind for a lifetime. It seems that we see tragedy all of the time because of the rescue we run. However, on the other side we see far more successes and that is what energizes us to continue on in the face of more possible adversity. Every dog lost is a piece out of our hearts. Death is at times a blessing; even though it is really hard to accept., We know too well that we must look out for the best interests of the animals we take in and not let our love for them interfere with making the right decision for them.
When turning in a dog that is in the last stages of his life, the owner must consider what is best for the animal and what can and cannot be done to help the dog. As long as the animal is in good health when turned in, the prognosis for re-homing is good. When the dog is in terrible condition, the best that can be done is to keep the animal comfortable. In any event, one must consider the quality of life the animal can have. While there are many conditions that can be easily treated which will make the animal comfortable for all his remaining days, some conditions or the combination of all aliments, preclude most new adopters from taking on this daunting task. Animals that are very sick, or who are in constant pain and have no positive prognosis for recovery or improvement, need to be considered unadoptable through rescue. If such a situation arises we believe the first choice should be to medically treat the animal yourself until you have exhausted your monetary options and health care options. To try to rehome him with a relative or someone who has loved the animal for its lifetime and who can assist in caring for him. Your last resort should be to try and put him in rescue since the chances of adoption are poor or probably non-existent. No one can or will be able to afford to treat him in the same manner you would. We believe it is unfair to the pet to put him through that form of additional trauma at this late stage in his life. The humane thing to do in these cases, short of rehoming him to a friend or family member, is to consider putting him to sleep humanely and with the dignity he deserves. It is the owner’s obligation to assume the role of decision maker and not that of the rescue. It is the owner and his best friend’s job to consider what is best for the animal and act accordingly. To be a true friend there are times that these hard decisions must be made in the best interest of your companion. Please do not leave it to others to decide what is best for you and your dog.