It's not insane because no one can legitimately or accurately tell another how to love or rank their loves for various people, or people vs. animals.
Originally Posted by Calamber
IMO, the one huge difference between the effects of considering euthanasia for people versus animals is that people can *know* that others are considering this and animals do not. That adds the dimension of horror that we feel about placing an animal's need before a human being's need. To know that your life would be paid in order to save a cat (or even another person) strikes us as abhorrent because none of us would like to find ourselves in the position of the sacrificial lamb.
Again, the point is to treat all well according to their perception of good treatment. If I am right about animals not knowing that we talk about killing them, then we have a different obligation to them than we do to people who "get it".
But man, oh, man we have done badly by some suffering people in the name of the sanctity of human life. We have gone so far as to label suicidal people insane by virtue of their wanting to die, thus depriving them of autonomy over their own experience. Oh, and we ration health care as well... de facto agreeing that those without the ability to pay enjoy less freedom over the pursuit of life than do those who can pay.
I don't think we can call ourselves perfectly moral.
DH and screwed up once. We were too selfish to let the old dog go. Then one day right after closing time for all the vets around here, he crashed hard. Fortunately one vet said "I'll meet you at the office". Never again. I'm now a firm believer in "Better a month too soon than a minute too late".
i don' know that it is being selfish.... i think it is more about love of the animal.... you love them so much you don't want for them to not be anymore...... or - maybe that is my perception.... because i too waited too long for a cat that had been with me for almost 20 years.... and instead of him dying at home, he had to die at the vets.
but each time i made the appt, i canceled because he looked fine the next day and i thought it would not be fair to him to euthanize him before his time.
fwiw, i am also a vegetarian and don't kill animals in general so maybe that is part of the puzzle too.
I think something exceedingly important to remember is that animals live in the now, and people are capable of seeing the future. While a person might be willing to endure pain for a possible "better" time going forward, all animals know is that life is hell RIGHT NOW.
Animals also don't "give up" until they're pretty damned sure they're going to die, and that point is very, very far down the "life is terrible path", IMO.
It is far better to let them go when they still feel okay, when the tail still wags and when they're still willing to eat then to let them languish and suffer until they want nothing other than death.
This is something we can do for our pets, whether they are equines, canines, felines or some other species. A peaceful end is a GIFT and not something to be squandered.
EVERY time I have let one of mine "tell" me when it's time, I have deeply regretted the decision to let them go so far, and always felt I should have let them go earlier. It still weighs on me, and I try to be very, very careful now to not let those mistakes happen again.
Originally Posted by Simkie
Ok I get it now :)
If we are talking philosophy, my persuasion is deontological.
But regarding Otto, I would have done the same thing if I could have afforded too. My Rottie got bone cancer, in her rib, I would have gone into debt to have saved her. She was a fighter, she had a lot of try, I was willing to keep going so long as she was fighting. I can't even begin to explain what a wonderful dog she was, and how much she meant to me. But her cancer had no good options, and anything I could have done for her would have been futile. I kept her as comfortable as possible, with a good quality of life, until the day came when she told me she would like to be done, and then I put her down.
My other dog wasn't a fighter. She was kinda like a whiny old woman. I did love her though :) By the age of 15 she had developed some problems that were taking their toll on her, and one day I realized that she just wasn't having any fun anymore. I put her down the next week.
In both instances I did what was right for the individual dog. Its hard to come up with blanket statements about what should or should not be done, because each situation and each animal is different. My bottom line is to do what's right for the animal. Sometimes that's treatment, sometimes its euthanasia.
For me it's a question of whether or not they will get better/recover. We're facing that with out 11 year old Golden Retriever, who is my heart. At age 10, she tore her ACL. Over $3,500 to repair it and almost a certainty that the other one will tear in 18-24 months. We are rapidly approaching the 18 month mark. So, do we put another $3,500 into a dog who's lifetime might be only another year or two? At this point, I would definitely do that. She is so healthy and *young*.
Then there was DD's horse that was arthritic, age mid-20s. Still getting up and down, although with difficulty. He won't get younger, he won't get less arthritic, he won't be more rideable. She opted to put down a *healthy* horse before he became so painful that he was having even more difficulty. When is suffering enough? How much is too much? Why must they go until they can't go on any further?
I know if my Golden girl couldn't run, share my plate or pee on her own she would be devastated. I won't let it get that far. Not for the sake of a few more months FOR ME.
I think so, too. Yes, animals have a threshold of pain and/or time spent in it that they cross and then wish for some kind of escape. I don't know if they wish for death, but they wish for "anywhere but here and more of this."
Originally Posted by Simkie
I also think that animals are presentist, generally hopeful and stoic. By the time you see one say "uncle" in an unequivocal way, its suffering pretty bad.
I do think that the people who have walked-the-walk of waiting too long have an experience that we should respect. It teaches a great deal. No need to reinvent the wheel at considerable expense to more animals and people.
One thing that can help those of us on the fence about "is it his time?" is to make the question less of a big deal. E.g. There should be moral value in trying to prevent suffering that rivals the also-good effort to find that magic "and now is the time for the animal to die" moment.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts. Purely coincidentally, not synchronistically, I think, Otto's vet recommended I take him to the NCSU Vet School this morning for an ultrasound rather than to wait a week for the clinic's visiting ultrasound person to return. I never get out of the place for much less than five hundred bucks, usually more than double. :( Otto has been off his feed, not quite himself, and some of his blood work values (consequently, or for the same reasons?) are noticeably off. Liver, kidney and pancreas assessment is the goal. We shall see what we shall see. As usual, I feel sorry for the 4th year vet student who will be expected to read his 1-1/2" thick chart upon intake.
What is insane is the belief that the only difference between a person and an animal is that the animal cannot know that it is going to die? That, my friend is equally as nuts as the person who said that she would not sacrifice a baboon to save her grandmother, or the OP who said that he sees his love for his cat the same or perhaps greater than for his mother (who may or may not deserve the love), is not the issue. All of this stems from a deeper purpose of those propagandists who believe the world over populated and that the real "carrying capacity" of the earth is 1 billion not 7 billion, rather than than we have allowed huge areas of the earth to become arid (the desert is spreading). The depraved ones say, see what mankind is "doing" to the earth, instead of "hey, Houston, we have a problem, let's build a beautiful water project and green the desert"! Progress is not the evil, the antithesis of progress, the hatred of mankind is.
The real difference in the way of thinking of ourselves as the "higher" order animal is what left us in this unreal predicament where many people these days really do not have much purpose in life than the average sheep. One fine day we will reemerge as an evolved human species who knows that the real difference between humans and animals is that we can use fire. The propagandists for the moral differences between humans and animals are that animals are kind, give undivided love for one, a spiritual compact that we have lost, etc. have lost their moral bearings entirely. We are in a spiral of a Dark Age, we can emerge on the other side of a new paradigm for mankind where we see that as we deteriorate we become beastial, ie imitate the beasts in the law of tooth and fang so beset on us by the collapsing moral, economic and absolutely untethered immorality so prevalent today. Why else would all of those idiots in Congress demand massive austerity to bail out the very financial institutions that created an out of control debt spiral, debt contracted, by the way, not to build dams, water projects, high speed trains (we do not have one mile of track laid here in this country for this), or to figure out how to prevent great big meteors from wiping us out like the DoDo birds or the dinosaurs. If we behave like beasts, we will go the way of the beasts.
Good lord, Calamber, what are you going off on now? What are you even TALKING about?
Adamantane, I hope all goes well at the vet school. Fingers crossed for you and Otto.
Boy oh boy wasn't that an interesting stream of consciousness.....
I completely agree with the above.
Originally Posted by HungarianHippo
Ever since I worked for a retired breeder, and had to deal, DAILY, with the results of her refusal to euthanize a horse as long as it could stand (I kid you not), I've felt pretty strongly that it is utterly unethical to prolong an animal's demise just because of our attachment to them. And that it's important to remember that BECAUSE of the strength of that attachment, we as owners aren't always the most qualified to make that decision alone.
I think that often we say that we "know" the animal "isn't ready to give up" when in reality, it's the owner who can't psychologically give up on whatever it is that animal represents to them.
And that, in my opinion, boils down to egotism and self-centeredness.
As I sit here reading, my hand is stroking the Dobes head. He's not only a here and now dog. He knows when dinner is due. He knows a routine. He knows when we're packing to leave on a trip. He knows when we're in pain.
Yet that said, It's our responsibilty to care for them. We provide food, companionship, their everything in return for their company. Those provisions include care that relieves pain & suffering at the end of their time with us. Waiting till they can't eat or drink isn't a kindness.
We take the pain of the leaving to spare them pain & indignity. In most partings, the hardest portion falls to those left behind.
Originally Posted by Adamantane
To me that amount is unthinkable to spend on any animal. But it doesn't matter what I think in the way you spend your money. I would wonder a bit as to why you would put an animal through so much? Was it for his best or for you?
after some reflection I have deleted this comment I made last night because in the light of day I figure it's none of my business. OP just do what you feel you need to do for that dog. I hope you will check in with friends and vets regularly for their rec's, to make sure you can separate what you need from what the dog needs. .......
What? Who is crazy?
Originally Posted by Calamber
First, you got what I said wrong. What I said is that the "only" (read: significant for the purpose of this discussion) between humans and animal is NOT that animals don't have a sense of death. The difference is that animals cannot know we are talking about killing them or not while most conscious human beings can. My point was that knowing someone else would potentially end your life because you were perceived by them to be suffering or not worth the money/effort or whatever adds a layer of suffering that the animal cannot know.
I don't know what to say about the rest of it. As someone who works professionally in evolutionary biology, I just.don't.get the rest of what you say. I kinda/sorta understand how you got there, to that macro picture. But it's utterly unhelpful to identify the "problem" as being our species believing itself to the at the top of the scala naturae. That may or may not be true. (And the attribution makes no sense to most professional students of evolution). True or not, it may or may not change.
But even if it were true-- even if human beings enjoyed entirely too much control over other species-- that has nothing to say about whether we use that power to euthanize suffering animals or not. Furthermore, we consider it humane and not bestial at all to end needless suffering.
And you have me wrong as a "propagandist" for a rather wide agenda of stuff.
I wasn't real sure what you were referring to with your original post, but with your edits, I see there's just some confusion. The OP has a CAT that is ill. Not a dog. A Siamese named Otto.
Originally Posted by HungarianHippo
I think it depends on a lot of factors. Animal's age, prognosis, owner's financial position, etc. I have a different decision for each of my animals.
My 20+yo mare? I won't do a whole lot for her other than something inexpensive, keep her comfortable type things. When she can't be her redheaded boss mare self anymore, I'll put her down. (Note, I have her because she was my friend who died in a car accident's favorite mare. I am attached to her because she was his and she deserves a safe forever home, not because I'm attached to *her* if that makes sense. I like her. She's a good mare, but she definitely takes a back seat to my gelding.) She also would not be happy as a pasture pet only. She likes to work and is happy as a clam giving flat and jump lessons to beginners. She gets pissy and starts trying to eat everyone, horses and people, if she isn't in work. From past experience with minor injuries with her, she does not do terribly well with being a patient. She will not tolerate stall rest. She will not tolerate too much poking and prodding. She was pretty severely abused at one point in her life that I am aware of (I know the guy who bred her and we know where she was nearly all of her life). She definitely has some issues from that. So I would not do anything particularly heroic for her. She *is* a fighter, but isn't a good patient. At this point in her life, it just wouldn't be worth putting her through something major.
My gelding is only 8. I've had him since he was 3. He is my heart horse. I would go into debt (I don't have kids/family to think about here) to fix something fixable for him. He would be happy as a pasture pet the rest of his life if it came to that. I enjoy his company and his silly clown personality, even if I could never ride him again. If he was hurt/sick/whatever, but could be made okay enough to be happy and comfortable in a pasture, I'd keep him as a pet. He is one who will tolerate pretty much anything I ask of him, even if it is unpleasant or scary. He would do okay with a lengthy confinement/treatment of something. He's a tolerant, go with the flow sort. When he got gelded (required actual surgery as he was a cryptorchid), he wasn't bothered a bit by all the after care things I had to do.
My dog? On the fence. It depends what it is and if it would actually fix him, or just delay the inevitable. He's only 2, so if something would definitively fix him (ACL surgery kind of thing), I'd do it. If it was something like treating cancer and it may or may not work? I probably wouldn't. He wouldn't do well with a treatment like that.
There are a number of factors. Many of them personal.
Here are the primary factors for determining whether or not to euth in order of importance for ME:
1) comfort of pet and prognosis. Because our companion animals live in the now, if now sucks, life sucks. We can ask them to suffer through a bit when we have knowledge that the prognosis is good, but I don't think it's fair when the prognosis is not good.
2) Financial constraints. I think it's far better to euth when you can't afford to keep the pet comfortable or do what needs to be done (even with a GOOD prognosis) than to ask the pet to suffer just so we can have more time even though we can't DO anything.
In the last 14 mos alone, I've spent more on my dog's care than I spent on 2 years of college. I'm actually quite embarrassed about that. But he is my "kid", the prognosis was good and I had the finances and/or credit to do so. However, it's been a real struggle. For ME mostly because the side effects of things has meant that I am tied to the house and really can't be gone more than 3 hours, that i am constantly cleaning up poop or pee, that I am up every night at least twice to address things, that I am jumping through care hoops. It's hard on ME. But it seems to be going well for my pup. So that's what I'm doing.
I still believe that it's better a day too soon than a moment too late when it comes to euthanasia. After working with hospice/home health for awhile and being at the bedside of terminal patients, I wish that we could bestow a more peaceful ending for human beings like we can for animals.
A few years ago, we had a conversation like this one right here on COTH. I wrote a post which kind of turned into a poem and we ended up (as a group here on COTH) putting together a video--RiskAverse actually did the heavy lifting doing the video. But it's been shared by many and I think it is an accurate and relevant response to your post here.