Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Friday, February 12, 2016

#Hard #Questions, #Harder #Decisions

Hey Everyone!!

Today, I'm going to tackle a difficult topic.  In fact, this post is about the hardest question people ask me about pet care, how to know when it's time to end a pet's suffering.  As you can imagine, it's a question that is fraught with emotional landmines and ethical conundrums.

Anyone who has ever had a pet who was struggling with the effects of disease and/or old age knows that questions like this come from a place of love.  Most people don't look at euthanasia as a solution unless they know their beloved family member is in pain.  Unfortunately, it's not always easy to know when it's the right solution even when your only concern is your pet's best interests.

I've found that, oftentimes, when I ask a vet this question their answer is some version of "you'll know when it's time."  At first blush, it seems like a rather glib answer, especially considering how emotionally charged the subject is.  But, honestly, I really think it's the only answer that's possible to give when dealing with generalities.

When people ask me this question, what I usually tell them is to take their pet to a vet they trust and listen to what that vet tells them.  It's hard.  It's human to want to hear the information doctors give us through a filter of what we want that information to be.  With pets, the difficulty is often further compounded by the fact that most animals are extremely skilled at concealing just how much pain they're in.  But in the case of having to make end of life decisions for our loved ones, it's really important to put wishful thinking and filters aside and hear what the expert you are consulting is telling you.

Listen to the options your vet lays out and weigh them against what you know about your pet.  Then, with that in mind, make the best decision you can for your baby.  You know your pet better than anyone else, which means you're in the best position to know what they would want.  It's not easy, not at all.  This question is the hardest one that pet parents face.  It requires the kind of selfless love that will break your heart.  But it's the last gift you can give your pet, and, in some cases, it's one you owe them.

One thing to keep in mind, the grief and guilt you feel in these situations is normal.  There are pet loss support groups online and in many communities.  Two websites with more information on dealing with the grief that comes from losing a pet are http://www.pet-loss.net/ and http://www.petloss.com/.  You can also contact your local animal shelters, many of them have information on support groups in the area.

I know this was a tough one today, folks, but I thought it was important.  And to all of those who are dealing with this kind of grief, *hugs!* You're not alone.

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