One of the privileges we have as pet owners is the ability to spare them unnecessary suffering. Like most veterinarians, Dr. Issam Kadri hates euthanizing animals but will do it if the pet has reached its time. Here’s an account from one of our clients about her recent experience letting her beloved dog go to the rainbow bridge.
“Two weeks ago, we euthanized our Border Collie, Bandit. He was in his 13th year, which wasn’t bad for a big, 30-odd kg dog. He looked in fine shape physically, had all his teeth and wasn’t carrying extra weight. Until a few months ago, he’d been running around a school field each day for exercise and gave no sign of getting older. Recently, however, he’d been showing signs of stiffness and difficulty walking, he was more stressed than usual about thunderstorms and had started showing aggression towards people and other dogs. Within a matter of weeks, his hindquarters collapsed on the stairs and he wasn’t able to get up until a good half hour later, and had started getting so confused that he didn’t always seem to know where he was or who was around him.
Just before his collapse on the stairs, we had decided to let him go. We aren’t young or fit ourselves and couldn’t carry him if he collapsed in public, and his sister Nikita had become nervous around him after he went for her a couple of times thinking she was a strange dog. After discussing his health with Dr. Kadri I knew things weren’t going to get any better, but I still postponed it for about six weeks longer because I wasn’t ready to face doing the deed. I kept kidding myself that he was still having enough “good” days to justify sticking around. Until one day a neighbour mentioned that she thought he wasn’t going to make it to the door – that’s when I realized I was the only one believing that the days were still good. Shortly after that he had the fall on the stairs, and I knew it was time.
We made a date and a time and scheduled an appointment at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital. On Dr. Kadri’s advice we gave Bandit a mild tranquilizer an hour before the time. We took him for a burger (a walk was out of the question) and a drive while the tranquilizer worked. He loved riding in the car. I sat in the back with him. When we got to the clinic, Dr. Kadri came out to the car and injected him with a sedative. We sat with him for an hour until he drifted off and was completely sedated. Dr. Kadri carried him into the hospital and laid him on a clean blanket on the floor. He inserted a catheter into the vein and when we were ready, started to inject the medication slowly. I lay on the floor beside him, holding him and stroking him and whispering in his ear, until the syringe was empty and he crossed over.
I’ve gone through this before on several occasions over the years, and am struck each time by the enormous honour it is to be able to help our pets when the time arrives. This particular experience was exceptionally peaceful, and Bandit knew nothing except that he drifted off to sleep in the car he loved, with his family around him.
It’s been 17 days now since he went and I still see him around everywhere. Nikita has stopped looking for him but it’s going to take me longer to do so. Everything that happens reminds me of the 12-plus years we spent together. He was a wonderful, intelligent and loving dog and can never be replaced. I’m glad I had the courage to do what was necessary to give him rest and am thankful to Dr. Kadri and his team for their unwavering support, kindness and understanding.”
Have you had to let a beloved pet go to the rainbow bridge, and what was your experience like? Tell us in the comments and send us a photo of your pet for our gallery if you have one available.