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Re: Sick Dog
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Sick Dog

When I was young and so much smarter than I am today, I would 'dispatch' people's animals for them. Growing up in rural America, I understood the necessity of slaughtering food, and putting animals down to end their suffering. "City folks" - as a rule - don't get that training and associated understanding.

The very first dog I put down belonged to a co-worker. If ever there was a dog that both needed putting down, AND should have made it easy to do, this was that dog. It was the ugliest dog I have EVER seen. Some small 'trap bait' thing that was one of those misshapen, bug-eyed, hideous-looking things that even at their best are just butt-ugly. On top of that, it was mangy, missing large patches of hair, tumorous, and wheezing. Like I said, should have been an easy chore. It wasn't. It was an experience I won't forget unless I get Alzheimer's.

If I remember correctly, I was asked by the owner of the above dog something like: "You're a hunter, right? You have guns, right? Could you put my dog down?" That's one of the 'finer points' that non-Hunters simply can NOT understand. Namely, that Hunting is not "killing". Human language doesn't offer the proper terminology to separate the death that is part and parcel of Hunting, and "killing". There's a difference that non-hunters will never understand.

That was the last time I performed that service for anyone else. For a dog. However, I had friends that raised all sorts of animals like chickens, and rabbits, and other "farm" animals as a hobby, that couldn't bring themselves to dispatch their animals when the time came. They would bring their critters to me to do the unpleasant work. I did, mostly as a favor to my friends, and because I knew that otherwise they wouldn't do it, or they would get 'legged up' (as Alain would say) by a vet. After a while, I quit performing that service. For a couple of reasons: 1) I didn't like it. I think it 'bruised' my soul. 2) I realized that I was actually depriving them of an important 'lesson' about life. At some point, a person needs to 'grow up' with respect to the responsibilities of LIFE. Sadness for death is 'good' and 'right'. But so is taking on the responsibilities of being an adult that owns an animal.

This of course raises the question of euthanasia in humans. AKA "death with dignity". Just as the death associated with Hunting is different than "killing" animals, so do I believe that dispatching an animal that NEEDS putting down, is different than "death with dignity" for a human being. I was discussing "living wills" and "do not resuscitate" orders with a co-worker. I had made the comment something like "I don't want them to pull the plug on me if I can't make the decision, but I don't want them to make "extraordinary" effort, (heart-lung machine with no brain-waves, for example), just to keep me "alive". We then got to the point about who makes the decision, and my friend made a comment that I remember to this day. He said; "I don't want any of my family members to HAVE to make that decision." I gave him a 'look' and said, "You want some cold, calculating, member of the medical profession to decide if you live or die?" He said, "Yes. And here's why: I don't want to put one of my immediate family members in the horrible position of having to make a life-and-death decision about one of their loved ones." I mentally put myself in that position, and realized the wisdom of his perspective. He qualified his point of view by saying that the decision-maker wouldn't be some random doctor, but a well-trusted professional with whom this was discussed in full, long before this event might pose itself. That all made sense to me, and I have made similar provisions.

Here's the point: While you and I would not 'pass off' the unpleasantness of putting one of our beloved animals down to some vet in a cold, 'foreign' clinic, I would, and have, taken that burden off of my immediate family members because I don't want them to suffer with making AND HAVING MADE, that decision.

LIFE is not 'simple'. Many of the important decisions of our lives are not "black and white". Some we have to make are tough, and the choices are gray (or grey in the UK), and often change with changing circumstances.

I have few pictures of Baron. I will try to find one to scan.

Paul
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