Euthanasia: An Act of Love

Death was seen by Shakespeare to be a natural end of life, an event timed by destiny.

“It seems most strange to me that men should fear, seeing that death is a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

Today, law and technology make the timing of death by euthanasia, a matter of choice, at least for our pets.

It is a painful act of love….but it is an act of love.

It is a personal, loving decision to end a life for which the quality of life has so deteriorated that the flame is not worth the candle.  It is a merciful decision to be made by the owner of the beloved pet and a veterinarian to end life with a lethal injection of an anaesthetic.

It takes courage to assume that last obligation, that last responsibility to one who has given us love, and to ease passage into the next life without suffering.

No one who has done this will deny the agony of the decision, the pain of following through with that decision, and the feelings associated with having done it.  A feeling of guilt, and a sense of having “played God”, is inevitable.

How do we deal with this?

First of all, we accept death to be an inevitable end of life, and  believe that life continues in some form.

Second, we accept that euthanasia is a matter of freedom of choice regarding the timing of that event.

Third, we accept the responsibility to assess the circumstances which dictate when this event should take place…..and accept the obligation of making that judgement.

Fourth, we take comfort in having been able to be merciful to one we loved…..that we could fulfill that last obligation to a life that loved us….that we could assume the pain of a loving act of mercy in exchange for the suffering a loved-one is spared by this act of mercy.

Finally, it is when we realize that we have fulfilled the responsibility of love, that we are liberated from our grief and any guilt feelings which may be associated with it.

Harthaven provides a home euthanasia service by arrangement.  The pet is euthanized by a licensed veterinarian.  The remains are removed from the home with all the dignity and respect an old friend deserves, and are transported to our crematory for cremation so that the ashes can be kept, buried or scattered.