My Pet World: Making a difficult decision a little easier

June 14, 2011|By Steve Dale

Question: You recently suggested the Kevorkianizing (referring to the late Jack Kevorkian) of a dog, telling the owner of an old dog to supersede God's wishes and kill his own pet. Worse yet, you revealed that you'd recently killed your own dog.

How could you? I have four cats, and two are over 17. One cat suffers from kidney disease and has some very bad days. When it's her time, it will be her time. I'm not going to kill my beloved friend and call it euthanasia. — V.J., Nashville, TN

Answer: Euthanasia comes from the Greek, literally meaning a good death without fear, stress or pain.

You're attempting to make euthanasia a religious issue. I don't believe any religion supports the notion of undue suffering. When suffering can no longer be alleviated, I believe it's humane to end that suffering.


The trick is to know when to make that decision, and it's a very personal one. To a degree, there's no right or wrong time. However, many veterinarians can report instances of clients who held on far too long. It does take courage to let go of a beloved pet. Sometimes, seeking the viewpoint of an unbiased third party, such as a vet, can help a pet owner decide about euthanasia.

There's also a new concept called pet hospice, or Pawspice, which is about creating a timeline with your vet to insure that your pet's last days, weeks, or months are as pain free and pleasant as possible. Learn more at

No person has a better friend in life than a dog or cat. Friends are about giving of themselves, which our pets do every day for us. We're not as good at that, but we do have one last chance to be selfless and to do what's best for our best friends in their final days.

Q: Our year-old Maltese/Shih Tzu is in the habit of licking everything, from clothes to people to furniture; it's hard to get her to stop. Why does she do this? — B.R., Easton, Pa.

Q: Emma must have OCD because all she does is lick her paws. When not licking herself, our 6-year-old Labrador licks anything -- the floor, food bowls, toys. I take her for a walk every day, and she has toys in the yard. How can I stop the licking? — C.D., Old Town, Me.

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