Archive for the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ Category

Saying Good-bye with Dignity

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Recently, I have covered topics for pets ranging from saying good-bye, to determining quality of life and including pets in estate planning. I will conclude with the idea of Hospice Care for your pet. Currently, there are no Hospice Care Centers in our area. However, one day that will most likely change.

It’s never easy to let go of a loved one, whether they have two legs or four. Pet owners often console themselves by saying they are “easing their pet’s misery” when they ask for euthanasia after diagnosis of a terminal illness. But, are these “premature euthanasias” good for the whole pet family?

Ending a human life is not legal, so people with terminal illnesses and less than 6 months to live often enter hospice care. This relatively recent development in medicine focuses on the comfort of the patient and less on heroic medical or surgical measures. In other words, caregivers put the patient’s comfort first, not an attempt at any type of cure. Another important aspect of hospice care is that the whole family is included. Relatives and friends can say good-bye in peace rather than sitting in hospital lobbies or crowded waiting rooms.

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Quality of Life for our Four-Legged Friends

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Our pets have solidified their place in our hearts and home. It is not uncommon to call a friend’s house and hear pet’s names are on the answering machine. During the holiday season, cards come with the pet’s name listed and many of us buy gifts for our beloved family members. Bottom line, we care for our pets as treasured members of our family. But, when the end of life approaches, how do we make our decision? How do we know when to should say good-bye?

Recently, I was driving home when our answering service sent a message to me. I pulled to the side of the road, and called the daughter of a client of ours. The conversation lasted approximately 30 minutes and the same question kept coming up over and over. Her mom had been bringing their Dalmatian to us for many years and she had become ill. After weeks of diagnostics and failed treatments, she asked me the most common question I receive when it appears a pet is at the final stages of their life. “Dr. Hurley, how will my mother and I know when it is time to say good-bye?”

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