If I should ever leave you whom I love To go along the Silent Way, Grieve not, Nor speak of me with tears, But laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you there. ( I’d come – I’d come, could I but find a way! But would not tears and grief be barriers? ) And when you …
By Richard Lee Barz Dedicated to my sister, Lucinda Clark & “Harley” There is a chair in a hallway that is long and sits by my heart. Upon that chair there sits my pets. Every so often the chair is empty with the passing of my pets. In these instances my soul sits on the chair grieving for …
I explained to St. Peter,
I’d rather stay here,
Outside the pearly gate.
I won’t be a nuisance,
I won’t even bark,
I’ll be very patient and wait.
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much, if I went in alone.
It wouldn’t be heaven for me.
I think that there can never be a toy poodle like Shotzi.
As laid back as he could be, and tons of personality.
On Christmas Eve he passed away.
There was no joy on that day.
But I thank the Lord above, for giving me this puppy’s love.
I’m going to miss this little guy, Yes, it’s true grown men do cry.
At the rainbow bridge I hope he’ll be, Waiting patiently for me.
And in heaven we can be, together for eternity.
William C. Sedberry
Last week while working at the Humane Society of Sedona, a woman approached the counter. She looked upset, and asked “How do you know when it is time to put an animal down”? I could tell this was difficult for her. We went to my office, and I listened while she talked about her 14 year old companion, who was experiencing medical issues.
I recall writing about this in a Paw Prints column, and thought it would be appropriate to repeat it. When the time comes, we’d all like for our animal companions to die peacefully in their sleep without pain or intervention. Few animals are so lucky.
A friend of mine recently lost her best friend. She is very aware of how painful it is to face the end of a beloved pet’s life. Thinking about the unthinkable before being faced with it can make a difficult time a little bit easier.
Euthanasia is the Greek word for “easy death”. The subject is anything but easy though, and pet guardians approach it in a variety of ways. Some pet parents are opposed to euthanasia because of religious or other beliefs. Others may request euthanasia as a matter of convenience.
The latter is a disheartening occurrence and an ethical dilemma. Veterinarians, as well as shelters, may refuse to perform euthanasia when it is not medically warranted. People whose pets have lengthy or terminal illnesses struggle to make the best decision.
Can their pet be treated? If so, to what degree? Will treatment significantly extend the companion animal’s life span or improve the quality of life left? Is it time to consider euthanasia?
These guardians are aware that if their pet will never get better it may be a kindness to spare him the suffering of a lingering illness. Veterinarians realize euthanization prevents suffering at the end of life. Euthanasia can be a blessing for some animals.
It is agonizing to care for dying animals for which this option is not being considered. Despite a vet’s best effort, these pets suffer to some degree. How and when should we decide to humanely end the life of an animal we love? To avoid this decision to animals who have given us so much is selfish. The decision has to be made with the animal in mind.
It is important not to wait too long and allow the animal to be in pain. It’s a fine and difficult line to walk, and the answer and timing will be unique to each family. It a pet is in obvious distress, having difficulty breathing, untreatable arthritic pain or intractable vomiting or diarrhea, the decision is easier. Other signs of suffering can be more subtle.
Generally speaking, if a pet engages in certain activities some quality of life remains. These include interest in food and surroundings, attention to grooming, interaction with familiar people and animals and ability to eliminate without becoming soiled.
Other factors need to be considered. The end of a pet’s life can involve enormous investments of time, money and nursing care. Depending on circumstances, these burdens can put tremendous strain on a family.
Euthanasia offers a human alternative to allowing a pet to deteriorate untreated. Before you are faced with a need to make a final decision, talk with your vet about any questions you may have. He will explain the actual procedure that is used and the options in our area for taking care of the body afterwards.
A question that a guardian should ask is whether or not to be present with your pet when it is euthanized. There is no right answer. If seeing your pet die would upset you terribly, it may be best that your last memories of your furry companion be of him alive. Our humans emotions are communicated to our pets and could upset them. If you feel your presence might offer him comfort, then you might prefer to be there.
Many of us are unprepared for the depth of our grief when out pets die. Yet grief is a normal response to the loss of a relationship in which so much love has been enjoyed. Your grief is for a unique and irreplaceable friend with whom you shared a deeply personal relationship on a daily basis. The most difficult grief is that which is borne alone. Speak with an understanding friend who will listen and understand.
The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak, and pain should keep me from my sleep
Then will you do what must be done, for this, the last battle can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand, but don’t let grief stay your hand
For on this day, more than the rest, your love and friendship must stand
We have had so many happy years; you wouldn’t want me to suffer so. When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend, only stay with me till the end. And hold me firm and speak to me until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree it is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved, from pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you who has to decide this thing to do. We’ve been so close, we two, these years, don’t let your heart hold any tears.
What about the future? Remember you are vulnerable at this time. Avoid making important decision, and don’t well-meaning supporters get a new pet for you. You will know when the time is right to open you heart to another furry friend.Humane Society of Sedona
Humane Society of Sedona
Being a veterinarian, I was called to examine a ten year old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, “People are born so they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The four-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass. When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.
There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth.
So, each day they run and play until the day comes when, one suddenly stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches! The ears are up! The eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group!
You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace,
Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated…
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before.
But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.
It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.
He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again! As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be.
But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.
With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.
“You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge.”
The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So what will happen now?”
As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted.
Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.
“Watch, and see” said the second animal.
A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge.
They all crossed The Bridge together.
“That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn’t place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge.”
“I think I like rescuers,” said the first animal.
“So does GOD”, was the reply.
In the twilight of a lifetime,
When the winter winds have come,
I remember back to Springtime,
Back to days when you were young.
I remember happy moments
And the joys of Springtime days,
I remember our beginnings…
Of your sweet and loving ways.
And, I long to stay and linger,
For we always had such fun.
But, all too soon our Springtime
Has turned to Summer’s sun.
And, though the Summer days are warm,
And we think they all will last,
All too soon, those warm days
Are simply a thing of the past.
Autumn comes to all of us,
It did to me and you.
But, Autumn days don’t linger,
They’re short and far too few.
Now, the Winter wind is blowing,
And the skies are turned to grey.
The days have come that I have dreaded
When you must go away.
And I hold you as you’re sleeping,
As the snow begins to fall.
And I feel you softly leave me
As you answer heaven’s call.
And, I long for one more lifetime,
Four more seasons to a year!
To be with my old friend again,
To have you still so near!
The seasons of a lifetime,
All to quickly come and go.
Springtime turms to Winter
Before you even know.
But the seasons up in heaven
Are Springtime all year through
And I’m very sure – my old friend –
I’ll spend them, one day, with you!
Judith A. Sellins – Westerly, R.I.