Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Living, Suffering, Surviving and the Mystery of Dying

     I used to believe that dying was a linear, predictable process.  I used to believe that things get bad, then worse, then end.  Like many, I also used to dread death and think it was extraordinarily cruel that we are able to euthanize our animals, but have no ability to terminate the suffering of our human loved ones.

      And then I spent time - a lot of time - with death and dying, up close and personal, day in and day out.  I saw illness, disease and health ebb and flow; progress, plateau, improve and fade again.  I watched loved ones struggle, fight and beg for mercy and an end that did not come easily or readily.  My heart shattered and my mind disintegrated with helplessness and confusion.  My innate drive to help, to fix things, to make it all better, to nurture was infuriatingly stymied. 

      It was only after being with many who were dying that I have come to appreciate that the mystery of dying also brings beauty

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quote for the Day

Thank you to Debra Lynn Dadd for this quote:

Trials, temptations, disappointments - all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.
~ James Buckham

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quote for the Day

When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.

~ Unknown

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Too Selfish to Euthanize?

     The second most common thing I hear when people talk about end of life and euthanasia is that we must be vigilant against acting out of selfish reasons when making decisions about euthanasia.  You have heard it, "Really, Sarah, you are just keeping this poor animal alive because you can't bear to let go.  Stop being so selfish." 

     It is almost always heard in two situations:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quote for the Day

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

~ Aesop

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quality of Life and Selfishness

     Whenever I talk about end of life care for animals, two things inevitably come up right away:

          (1)  The animal's "Quality of Life"; and
          (2)  The concept that "keeping" an animal alive is done only for the benefit of the human and is therefore selfish.

     Frankly, I think both concepts get in the way of providing the best care we can for our animals and hamper our ability to do the right thing for them.  Here's why:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quote for the Day

Life, even in the hardest times, is full of moments to savor. They will not come this way again, not in this way.

~ Paula Rinehart

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quote for the Day

Thank you to our friend and mentor, Dr. Ella Bittel, for these wonderful insights:

"[They taught me that] the value of someone's life is not the lump sum of one's disabilities or illnesses.  But that one's spirit always makes the best out of every set of circumstances and will always thrive if cared for lovingly and thoughtfully."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Top 10 Early Warning Signs of Cancer

     Too many of our beloved animals will suffer and and ultimately die from cancer.  Early detection can not only help with the success of treatment, but also in the quality of your animal's life as he or she lives with the disease.

     The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has put out these ten early warning signs of cancer in animals.  Please know them and watch for them:

1.   Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
2.   Sores that do not heal
3.   Weight loss
4.   Loss of appetite
5.   Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
6.   Offensive odor
7.   Difficulty eating or swallowing
8.   Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
9.   Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

     But keep in mind that the NUMBER ONE early warning sign is your gut.  If you feel like something just isn't right, see your veterinarian right away.  Whether it is cancer or another issue, if you feel uneasy about your animal's condition, whether you can put your finger on a specific symptom or not, get it checked out.  YOU are almost always right when you get that feeling and your internal sensors telling you that something is wrong should not be dismissed.