ANIMAL ACUPRESSURE PRACTITIONERS’ APPROACH TO DEATH
The Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Practitioner Google Group participants share issues they are experiencing with clients. Recently, the discussion turned to how to deal dying animals. The discussion has been thoughtful, respectful, and sensitive. We thought we would share some of the Tallgrass Practitioners’ comments from the extensive participation in the discussion entitled, “The Difficult Conversation.”
This is how the discussion began: I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on issues of death, dying and euthanasia. Specifically, I have a 14 year old GSD mix who hasn’t walked for the past 8 months. He has bed sores on both hips and while they are healing, he is clearly diminishing before my eyes.
Comment: I always want to give my dogs the best possible remaining days, whether that is for a month, a year, or several years, but I also want to allow them to pass peacefully, without unnecessary or excessive pain, and with their remaining dignity. It is never easy to make the decision, but I feel euthanasia is a kind way for each of us to pass. I would want that for myself, and I am glad to be able to do it for my dogs. Choosing the “right time” is the difficult part. I have always been guided by the thought that when a dog can no longer stand up and walk under its own volition, it is time. At risk of sounding unsympathetic, if you consider how a dog in the wild would pass, it would likely go off on its own, lie down, and eventually pass. The dog you have described is still alive because the owner is likely serving its food and water to it in bed, and carrying outside to do its business, so she is essentially prolonging its life in this state. While I have done similar life-prolonging measures for few days for my dogs, hoping that they would improve, I could never do this a long-term way of living.
Comment: Could we suggest some points for the human to do on themselves to help with letting go/transition….
Comment: It is so very difficult to let our loved ones go; pets or people. Death is messy business and often our emotions and our issues get in the way of making sound decisions. Our pets are here much longer because of the care we give them. I believe we should give them an easy peaceful departure when the time comes and in their familiar surroundings if at all possible. I think we sometimes hide behind excuses and reasons for not opting for euthanasia as an out for not having to be the one that makes the decision to let go. I also acknowledge that each animal and each person have different situations to deal with whether physical issues or financial that impact the decisions that are made.
Comment: I highly recommend Ignatia – (homeopathic) which I took to help deal with my mom’s death (as well as doing points). I have also used it on my own animals after a pet has died, and once when we separated a mare from her foal from for weaning. It took the sharp edge of the sword off my heart, but didn’t take the grief away. I also took it after one my client horses chose to die after I did Ki27 and pain points. He died that night and the same evening I had the most wonderful comforting dream about him – and felt so connected.
Comment: I have found that in-home euthanasia is critical for the other members of the pack to understand that their friend has passed, and wasn’t just taken away. It is amazing to see the others circle around and watch their friend go. When there is so much good energy, I always feel like we have made the best choice for everyone.
Comment: I have a friend who owns a small dog store nearby and her way of deciding when it is time is to think of the top five things that your dog loved to do, when he or she can no long do any of those things on the list, it may be time. The five things could be as simple as loved chewy bones, or liked to sniff mailbox posts on a walk.
Comment: It may be worthwhile to pay attention to this human reasoning before drawing conclusions and applying the results to our beloved animals who may or may not have a different set of parameters within their reasoning. I cannot avoid the awkward experience of learning and uncertainty – even with the Book of the Dead on the bookshelf. The only thing in my power is to grant each dog a full review of all the questions at hand – no matter how many sleepless nights – before making any decisions or before any decisions are made: sometimes the dog decides, but there are times it doesn’t because it doesn’t want to let go for his/her own reasons. But even with the best of intentions I make mistakes and may make better decisions 5 years from now on but + and: ……….. so will the dog.