A friend of mine recently had to convince his parents that it was time to put their dog town. The dog, Skiver, was limping, breathing heavily, lying around in the darkest areas of the house and screaming in pain due to some nerve issues. My friend remains positive about this event: he plans to memorialize the dog with a “Skiver Lives!” campaign.

I am wholeheartedly supportive of this idea.

This is going to be one of THOSE kinds of articles. Enjoy the silly pet related pictures.
Image courtesy of LOLCats.

Many people complain about the fact that the Humane Society euthanizes up to three to four million of the pets that it cares for in a year.  Those of you that didn’t click on the link should know that number comes right from the Humane Society website. So they aren’t exactly hiding anything. In fact, this number has dropped from 20-25 million to its current numbers. Quite an improvement.

In fact, the sad truth is that there are simply too many pets to take care of in our society. Too many people abandon their pets to the street or breed high amounts of pets they simply cannot take care of given their circumstances. Cat ladies may be goofy weirdos but their cats are usually pretty poorly taken care of because there are too many of them for the sheltered lady to care for with her resources.

No, not this cat lady. That’s a different kind of sad.

In fact, the Humane Society website blames pet owners and low adoption rates for their rate of animal euthanasia:

“Low adoption rates are one factor driving the high number of animals in shelters, but every year, millions of dogs and cats  are relinquished by their owners—or rescued from the streets by animal control officers and private citizens—and brought to animal shelters. These circumstances leave shelters and rescue groups with a large number of animals in need of homes.”

So, as always, the fault, dear readers, lies not within the stars but within ourselves. Euthanasia is not just something done by the Humane Society. Millions of pets are euthanized every year due to illness or inconvenience, such as “geez, our next house is going to be too small for a cat.”

The second reason is usually inexcusable. The first is always understandable. Pets, unlike humans (maybe I’ll get into that another time) have the right to have their suffering ended at any time. The pet can’t shout “Hey dick head! Kill me already I’m in constant daily pain!” so owners have to take note of the best time to euthanize their pet.

When is the best time? As soon as it becomes apparent your pet will only live in suffering for the rest of its life. According to veterinarian Marie Haynes, “If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must.”

Get it?! THE CAT IS HOVERING! PURRMISSIONS?! LOLZ…please don’t be depressed by this article…

In fact, you know what? I’m going to quote this article’s list of good reasons to euthanize an animal and the bad reasons. Why? Because a) it’ll help you make that decision and b) it’ll beef up my damn word count. The wording here is not my own and is taken directly from the website. Please read the article to get a more in-depth look at euthanasia.

Good Reasons

1. The animal is suffering from a terminal illness that medical or surgical therapy can no longer relieve or help.

2. The animal is suffering from a severe illness whereby survival and recovery is possible, but of minimal likelihood, and the animal is likely to go through significant pain and suffering while attempts are made to correct the problem.

3. The pet has a chronic, manageable illness requiring a lot of medication (e.g. many pills and needles), regular hospital stays and frequent testing and veterinary check-ups to manage it, but the animal is behaviorally and emotionally ill-equipped to cope and gets far too distressed by all of the procedures to keep on having them done over and over again for the rest of its life.

4. The pet has a severe, chronic disease where death from the disease itself is unlikely, but drugs are no longer helping the pet with its pain or mobility.

5. The animal is exhibiting severe aggression.

6. The animal has a severe behavioural condition that has not responded to veterinary and/or behavioural modification therapies. 

There are plenty more but that’s quite enough. Here are some “bad” reasons. Again, the wording here is taken directly from the article and does not reflect my own thoughts or writing.

Bad Reasons

1. The pet has outlived its usefulness and the owner just does not want it around anymore – the pet is no longer young, cute, trendy, interesting, able to produce pups for sale, able to win in the show ring, able to win races … and so on.
2. The owner is relocating to a place where pets are not permitted or practical.
3. The owner’s living circumstances have changed (e.g. a new baby is joining the family, the owner has no time for an animal) and the pet is not able to be part of that new living arrangement.

4.  The animal has behavioural issues that the owner does not want to take time and effort to correct.
5. It is cheaper to euthanase a ‘cheap’ pet and get a new one than it is to treat any minor to moderate illness it might have.
6. Custody disputes.

7. Putting down this pet and getting a new one next year is cheaper than paying to board the pet over the Christmas and summer holidays.

Of course, if you euthanize your pet for any of those “bad” reasons you aren’t going to get arrested by the pet cops and thrown in pet jail prison. Since the animal is your “property” you have the right to euthanize it as you please as long as you are humane in your methods and aren’t needlessly cruel.

Choosing if and when to euthanize a pet is a process most pet owners will have to undergo at some point in their life. It is no fun, can be emotionally painful and can even cause familial distress. God damn, was this ever a Debbie Downer of an article! Sorry for bringing you all down. Here’s one last picture of a cat saying something it never would in real life. I need a drink.

You eated that hamster, dear angel. You eated it right up.