Euthanizing a pet

Why is it ok to euthanize a pet?

The vet recommended this to us today. For the time being, we have brought our dog home, with pain killers. But, if we need to do this, how do we tell our daughters what is happening, as I wonder if that will be confusing on why we would do that for a pet, but not a person.

Also, for anyone who has been in the situation, how did you know when to euthanize?
Our vet said today do not let him starve, and if things continued as they are, we would be treating the owner, not the pet.

:frowning:

I am sorry to hear about your pet. I know that is hard any time you lose a beloved pet.

Because pets are not people. They do not have immortal souls. Their suffering has no redemptive meaning the way that of a person does.

You should follow your vet’s advice.

That’s a tough one. I suggest sticking to something simple, like that your pet is sick and you are taking them to the vet. When they don’t come back, you simply say the pet was too sick to recover and the pet has died. No need for gory details. If the child is very young, you need only say that Mr Pet is gone. My 4 year old niece has yet to realize that their cat is gone (got run over by a car 2 weeks ago).

Or say that Mr Pet is dieing and we are going to take him to the vet to die.

I don’t think you need to compare/contrast to people at all. Why would you? If the child is old enough to understand euthanasia of people, it is a whole different pet conversation.

A pet who cannot or will not eat.
A pet who is immobile/cannot go outside to do their business on their own.
A pet that is in pain.
A pet who has something serious that would require a lot of money to treat (i.e. kitty cancer).

Hi coopnann,

I am sorry that you are dealing with this sad situation. Those of us who have and love pets will be faced with this at some time in life, unfortunately.

I don’t think that you have to compare the euthanizing of animals with people.

Depending on how old your children are, keep the conversation age-appropriate to their age level, so that they understand what happened.

As for when it is time to know when to euthanize a pet, that was a discussion that we had with one of our vets.

He told us that it depended on what kind of quality of life did the pet have at the time? We have always had cats, so for a cat, if they could not do any of the following naturally, then it was determined that they did not have a normal or natural quality of life anymore:

Could the cat use the litter box on its own?

Could the cat eat or drink on its own?

Could the cat still move around/get around on its own?

What was its health like, too? Did it have any serious illnesses that was affecting its life in a major way, like cancer, etc?

You have a dog, but you can ask yourself the same type of questions.

As usual, well stated1ke.

I suggest telling them in words they’ll understand that the pet is very sick and will die and that he must be taken to the vet so he doesn’t hurt. Reassure them that the pet will be happy and comfortable. If it is your belief that pets go to heaven, tell them the doggie will be in heaven soon (my view is that even though dogs don’t have free will, they can love and will go to heaven because they can’t go to hell:shrug::shrug:)

Maybe you could just tell them the dog is sleeping. I guess it depends on the age of the daughters. If they are 10-12 and older, they can probably understand the dog is dead. Younger than that, I a little white lie couldn’t hurt. It couldn’t be more than venial.

I am sorry about your pet. Yes,my husband and I had to put down his childhood dog. Taffy was a corki and he was 18 years old. He was failing in health, couldn’t hear, was going into kidney failure and losing weight. It was a very hard choice and we cried and even the vet cried but he looked so peaceful and out of pain. It is very sad especially when it is a long term pet. We also had a cat that likewise was beginning to fail in health. Knowing this, we didget another cat. Tiger had a stroke and could barely walk. We were going to put her down the next day but she passed away at home in the night with the new cat sitting by her side the whole night. I am so sorry and i hoped to let you know that many of us have been there. I hope your pet will go like our Tiger but if not making a special picture or other little memorial does help in the grieving process. Tiger as also long term, about 15 years.

THanks for the responses.

He has been sleeping now, but I don’t know how comfortably. We told the girls tonight, they don’t seem too sad now. And I didn’t mean I would compare this to euthanizing a person, I just didn’t want them later (when they are older)to think, well, we did to our dog, and others think it is ok to do that for people too.

Tiger, our dog is 14 years old, we have had him for 13 years. I hope he dies in his sleep too, if this is his time. Our other dog is sleeping with him now. She is 14 also.

Well, thank you again. I’ve told our daughters many times that what lives also dies, and that all people and animals will die sometime. Even though I’ve said it, it still seems sudden.

A very wise post. I feel for you at the loss of a loved pet. May you have a gentle time with your children. Full knowledge is not always necessary.

I have euthanized one of my cats and let another cat die naturally. It is very painful either way.

I have realized that euthanizing the pet was probably easing my pain more than my cats pain. It gave me control to experience the cats passing on my time schedual and within my boundaries lessening my guilt of missing my beloved cats passing. She was a good, loyal, and loving cat who lived 17 good years. We probably euthanized her an hour, a day, possibly two days before her natural passing. Again, I chose this path because of my desire to be there when she passed instead of the possibility of her being alone.

My other kitty was poisened by bad chinese food at the age of six. This resulted in rapid organ failure. I could not euthanize him because I wanted a mirracle to save him since he doesn’t get eternity with God like we humans do. It was painful to watch him suffer; yet his kitty suffering made me realize the value of life. I believe we (kitty & I ) had several encounters with the angel of death. It was scary, but also merciful.

I can’t say which I would do in the future, but experiencing both … I can see the narcism of voluntarily requesting human euthanasia … And how a government/campaign could easily abuse human euthanizing to fit agenda’s above human dignaty.

Animals don’t go to heaven. It’s time we all face reality. Lying to one’s child to make them feel better is wrong. Kids aren’t stupid.

When our dogs were put down, the first one attacked me, so there was no real question of when we put him down. My dad did it when the vet could get him in. The other two were sick with cancer. The first one was put on prednisone which helped her live a normal life for a few months and wasn’t expensive. When that was no longer working, and our dog could no longer make it outside to go to the bathroom that was when my dad took her to the vet. I wasn’t around when our last dog was put down, but I assume it was the same thing. We didn’t really know she had cancer because she was an old dog. We just assumed she was a smelly dog and was too old to move around much. Turned out she had mouth cancer.

With regards to what you tell your kids, I would say be honest with them. I was 9 when our first dog was put down. My dad told me they gave him two needles. One which made him drowsy, and another one to stop his heart, and that it looked like he just fell into a deep sleep that he would never wake up from.

Kids need to learn responsible pet ownership from the beginning until the end. If your kids don’t understand why it’s okay to euthanatize an animal, but not a person, explain to the why in terms they’ll understand. Explain to them that when a pet is so sick that it’s not reasonable to treat him (often treatment is just delaying the inevitable), and/or he’s going to suffer and be in pain, the most loving thing an owner can do is to put them out of their suffering, and that euthanatizing an animal isn’t painful to him and that he falls into a deep sleep and never wakes up. No matter what you tell them, they’re still going to be sad, but in a way, that’s kind of a good thing.

Not saying you are wrong, just wondering how do we know that pets do not have souls? Is it in the bible or cathechism? There’s this book: Heaven is For Real heavenisforreal.net/ where a four year old boy goes to “heaven” during emergency surgery and he sees dogs, cats, elephants, horses, and kangaroos in heaven.

Yes. Not explicitly so, of course – you’re not going to find a paragraph in the catechism that says “animals do not have immortal souls,” but what you will find in there is that humans are unique in the order of creation, made in the image and likeness of their creator, endowed with an immortal soul.

What that means is that Deo Gratias42 is half right. Animals do not go to heaven by virtue of having an immortal soul. On the other hand, we do not know what everything that will make up the “new heavens and new earth” will be. In the realm of speculative theology, we might ask the question, “might God choose to re-create creatures in the new heavens and new earth who were present in our current order of creation?” It would seem that the answer could be, “yes, He is able to do that.” Will God do such a thing? :shrug: We don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see. It seems that it’s possible, though… :wink:

There’s this book: Heaven is For Real heavenisforreal.net/ where a four year old boy goes to “heaven” during emergency surgery and he sees dogs, cats, elephants, horses, and kangaroos in heaven.

Umm… and the ‘near-death experience’ of a four-year-old (non-Catholic) Christian boy trumps the teaching of the Catholic Church? :hmmm:

Are you talking about CCC 362-368, 382 – The Unity of Body and Soul? Are there any other places that it is arguable that the Catholic Church teaches that animals do not have souls other than CCC 362-368, 382, which only comments on humans? This “teaching” of the church does not comment on animals so it can’t be considered a teaching of the Catholic Church that would comment on the four year old boy’s near death experience, implicitly. If you want to make the implict more explict, that would be appreciated.

The soul is the “principle of life”, right? The book Sciavas, by the doctor of the church St. Hildegard de Bingen says that humans acquire life from God by eating animals, plants, and God transmits the life to these animals, plants. And people give out the life through the virtues.

I had a pal for over 14 years; old for a black lab. She had kidney failure for nearly a year and had lost a great deal of weight, but still was loving life. One morning as she greeted me I could see that she could not maintain her balance or walk much at all.
It is hard to describe, but she was a dignified animal, and was now losing that. I had hoped she would simply sleep away to keep that terrible decision away. I did decide that it had to be dome and put her in my van for a ride to my sister’s house.
My sister had two dogs who had always been play buddies with mine. When Shawmut stumbled in to my sister’s house, the two others did not even acknowledge her. It seemed as if they knew that she was really already gone.
I don’t know what that orange concoction is that the vets use, but she never so much as gasped…she just slipped away and is buried with dignity in my sister’s back yard.

That’s my story.

Aah… so this isn’t your first rodeo, is it? :wink:

Are there any other places that it is arguable that the Catholic Church teaches that animals do not have souls other than CCC 362-368, 382

How about #356: “[mankind] alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life.” This is a description of heaven!

And while we’re at it, how about #357: “Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.”

This is critical: only humans are made “in the image of God”, and #357 connects this to the notion of personhood. Among God’s physical creation, only humans can “enter into communion with other persons,” and therefore, only humans are “called by grace … to offer [his Creator] a response of faith and love”. Only humans – “no other creature can give” this response to God!

Also, #1023: “By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment - and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven - have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature”.

Notice that what the CCC asserts is that heaven is attained by virtue of baptism. Animals aren’t baptized by the Church, are they?

, which only comments on humans?

You realize that when you repeat what I said, it doesn’t actually disprove what I said, right? :wink:

This “teaching” of the church does not comment on animals so it can’t be considered a teaching of the Catholic Church

It comments on the unique status of humans. It doesn’t comment on rocks, either: are you asserting that rocks might have immortal souls, since the CCC doesn’t explicitly say otherwise?

The book Sciavas, by the doctor of the church St. Hildegard de Bingen says that humans acquire life from God by eating animals, plants, and God transmits the life to these animals, plants. And people give out the life through the virtues.

:rotfl:

You realize, of course, that she was a mystic who thought that rocks and minerals were animated, right? In any case, if you can demonstrate that any magisterial documents take these assertions of hers seriously, I’d love to see a citation!

Baptism is only necessary because of original sin. Without original sin, the CCC wouldn’t say that heaven is attained by virtue of baptism. The other lines you cite are intriguing. However, it would require a closer to look to determine if the specific word choices are meaningful or if you are reading too much into the words that was meant to be left open for interpretation. For example, angels are created in the image of God, but the fact that the CCC doesn’t mention it in this verse doesn’t mean they aren’t.

It comments on the unique status of humans. It doesn’t comment on rocks, either: are you asserting that rocks might have immortal souls, since the CCC doesn’t explicitly say otherwise?

:rotfl:

You realize, of course, that she was a mystic who thought that rocks and minerals were animated, right? In any case, if you can demonstrate that any magisterial documents take these assertions of hers seriously, I’d love to see a citation!

That rofl is rude. If they don’t take the assertions seriously, then why is she a Doctor of the Church?

The stuff they give is a barbiturate anesthesia, but they give a lethal dose.

Thomas Aquinas lived 100 years after Hildegard. He wrote many important things. However, he also wrote about human reproduction, asserting that baby girls resulted when the fetus of a baby boy didn’t develop fully. If someone came here and asserted that this were true, I would ROTFL laughing at that assertion, too… :wink:

If they don’t take the assertions seriously, then why is she a Doctor of the Church?

Oh, we do take her assertions seriously! However, she was a visionary and a mystic: we don’t take her assertions literally. Big difference, there. :wink:

Moreover, the particular interpretation of her visions – that we eat a life force of animals and that this is what animates us – is (you’ll have to admit!) a kind of whacky, New Age-y interpretation, and is not even close to what the Church professes!

And yes, when someone claims that a poor interpretation of a mystic (even a mystic saint) expresses the doctrine of the Church, I’m going to laugh! (And don’t worry – I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing at the ridiculous interpretation of ‘viriditas’… :wink: )

By now it’s already done- if you listened to the Vet-and I’m sorry for your loss of this 14 year old very special member of the family… if you can say you did what you believed to be best for your furbaby,best friend,confidante,babysitter,playmate and beacon of love in your family’s life -then be at peace with this… your beloved pet understands and will meet you in Heaven- trust that- they share with us the closest thing to unconditional love this side of Heaven-they are teachers for us-… I saw a beautiful prayer message not too long ago…“God please let me be the person my dear old dog believes me to be”…

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