Death is harder when you have too much time to think about it.
Terry and I have adopted several horses, cats, and dogs over the years. All of our critters are rescues. (I want to drop people who abandon their animals in a wilderness to fend for themselves.) We know we’re going to outlive our critters, and will have to face the pain of losing them. But we can’t say no because humans have already let them down, and it’s up to us to do our best for them.
Sometimes the decision is made for us, like when our old lumpy bumpy granny dog Sheba went into total liver failure. That’s the end of the road, full stop; no heroics, just ease her out as humanely as possible.
Sometimes it’s harder. Little Rubsy has lymphoma. Typically, cats live a year to 18 month after being diagnosed. It is often treatable, though not curable, and you can buy them a little more time with treatment. We elected not to put her into treatment for various reasons, but rather chose palliative care, kitty hospice if you will, keeping her as comfortable as possible. Rubsy is 15 years old. She is deaf and has arthritis. Her kidneys and liver are failing, and it is very hard to keep her weight up. Our medication options are limited because drugs stress kidneys and liver. We don’t want her to end her days with a horrible painful crisis like Sheba. But we don’t want to deprive her of any good time she has left.
It’s up to us. We weigh all the factors as best we can. We will have doubts and remorses. But we both know it’s time and we have to pick a date.
We will also have good memories, and we have each other. Terry and I are both dotty old critter ladies. We have a lot of fun with our animals, and we’re responsible for them. It’s up to us, and we’re not sorry. Not even a little.