How Much Love?

This week was very sad because I had to euthanize a sweet Boxer who had splenic cancer.  Her owner loved her deeply, knew she was in tremendous pain and made the decision to end her suffering. 

There was not a doubt in my mind that this was the right decision and I told her that, but I’m not sure she believed me.

Sometimes pet owners feel a lot of guilt about the decisions they have to make on behalf of their animals. Often these decisions are financial.  Unless I see significant pain and/or suffering, I try not to judge. I have to live on a budget too and everyone’s personal obligations and expenses differ.

Unfortunately most of us also have complicated feelings about money too, and when your beloved animal is thrown in the mix a decision can be agonizing.


How much can love of an animal help? How much love for an animal hurt? 

The New York Times just published an article about this very topic. Veterinary medicine has advanced leaps and bounds in the last decade.  Ordinary American salaries haven’t, although our willingness to want these things has.  What happens in that gap? Do you go into debt? Do you say goodbye sooner than you would like?


I tried to comfort my client and her decision about her Boxer as best I was able.  Unfortunately grief is an individual experience and I couldn’t alleviate her suffering even though I could alleviate her dog’s suffering.  I told her that the important thing about love is that her dog had an abundance of it while she was alive. That is all any dog wants.

More later………………………………


5 comments on “How Much Love?

  1. In a letter I read from a pet to their person, the pet says it best……”I don’t ask for a longer life or medical miracle. I know when you do the medical tests and treatments you do them to keep me with you. So I put up with them….to stay with you longer. But I could do without all the medical fuss. All I really want as I am dying is for you to be with me, and lovingly comfort me. That is one of the last pictures I want in this lifebook…..the two of us sharing this final experience as I prepare to go to the land of the spirit at Rainbow Bridge where I will wait for you.”
    This is from a 2 page letter that actually is quite comforting when read after having to let your pet go………………I still read it often………………..

  2. That client is me, and that boxers name was Edie. She was a beautiful girl who deserved every second of love she had in her life; she gave love in abundance too! I will be forever grateful that she chose me. It was my honor to have her as long as I did, even if it was shorter than i would’ve hoped for. Doctor Doughty, if I doubted you I never would have stayed with Hill Dale. You did a good job, there comes a time for all of us when our options simply become non negotiable……

  3. I too have the highest respect for Dr. Doughty. When I had to put down my girl Jodi 2 years ago she was there thru the answering of un-ending questions and emotional breakdowns. And when the time came she was there by my side to comfort me also. She makes no judgements and always says there is no right or wrong decisions and is always honest never hiding the truth when it is always not what we want to hear. Her compassion is deep from the heart and our loving companions could never find anyone who even comes close to her. We are all lucky to have such a truely remarkable person in our lives.

    • There was a time when I was facing some financial hardships and considered, or actually decided, to switch veterinarians (some are less expensive). Then, my dog Edie was diagnosed with a heart defect that could have easily killed her. I only had one choice then, stick with Dr. Doughty because Edie’s life was on the line. This is not a perfect world and unfortunately proper care for our animals can be very expensive and become a factor in our decisions…my experience tells me that we should be mindful of the big picture. I could have gone to a competent vet who would offer me just the “science” but I chose to pay for the love AND the science. Neither of my dog’s were ever afraid or stressed to see Dr. Doughty and that to me, is invaluable.

  4. Thank you both for your words. It is truly a privilege to have such caring people at Hill-Dale. It’s what helps get through the hard days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: