By Allie Katz –
As an animal lover from childhood, I’ve had pets ranging from gold fish to horses. You may find it hard to believe, but I have fond memories of every single one of them. I believe . . . no, I know that all the other creatures on our planet are much more like us than unlike us. It may come as a surprise to you that the animals possessing the closest DNA to humans, besides the apes, are cats and cows. Yes, cats and cows are a little bit closer to us on the evolutionary scale than other animals, including your beloved dog. Actually, we share 90% of our genes with cat.
Though we share so much of our makeup with the other animals, Mother Nature has provided that most of them, with the exception of some like sea turtles and elephants, have a life span much shorter than our own. That means that, unless we have reached our 80’s or 90’s, we are probably going to have to face the inevitable; losing our beloved companions to age or disease. It would be nice if it always happened suddenly and unexpectedly, but that’s rarely the case. There’s often no choice but to compassionately let them go quickly and painlessly at your vet’s office.
I have experienced this emotional torture many times, and can attest that it never gets easier. This is, in a way, a confession on my part. I’m confessing that I’ve never stayed in the room with the vet when the procedure was being performed. That’s because I’m a yellow-bellied coward through and through. Most recently I lost my beautiful tuxedo, Julie, and my companion for nearly eighteen years, Jinx. I wasn’t there for them at the time, but I have their little urns on the occasional table in my family room. I look at them when I dust, and tell them, “I’m sorry I didn’t stay with you. I’m sorry if you were afraid and alone with strangers on your last day.
If I had it to do over, I would stay with them and let them know how much they were loved and will be missed. On the selfish side, maybe this would have eased my pain just a little.
If you have any kind of pet, you will undoubtedly have this to contend with eventually. Take a piece of advice from old Allie, and stay with them up to the very end, no matter how much you feel like bolting for the door and running until you collapse. I’m sure you’ll find that your vet will make it a learning experience, and your beloved companion will have the security of passing away in the arms of love. Allie