Euthanasia: euphemism?

Puppy

From better days

Tonight I had my dog euthanized.  He was paraplegic and almost totally incontinent, and it was getting pretty miserable for us both.  In theory I could have done more — called around to see if there were rescues willing to take in a VERY special-needs dog — but I was already his third home, he was around 12 years old, and it seemed like a pretty long shot.  So I finally, after months of taking the high road, took the easy way out.

I always felt the word euthanasia when applied to pets was distastefully euphemistic.  Just call it what it is, killing your dog, or in this case paying somebody else to do it for you.  Veterinarian as hit man.  A hundred years ago I imagine most dog owners had to do it themselves – take the dog out back and shoot her.

Puppy’s end (I did not name him, that’s one of the joys of getting a rescue) was more peaceful.  I stroked him and looked in his eyes as the anaesthesia kicked in.  It seemed like one of the better ways to die.  In fact I think that’s how I’d like to go;  not even aware of my impending demise, looking in the eyes of someone who fed me and who even cared for me enough to bathe me.

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