In April, 2006, I stood in a sterile examining room, cradling Rocky’s head in my arms and telling him repeatedly that I loved him, as the vet administered a lethal injection that ended his life. Rocky was cancer-stricken. He had been given only three months to live, yet he managed to “fight the good fight” for nearly a year.
Some of you may have noticed that I always wear a dangling earring in my right ear lobe – that is my daily homage to my fallen friend.
I have another Golden Retriever now, Rufus, a wonderful dog that I rescued. I also care for my daughter’s Cocker Spaniel, Cookie.
Cookie has epilepsy. Last New Year’s weekend, she had five Grand Mal seizures in a twelve hour period. She came to live with me temporarily, since she was due to be put down. Miraculously, she stopped having frequent seizures and has been doing well, with few seizures, most of which were mild.
That is, until this past Monday. Cookie had two severe seizures, seven hours apart, and hasn’t fully recovered from the last one. She had been a happy, eight years old pup that loved to be around me and loved it when I said “who deserves a biscuit?!?!” Now she is listless and barely responds when I offer her a milkbone.
It is most likely “time.”
The question goes much deeper than a decision concerning a lovable Cocker Spaniel. What about Grandma and Grandpa? What about a spouse that is looking at the last days of a long life?
Although I knew it was right, it was difficult and heartbreaking to decide to finally have Rocky put down.
How would I handle such a decision if it were thrust upon me regarding a child or a spouse? Choosing to end life-support has to be the most difficult decisions one will ever face.
There is a great debate raging in our society about “end of life” choices.
Where do you stand?
William Stephenson Clark