Why have Animal Advocates lost their Wits about Euthanasia?

8 years ago, I read a blog about an adoptive puppy turned 8 year old dog who terrorized his owner by attacking various innocent people and dogs for nearly a decade.

The owner finally found the ability within herself to do the right thing, and she had the dog she loved euthanized following a day of fun and love. Peacefully, he went over the *Rainbow Bridge* never knowing a bad day, and his reign of terror on his owner and those around him ended.

This was a first world problem, really. Only in very fortunate places on the planet can someone spend 8 years tormenting themselves over trying to decide what to do with an aggressive pet. . .or a sick pet. . .or pets that have no where to go for various and very real reasons.

I’m thankful for that. . .but we do have to recognize it is a luxury many in the world will not be offered or even be able to understand.

“I want to save Dogs.”




“Roosters. . .”

The line of *would be* rescuers grows longer the more I browse the comments on Social Media beneath images of various woebegone creatures on my newsfeed. Heck, some of the time, it is under a photo of the bedraggled creature I’ve assisted in rescuing of someone moaning we euthanize instead of cowardly letting animals subsist.

Save has such a strange interpretation among animal lovers, advocates and activists. It actually doesn’t mean what it should sounds like, too often.

13 or so years ago, a vet told me the story of a rescue group around here. The doctor was dismayed at the number of animals being kept for years on end in crates and pens. These animals were highly unadoptable either due to behavioral or physical issues. Not only were these animals unadoptable (in his words) but it was being proven out with each passing year because they were not being adopted.

The animals were not only unadoptable (some will debate what that means regardless), this vet felt the conditions were not humane. . .either because of the extreme behaviors these animals were trying to cope with while living in little cells or because their medical conditions made life quality poor. This rescue organization was rendered almost useless year after year because they refused to ever let a single animal go with a peaceful end to have space to then save those with a viable chance at adoption – those were turned away, instead.

Somehow this organization felt the animals facing each day in mental anguish or physical pain over and over again made more kind sense than just being gone.

How do we consign this as a real answer to anything?

How can we live in a society where we know when people become very sick, either mentally or physically, so many speak openly of wishing to just be at peace, but we deny this dignity to animals over and over again when we can help them?

Animals, while feeling and loving beings, are not humans dreaming about tomorrow. Animals live in the here and now. They are instinctual creatures craving the ability to come and go at their leisure, painfree with plenty of food and without fear in their “Today.”

We’ve developed a society of misguided blacks and whites.

To keep life going at all costs. . .forever? It’s not possible.

I mean. . . who remembers the horse with his eyes, ears and most of his face mauled off a decade ago? His skin mostly gone over large portions of his body. . .but it made people feel cheerful to “save” him. Save him? That didn’t happen. It was torture. That’s all. But people, animal lovers, cheered it on. It broke my heart.

When many Americans believe in a wonderful afterlife (and if not that, others accept death as a peaceful lack of being), why is simply “not being” so hysterically feared by us for dogs, horses and cats (and ourselves when we are healthy, but that is another story).

The only answer, whatever you come up with, is based in the selfish and not in compassion.

I’ve seen neglect and abuse over what most ever will. . .and I cannot despise a peaceful end the way so many in rescue do. Further, I’ve had an aging parent explain to me day in and out how much he wanted to just “Go on,” and that stays with me. Too bad it doesn’t stay with most.

We hold on too long with good intentions. But good intentions do not matter to the pet.

If you are a pet owner and are holding your dog or cat together with glue, paper clips and weekly vet visits, who are you doing that for now?

If you are a rescuer keeping dogs waiting for 2 years in a crate 23 hours a day for a home because his behaviors, fears or health make him unadoptable, who are you holding him for? That choice you are making isn’t for the animal.

How many dogs will be dragged out of a loud, crowded cell in a facility to be killed (because in many animal control shelters, what happens isn’t peaceful euthanasia) after waiting for a home never knowing real kindness (because for about a million, that home isn’t coming this year) when a rescue that has no space to pull and hold for an adopter could still pull that cat or dog, love him or her for a small bit of time with good food and a quiet environment and then let that animal go having known “rescue” for a bit of time and a peaceful end. Well, who wants to do that? No one, it seems.

Letting horses limp with hurt, have eyes that pulse in pain, gasp for air or tremble at simple needed handling after medical efforts or training efforts fail, let me tell you– leaving them existing isn’t a call we make for the horses’ benefit, folks.

What does our Lack of Action really say about Rescue?

It lacks fortitude and selflessness.

The rescue world needs more rescuers who are unafraid of a peaceful end or of breaking idealisms – we need rescuers determined to end actual suffering.

Keeping hoping for an ideal world, but Work in the Real World.

END actual suffering, folks. . .

2 thoughts on “Why have Animal Advocates lost their Wits about Euthanasia?

  1. I so agree. I think of all the animals that could be saved with the room and $$$ for a better life. As I am nearing closer to my end, I appreciate more than ever that quality of life is far better that existing in a life that you were not designed to live. Thank you.

  2. Bless you for all that you do, and for having this position! We let go of a dog who appeared to be bipolar, attacking other creatures (especially my Britanny). We tried everything for four years and finally knew that euthanasia would bring us all peace – especially her. I’ve also had to make that choice for several horses and other animals over the years. Literally my only regrets have been those cases when I let a vet talk me into waiting – all of those led to far greater suffering and very bad endings. I had always hoped that society’s notion that it “was the kindest thing” for animals would lead us to acceptance of giving humans that option for themselves when the hope of easing pain was gone. Instead, I have watched with horror as we have reached exactly what you describe – that life at all costs for animals is becoming the norm. Please keep being a voice for the animals! They need all the true advocates they can get!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: