I know I have written about death before so I am in danger of repeating myself. In the preceding few weeks, many of my patients have moved onto Rainbow Bridge. Some have crossed over naturally but most have been assisted by a veterinarian. Euthanasia, in Greek, is derived from two roots: “eu” meaning well and “thanatos” meaning death. Put the two together and we have an easy and painless death or the act/method of causing death painlessly, to end suffering.
Veterinarians are unique in that we, as healers, are called upon to end a patient’s life. Through the years I have grappled with this act. I do not wish to bore you with my conscience, nor my struggles. Suffice it to say that I have found peace in this regard.
Dealing with death is an ever-changing process. As we grow and transform, so do our perceptions. I would like to share some of these thoughts with you.
Certain belief systems do not allow for the wilful ending of life. I view euthanasia as an act of compassion. If I have done all that is professionally possible to maintain quality of life, and so has my client, then I believe in ending suffering. It is the final gift I can give on this plane – release from earthly pain.
In the time leading up to the decision to euthanase, I make a point of having difficult conversations with the guardians. As people, most of us fear death – it is an unknown factor. In this instance we are called upon to face our fear. My understanding of this process is incomplete but I hold onto my own belief that our animal companions have a Soul. A Soul is energy and energy is indestructible. Energy transforms into other types of energy. This allows me to release the Soul into the next plane.
In some occasions I am honoured to be able to set up communications with the animals before they cross over. This often brings peace knowing that our companion is prepared to leave their body and begin the next stage of their journey.
In my practice I develop strong emotional ties with my clients and patients. Our therapies are based on respect. When I am asked to euthanase a patient it is an immense privilege. I have been entrusted with the last stages of life, which is so precious to all. I strive to make those moments meaningful, peaceful and stress-free.
Does any of this mean I don’t feel or cry, or hurt? Not at all. I am deeply affected by death and the emotions of my clients. This process is never easy but it is necessary. We will all die someday...