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Euthanasia


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#1 paigetheoracle

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:05 AM

Recently our old dog had to be put down after a year of diabetes and a final month suffering from bladder stones. This led to a load of soul searching by me. Firstly, the question of ethics came in - just because I had the ability to put it to sleep, I realized that didn't mean I had the right to do it (I shall come back to this point). Secondly, after the vet put it to sleep, I made the discovery that its renal system probably hadn't packed in as I feared but the food the vet had given us to flush out the bladder stones was now making the fit, younger dogs incontinent too. If I'd changed her diet back to ordinary food, she might have had another month or two left (She was nearly fourteen and a terrific fighter, who I shall sadly miss because of her tenacity). This led to guilt because of this failure to realize the truth of the situation.

I realized that my ego had stepped in because of the weeks of urinating all over the house and weeks of sleepless nights as she had spent the hours of darkness, continually waking up - sometimes because she couldn't pass water because of the stones and at other times because she feared death (Apparently hospital patients react the same according to my wife, who was a nurse on a hospital ward at one time). Come dawn, she would visibly relax and sleep, having survived another night (Hospital patients die around three in the morning, after struggling against the urge to go it seems (same source)).

What I've come to understand is that anger is the ego wanting to stop something happening. It cannot abide mess, so wants to end things before their time. It tries to force outcomes, rather than allow natural ones to develop. To be beyond the urge to interfere, is to beyond the ego i.e. patience and tolerance rather than the unwillingness to put up with the uncertainty and pain of existence.

Immortality (longevity) can only be achieved through the pursuit of solutions, not the eradication of problems. By this I mean the negative attitude of destroying problems, destroys us by shortening life. Overcoming difficulties by finding new ways of dealing with them, creates new life, not ends it (the scientific approach, that led me initially to find ways of understanding what she needed as a life form and giving it to her, rather than putting her down as a nuisance as I finally did i.e. walks to dislodge the bladder stones, giving her water when she moaned for it, picking up her rear end when she couldn't stand etc. - that is understanding her communication and watching her condition improve because of it).

Death leaves you with the question 'What if..?' This is conscience in action as life is the answer (try-all and error). Hope overcomes despair. Regret is conquered by enthusiasm. Depression displaced by renewed effort. Solutions remove doubt. Persistence destroys resistance - we only fail when we don't try - success is experimentation i.e. seeking that which works. Ego fears failure, so doesn't attempt (Doesn't want to look a fool).

Now the point I was coming back to - how this relates to the current situation in society with this very subject and its significance.

We have become a narcissistic society, only concerned with what we can get out of life and this is reflected in our attitude to the treatment of others in hospital and euthanasia. In the past we wouldn't have contemplated such a move because where there is life, thee is hope and that attitude has changed - hence in the UK, all these superbugs gaining control in the wards.

As I found despair at not finding a solution can lead to a spate of being even more destructive (negativity begets negativity, destruction begets destruction). It frees our attention as patience means sticking with something until the bitter end or a resolution evolves (Seeking new ideas, new ways of looking at the problem). Lack of understanding, of a problem, magnifies it out of all proportion, so that all we can see is 'it' (become obsessed). What turns us into defeatists is seeing endless possibilities, rather than finding limited probabilities.

Death relieves us of the burden of life (the physical chaos around us and the mental confusion within, created by every new situation, every twist of fate). Death is order and clarity because all variables are removed, all difficulties erased, through reductionism rather than created through productionism (destruction of matter/ suppression of ideas as opposed to promotion of both).

#2 The Polymath

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:42 AM

You said that your dog was suffering, and you seemed to say that it was expected that the dog wouldn't live much longer. Is it humane to make the dog suffer because you wish the dog to stay with you longer?

#3 Knothead

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 09:38 AM

Monday I had to put my beloved cat Clancy down. She had been failing for quite awhile and after the last vet visit a couple of months ago we knew it was only a matter of time.
I've naturally been dwelling on this since Monday. I couldn't stand to see her suffer and when I came home from work and saw her in obvious pain and having difficulty breathing, I knew it was time.
This is what I'm struggling with. By the time I got home it was after hours and my vet was closed. I could have loaded her in my car and drove her to a local emergency animal clinic but I decided that I would take care of it myself. I could see that it caused her additional pain when I picked her up to hold her and I didn't want to stress her out anymore than she was by loading her in a car, driving around and subjecting her to strangers. So for the second time in my life I used a gun to take the life of someone I love. This time was no easier than the first time when it was time for my 17 year old dog to go.
Here is what I'm wondering. Is an unexpected bullet to the brain a humane way to end a creature's suffering? Is it worse than the lethal injection that the vet would have administered?
I realize this is not a philosophical question, but this thread was revived at a time when it would really help me to have an expert answer to that question. Sorry for the hijack.

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#4 CraigD

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:00 AM

Monday I had to put my beloved cat Clancy down.

I’m sorry for you loss, Knothead. What a beautiful cat she was!

In 25 years of having pet cats, I've had to put down 2 of them, and had one die of natural causes at age 17 (right ran across a room, jumped into a window to watch a bird, fell unconscious, and after about a minute of obvious v-tachecardia, was dead), so can sympathize.

Here is what I'm wondering. Is an unexpected bullet to the brain a humane way to end a creature's suffering?

Yes. Given how small a cat’s brain is, any bullet .22 LR or larger directly into the brain would cause practically instant death, too fast for any fear or suffering.

Is it worse than the lethal injection that the vet would have administered?

In all honesty, yes, but only a little bit.

Although a properly administered shot to the head is nearly painless, the kind of lethal injections vets do are entirely painless - especially the 2-injection method, which is not only painless, but peacefull-looking.

All things considered, however, if you don’t know a vet who will come to your place to give the injections (having be fortunate enough to always know one who would, I’m surprised how many won’t), the stress of dragging a sick (or even a healthy) cat to a vet’s office, with the possibility of close encounters of the frightening doggy kind, I’d say is worse than the difference between a nearly painless death and a completely painless one.

Another consideration – which I gather isn’t an issue where you are, Knothead – is that in some places, such as where I live in the suburbs of Washington DC, mercifully putting down a pet with a gun is illegal, not only for public safety reasons, but because of IMHO misguided regulations and legal precedents concerning animal cruelty. To all readers: unless you’re sure it’s OK to put down your own pet, I'd have a vet do it, as the last thing you need when faced with the loss of a beloved pet is to be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

#5 Knothead

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:35 AM

Craig, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree that the injections would have been the better way to go. Especially for me. In this case I just felt that I had no choice.
Thanks again. You made me feel a little better.

#6 Tor Hershman

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 01:00 PM

Here is video inspired by our late kitty, Little One Hershman.
His pic is in the vid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgdffzvoVmc
Having suffered, vastly, for years with heart problems (I thought is was my gallbladder), I'm ALL FOR euthanasia; I mean...something is gonna kill ya, for most of us it'll be our hearts or some bodily-part rebellion (Cancer) why not allow your brain to do we in???
Here's a vid I did after my quintuple heart-bypass.
Oh, BTW I'm feeling FINE, now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi4Ksxrw6Tg
SOGS,
:o Tor :o

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