This is going to be a tough story because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it is a subject that’s weighed on my mind for a long time and a topic that owners of a special needs pets should be prepared to face. So here we go…..
Have you ever been through an Intervention? I have and when it happened it took me by complete surprise.
At some point while I was busy being consumed by the duties of taking care of Sophie (and probably complaining a bit), three of my dear friends sat me down for ….a chat. They had been watching me (and Ken) pull, tug, lift and wipe our little paralyzed girl for several years and they were worried about the toll it was taking on my health and my personal life.
The Intervention happened during a BBQ at my house while I was trying to play hostess to my friends and nurse to Sophie at the same time. I don’t think my gal pals planned on formally talking to me, but they had definitely discussed the subject among themselves before that evening.
The Big Chat
Toward the end of the night the group urged me to sit down and relax. I sat down on the leather loveseat in my family room and my three friends sat down next to me on the leather couch. Sophie sat in front of us in the middle of the floor in her bed.
The conversation began with one of my friends telling me that I looked exhausted. A second one looked down at Sophie’s sleepy face and said, “We know you love Sophie, but there has to be a time when you realize you’ve done all you can for her. You need to make the decision to say goodbye.”
I was shocked, but I think I was able to compose myself. At least I didn’t yell at anyone.
I explained that it was important to Ken that we didn’t play God with Sophie’s life and that we would know when she was ready to leave us. There would be a day when she wouldn’t eat or be able to sit up and we would make the decision then.
My friends meant well, but they continued to press on about the changes they saw in Sophie and my family. They were right; Sophie was getting weaker and depending on us more. Yes, Ken and I were getting more frustrated with the responsibility. Our nerves were thin and the tension in our household was growing.
The conversation went on for a while. All of their points were valid and I knew they were talking to me out of love for my family. They were truly worried that we had gone beyond the point-of-no-return for Sophie. They wondered if we were being fair to her.
What my friends didn’t understand was that we had raised Sophie from the time she was a little puppy who was sick with Distemper. My husband and I already had a close call of losing her and we were hanging on, this time, for as long as we could. Over the years Ken and I have raised seven dogs and five cats and we were too familiar with the pain of saying goodbye. We weren’t ready to close Sophie’s chapter in our lives.
I thanked my friends for their honesty and concern. We ended the Intervention with me saying, “Death is forever. We won’t be able to take back our decision to euthanize Sophie, so for now we know it’s an option we can always choose tomorrow.” (a little dramatic… I know)
From time to time I still got those worried looks from my girlfriends, but they never brought up the subject again.
If you are the parent of a special needs pet, you might also be confronted with a well-meaning Intervention. I wanted you to be prepared and remember that it comes from a place of love. BUT, you are the only one who fully understands the situation with your furry family member and No One should push you toward a decision before you are ready. No one is living in your world or (as they say) walking in your shoes.
Thanks for letting me rant about a subject that’s been on my mind for a long time.