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Our Pets And Our Lives

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    "Whatever I can do, I'll do. I would never put Pooh Bear to sleep just as I wouldn't put my wife to sleep. He's our little Lazarus."

    The ever-increasing importance of pets is a well-known consequence of modern living. While animals were generally viewed with an unsentimental eye on the farm, in the city they quickly assumed the position of substitute family for lonely urban dwellers. And as the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/01/fashion/01PETS.html">New York Times explains</a>, one (un)intended consequence of this is an astonishing rise in the longevity of pets.

    Just as people are willing to spend all for the sake of beloved family members, sentimental pet owners don't blink an eye forking out thousands for advanced medical treatments for their beloved pets. Not that there's anything wrong with offering love and loyalty for animal companions who have spent their lives offering unconditional love and loyalty, but such regimens of medical interventions have the nasty potential for creating more suffering than relief for sufficiently aged animals.

    Which leads to the question: when does love end and selfishness begin?
  2. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Ethics, after watching my grandmother rot away in a nursing home for more than eight years, I have to wonder why we go to such great lengths to extend the lives of humans! If I ever become dependent on handfuls of drugs everyday without the ability to clothe and feed myself or even speak, I will yearn for death(if I still have my mind). Why can't people accept the inevitability that is death? If medical science can prolong someone's life with little to no sacrifice in quality, then I am all for it. I just think it's very selfish and wasteful what we do to our elderly.

    I know that must sound cruel to some of you, but it's how I feel.
  3. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    If the animal is in pain, and it's verified that it's in pain (as I don't really trust vet's too much, been burned by a vet's bias), then it's best to let the animal die. But if there is a possibility of ending the pain and letting the animal live longer, I would do it, and have. I'm one of those 'freaks' who's spent thousands of dollars in medical things for an animal. And our 2 pets currently have pet insurance for such emergencies - offered through my husband's job, believe it or not.
  4. jamming

    jamming Banned

    I believe it Misu, cheaper than other insurances. Whoever puts your animal down should have at least gone through a certified euthanasia course, if it is not the vet also ask for a tranquilizer first then the final shot. Sodium Phenobarbital burns numbly on the skin, I can only imagine what it feels like in to the veins. I also would ask the vet to give the animal a straight intracardial shot rather than in the vein when the animal is tranquilized. In case your asking, I am as we put it in morgue humor, "Licensed to Kill."
  5. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Death is an inevitable part of life. However, life can be prolonged with proper medical treatment and attention to lifestyle habits.

    This holds true for both humans and thier pets.

    My wife and I cannot have children due to medical complications that have left me completely disabled. Those same complications, we decided, make it unfair for us to adopt even an older child. I am prone to being ill and therefore it would be unfair to the prospective child to have to put up with my limitations and my wife to face the extra work a child would impose.

    So we have a Cockatiel who is now 7 years old. He has the intelligence level of a two year old human child. Since he is a smaller parrot, he can have a life expectancy of about a maximum of 25-30 years unlike the larger Amazon Grey that can live for 80 years.

    For us, he is our child. He talks, says his name, good morning (no matter the time of day!), among other phrases, is funny as all get out and is just a joy to be around. He can sense my mood and knows when I need cheering up.

    He also has his human flock *well* trained to his needs and like any human child knows just the right buttons to push to get what he wants. We give him the right diet so he'll stay healthy and have found a vet that treats Cockatiels. He is healthy and should be with us a good long time.

    As long as there is a quality to life, it should be respected. Medical extension of life in the absence of quality is a sham whether it be for a human or an animal.
  6. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

    I have been a pet owner all my adult life. I've had ferrets, cats, dogs, even children ;)

    I am and always have been very partial to dogs and have had a pure bred German Shepard as part of our family since day one.

    I have been very fortunate in that all my pets have led long and happy lives. Right now my female Shepard (Hope) is approaching 13 years of age, quite mature for her breed.

    She is quite healthy but age is beginning to take its unavoidable toll on her. Her eyes are beginning to glaze over a bit and she doesn't move with the same energy apparent in her younger years. I am already mentally preparing myself for the inevitable loss of a friend I hold in higher regard than many people (present company excluded of course).

    I think should a vet present me with *options* when Hope's health begins to decline I will respectfully pass on such treatment plans and let nature take its course. I would of course never let Hope suffer and she would let me know if she was. However by the same token I would not try to extend her life at the expense of the quality of it. I feel she has lived a long and happy life at this point and I am extremely grateful for as much.

    Now with that said I can readily understand why some people can and do spend thousands of dollars on their pets when they become ill. I've never been in such a position fortunately. Had Hope taken ill a few years back I likely would have tried anything to save her and emptied the savings accounts doing so.

    This health insurance for pets? I can't help but think it's a racquet. I had a friend tell me about taking his dog to a vet and the dog was diagnosed as having seizures. Before the vet would even talk about a treatment plan they required the owner to acquire a *treatment loan* that he so conveniently had applications for. The end result was my buddy signing an open note for a maximum 5,000 at 18% interest over 3 years.

    Now the vet said he likely wouldn't use all 5,000 dollars of the available loan (COUGH COUGH) but still in all required that a minimum of 5,000 be available before a treatment plan was to be initiated.

    Buying insurance ahead of time, and your vet knowing the provider of such insurance likely leads to abuse similar in nature to the type described above. If the vet knows the money is available for relocation into their pocket how could they resist?

    Something else I could see happening is the pet owner being denied a treatment plan for their animal as they discover their insurance *doesn't cover that* in the middle of a major crisis.
  7. btdude

    btdude Veteran Member

    As many of you know, I lost my baby boy Murphy on )ctober6 of this year. I read what you have all said. I would have given my soul to save him from what he had to go through. I have posted what I am about to say in other places, so some of you may have read it already. Bear with me, though. I wrote it as a tribute to my boy. This Holiday season has not been easy, so far, I anticipate that when I open the Christmas boxes and find his stocking, I shall lose all emotional control, as I did when he died. This actually helps me feel better about him being gone. Thank you for making this particular thread. BTW more to topic, the Vets and specialists did all they could, I am not sure I did all I could. That will haunt me the rest of my life. Murph was like a child to me, a living breathing creature full of love, caring, dedication and un-conditional affection.

    It was an early October Fall day, when we all went out to play. It was no different than any other morning, I know you like it that way. You, me, your brother and the trees. It was time to romp in the grass, for me to have grassy colored knees. You ran like you did when you were a small baby kitten. Me, chasing after you, as when I first got you, all gushy and smitten. We talked and meowed as you rolled on your side. A cat having fun, something I never denied. You, your brother and I, as your buddy your pal and your Dad, went back inside to have breakfast. We were all quite happy, not sad. We waited with devotion for your other awesome Daddy, the one you turn to for support, when you have been a bit testy. He had just returned from shopping and was eager to see your sweet face. You were so excited to see him, you stood by the front door. Your paw placed so gently, you could not wait anymore. We all went about the business at hand. The four of us, a family, all close and loving in our human-pet band.

    And then it happened from out of the blue. You started to cough, and hack and then violently spew. Oh, get the towels, you told Daddy, I ate grass today and made a mess, just as I always do. With a smile on his face Daddy cleaned up the mess. We had no idea of the next inevitable test. I saw from your eyes that things were not quite right. Your breathing was strained, and your legs, your legs were quite tight. I rushed to your side, and you ran quickly away. You are a rough tough kitty, you said, Daddy, I'll be OK. Your balance was quite shaky, and you staggered to walk. I screamed, Dear God, what is wrong. I wish you could talk. You struggled to stand, as you then ran down those stairs. You were scared and in pain, and MY GOD . . . answer my prayers. He is hurting he is meowing, what the hell do we do? And, we, the 2 Dads and your brother had not one single clue. I have to take him to the Vet, I have to do it now while I can. And, in your typical fashion, after seeing that cage box, you ran. On two front legs, because the rear ones had failed. I felt helpless and awkward, and then my heart flailed. My instinct came fast, and I knew I had to move fast. You, my baby boy, were in pain, and I did not want that to last.

    So, Daddy held you close as I opened the cage door. You, my baby went in on your own, as never before. I want to say that you knew then, we were trying to help your cause. We felt devastated inside when we felt your cold paws. You meowed so loudly at the top of your lungs. All the way to the Vet place, I took slow ladder rungs. I did not want to panic, for fear you would know how I felt. As I looked in your marble eyes, you told me, it's ok Daddy, we deal with what we are dealt. That answer would not do, as I rushed you inside. I wanted to save you, to hold you, to have you back where you reside.

    The doctor came to see us, and you were frisky and loud. I think you were pretending to please me, to make me so very proud. You were in pain as you crawled across that cold doctor's table. You with just two legs working, you did what you were able. The doctor then told me, what I already knew. This was not a good thing to happen, the odds are too few. I want to give him the chance, dammit, he deserves the best that we got. I refuse to hear that you can't help him, and all my effort for naught. Don't tell me I can't have him the way that he was before. I want you to save him, I want nothing more. I carried you to the room in the back for the needle to your kitten veins. This was what had to be done, baby boy, I did not have the reigns. When you looked at me so intently through those beautiful dark eyes you must have then known. They then shaved your front paw, and you did not even moan. Good, baby kitty, I told you in love. DEAR GOD, where are you, is there a heaven above?

    You had medicine in your body, and presumably out of pain. I started to get angry, carrying frustration and disdain. Damn these doctors, don't they know what to do? How can they just leave you there with your paws turning blue? The time finally came, you needed advanced aggressive treatment, I took you to the other place. . . Then I saw the look on your bright furry face. It's OK Daddy, you are helping me now. You are doing what you can, before I take my last kitten bow.

    You were rushed in the clinic soon upon our arrival. I had to trust in myself and the doctors for your very survival. I hated this place, I had been here before. I knew you hated it too, as Vets you abhor. The doctor came to sit with me, and we had a long teary eyed chat. I have to tell you the truth right now Sir, the odds are not good for your cat. He is not just a cat to me, he is part of my life, my child. The doctor was quite patient, as he knew I was riled. All I ask of you, Doc is that you give him that one small chance. I want him to have a life where he can play and run and prance. But if you are telling me now, his quality of life will suffer. I am telling you, don't lie to me I don't want that buffer.

    I was not able to see you as the Doc and I had our talk. I can only wonder what you were feeling as you listened to the other cats squak. He went to the back room, to begin the strong healing dose. I called the two people to whom I feel most close. I don't know what will happen to him, guys, I said full of tears. He's been with me so long, for nine very good years. They both tried to tell me it was going to be OK . Just then the doctor came in . . . This was going to be the sad end to our very long day. He said I tried to insert the needle in the front right paw. But, he can't put any weight on it, see here, it's blue colored and raw. In a burst full of all intense emotion and a river of tears, I knew then the time had come. What do I do now, Doc, I said as I became numb. I told the Doctor to then bring me my sweet baby Boy. Bring me my friend, my companion, my pal, my son, my world, my joy.

    I made final calls to the guys I needed to hear most of all. I have him in my arms now, guys, and we have to make the call. My baby looked at me with those deep marble eyes, and I swear he did say. It's time for me to go, daddy, I'll be OK.

    We all were there waiting for what was to come, what we knew we would all dread. We petted your fur, and kissed your sweet head. I asked you to forgive me for what I had to do. But, my baby boy, I do not want you in pain anymore, I want you to be you. I held you as close as I could without harming you more. Both Daddies and a Doc trying to comfort, but all knowing the score. As the needle went into the soft tan kitten fur, I watched your eyes. These were our final moments together, these were our last heartfelt good-byes.

    As you slowly passed on to wherever kittens go, I saw my reflection, and I knew then and there. It was a good life, my sweet kitten baby boy, I'm so glad we had this brief time to share.

    I love you, buddy. Rest peacefully. Take care of things until I get there. Copywrite 10/02 BTD E
  8. jamming

    jamming Banned

    bt, that was awesome and magnificent.....Murph is an awesome cat and you reached a part of my heart that all who have lost someone close has. There are so many unloved cats out there that I hope that when your loss is less painful that you can find a new buddy and pal, and teach him to play the games that Murph would of enjoyed. For me there were two cats in a short time, one was a rescued kitten who went schizo when she matured, probably due to malnutrition as a kitten, I bawled like a big baby when I took her to go to sleep. The second was a beautiful girl who was so bright and loving but she thought she was faster than a car, I thought I would die of heartbreak too.
  9. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    emotional post bt - good work.

    theres no proper comparison to be made between the loss of a pet and the loss of a human loved one - the differences are just too great.

    there are so few opportunities for us in our life amongst humans to experience the inexplicable glory that is the unconditional love, adoration and unquestioning commitement of our pets.

    i think that for most of us, the love we share with our pets is the closest we will come to experiencing perfect love while we are alive, and the stunning thing is that we almost always find ourselves on the short end of that stick - i know i have come home from a crappy day to the perfect love of my dog, and pushed him away out of a frustration solely my own, from my own selfish little world.

    our pets always turn the other cheek, always give us another chance to do the right thing and always show us love, no matter what we have done or will do.

    i truly believe they are little gods walking amongst us. what else could they be, with such keen and perfect perception of everything that truly matters?

  10. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    During the same year(1999), I lost my grandmother(the one in the nursing home) and my three year old cat. I shed only modest tears for my grandmother because I was happy for her that she was finally dead. For eight years, her life was lying in bed all day long with an hour or two of sitting in a wheelchair to read her Bible or to be fed by nurses or family members.

    When my cat died, I cried uncontrollably like a little boy. I could barely see enough to make my way out of the woods after I buried him. I cried more for him because his life was cut short. I didn't cry much over my grandmother because it was, in my opinion, eight years after her time.

    I feel just as close to my current cat who is now seven months old. She is there when I walk in the door after work. She is there on my bed when I wake up. She is on my desk when I am at my computer. She is there when I step out of the shower. She jumps out of nowhere sometimes when I am walking and latches onto my leg. She is a very affectionate cat, and I am going to cry a river when she finally dies.

    Oh yeah, I talk to my cat quite often. I know I'm not the only one who talks to pets. Sometimes we have some very good conversations. Usually it's about how pretty her purple necklace looks on her(it's actually a flea collar, but don't tell her that!) or how yummy the new "improved" Meow Mix is. OK, I'll stop scaring everyone. ;)
  11. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Good posts by all and thank you especially to btdude, Rredline and Domhain.

    I feel exactly the same way about my cat of nearly 14 years. Even though he is completely healthy I know that he has more years behind him than in front of him.

    Three years ago as an outpatient I was having a heart diagnostic test performed on me. We expected to find evidence that I may need a simple angioplasty. Immediately after the test I was told I could die at any moment and I needed emergency open-heart surgery. I was taken to ICU and four hours later they operated.

    Because I have no family during the few hours between the test and the surgery I made phone calls to arrange things in the event I died or if I survived which would mandate an extended hospital stay. I wasn't happy about maybe not waking up the next day but I was ready to accept whatever would happen. That is with one exception. What would happen to my son who also happens to be a cat? It was only thinking of him that caused the tears to come.

    Well since I am posting this it is obvious I survived. Now three years later as I type this Rocky or Rocket as he is nicknamed is where he always is--beside me with his unconditional love. Regardless of which us dies first, in my heart he will always be beside me.
  12. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Only scary thing here is that you seem to think you are alone in your adoration and appreciation of your pet.

    You aint! Were all like that, just some more willing to fess up.


    I have 3 cats right now, one of whom is mildly retarded to the point where all he does is play and purr and snug. NEVER ONCE has he hissed or growled EVER. Its downright eerie - he is a LOVE MACHINE. He may not always remember where the food dish is, but his ability to sense my mood and react is uncanny.

    When he shuffles off I will be a fucking basket case. I love that animal so much I dont even know how I will manage without.

    Pets are really special gifts.

  13. damonlab

    damonlab Veteran Member

    I can't have any pets in my dorm and my mom took my dog. :( She had always considered it to be her dog.

    That being said, I see nothing wrong with paying large vet bills for surgery and medication for pets. I would not condone surgery and medication if it was known that the rest of the animal's life would be in pain.
  14. btdude

    btdude Veteran Member

    Buddy, a life is a life. And we all, in different ways I suppose, cherish life. To many, a pet is a property to keep. For me, and others pets are part of us. I am happy that you have precious time to spend with your fur baby. I am happy your fur baby has precious time to spend with you. Carry on. (wink) ;)
  15. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    A fine tribute to Murphy, thank you for sharing it.

    I've outlived a few if my Irish Setter buddies over the years, and it tears me up every time. I swear I'm not going to go through this again, but I guess they'll always be a part of my life.

    On a good note:
    About a year ago, Duncan (my 7 year old setter) and I were outside, perhaps 100' apart, when I noticed he looked in near panic; looking left, right, left, right. I moved a few feet and he came running over like nothing was wrong. WTF?
    It turns out that cataracts were forming and he couldn't see me if I was standing still, but could if I moved. He was living in a very foggy world, but was so good with his other senses that you didn't even notice.
    Tests showed that he wasn't a very good cantidate for surgery as his retinas were degraded about 50%. I asked the docs if surgery would improve his quality of life. Yes, they said, although they couldn't promise how much or for how long.
    Well, I had them do the surgery.
    The change in him is something to see. He was a great dog before, but now it's like having a puppy all over again. I don't think I've ever seen a dog enjoy life so much. Even the squirrels know they're in deep shit now.
    Been about a year, and even the docs are amazed, and the retinas are holding up fine.

    Yea, some folks thought I was nuts as it cost me about $2000, but, F 'em. I know that it was some of the best money that I've EVER spent.

  16. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Man, I needed a good, warm story like that, jfcjrus. Thank you.
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Let me tell a warm wonderful story, Leon. I live on Roosevelt Island. No dogs are allowed on the island. It is wonderful. No dog shit on the sidewalks! Makes me feel warm and wonderful whenever I take a walk.
  18. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    I do not like the idea of pets. I do not like the selfishness that having pets is a sign of. In fact, I hate people who keep dogs. I have killed plenty of dogs in my life. None for sport mind you. I just will not abide by a threatening dog. If your dog comes on my property, or I am walking through the woods and your dog threatens me, I will shoot it. That simple. Living around the back 40 of Military Bases is a good place to be if you want to kill vicious dogs.

    Now, I can respect some peoples love of their pets. I respect how a pet can make them feel. Where I run into a problem with a pet is when the owner has to sacrafice or their kids have to sacrafice the essentials for the sake of the pet. I have a problem with animals being chained up. it is not much better to have the animal locked in the house all day either. Dogs on a ranch, Dogs for protection, or Police Dogs are fine. Trey's pit bull that is chained on the balcony of his apartment is not fine. Buffy and Edmonds poodle is not fine. The family dog that has spent his whole life in small spaces, from the puppy mill to the crowded cage in the <i>pet</i> store, to the smaller and smaller back yards of America's newest suburbs, is not fine.

    Dogs live in packs. Dogs need to feel a part of something in the same way that a child needs to feel part of something. Keeping a dog isolated is as cruel to the dog as keeping a child isolated is. Most people love their dogs because they think their dog is so happy to see them when they come home. Most dogs are happy to see anybody. Especially the person that feeds them and will let them out to pee so that they do not get beat on.

    Just to make myself clear, I do not hate animals. I hate what <i>pet</i> owners do to animals. I hate what animals become when we mess with them.

  19. Sharondippity

    Sharondippity Sweetness and Light

    My grrls

    My cat and my dog are great company and I love them dearly. I hug my dog even when I'm late for work. I always take time to pet my cat when I'm trying to eat, type and pet the jealous dog at the same time. I don't date anyone who doesn't love my pets. I have done a good job, if I don't say so myself, of training my dog to have good manners. She doesn't beg, or jump on people, and she doesn't yip. The cat has trained me to be a good owner- ha ha. If either one develops a terminal disease, I will keep them comfortable for as long as possible and then put them down if treatment isn't worth it. I hope to have that strength when the time comes. The vet I hope will not try and guilt me into unneccessary treatmetnts.
  20. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Wapu, I agree with many of your points. However, I think my cat is perfectly happy even though she is "locked up all day" in my house.

    I agree that chaining up dogs in tiny backyards, pens, etc. is cruel. There is a beautiful yellow lab(I think) in the yeard next to the parking lot where I park at work, and it is in a pen that I would estimate to be about 4' x 10' in dimension. He runs around in circles because he can only take a few steps before reaching the end of his cage. He does have a small dog house to protect him from the weather, but I don't see how much good it can do when the temperature drops into the single digits. I have never, not even once, seen the owners of that dog actually do anything with him. I see the guy getting out of his car after returning home, and he just walks right past the dog without paying him any attention at all. I just don't understand why these people even want a dog? They obviously don't want companionship from it.

    I bet you hate zoos, huh? I think some aspects are okay, but I have a problem with the whole "training" thing. Why can't a lion just be free to roam around the savannah? I don't care to see one running through hoops, and it's a shame that many do.

    One thing that really irks me is when animals are held to human standards. Killing wild animals who attack humans is barbaric if you ask me. Why punish a creature that doesn't understand what right and wrong are?

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