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Mercy killing for my dog?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Lulamae, May 2, 2006.

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  1. Lulamae

    Lulamae
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    Satnam all-
    I am a new member & feel a little self-conscious about making a formal introduction, so I'll do it here quickly: I have been practicing Kundalini yoga over the last five or six years and because of this have developed an interest in the Sikh tradition, although at the moment I am not terribly knowledgeable. Sikhism seems to me to be the wisest of the religions I have studied, so I feel safe asking my questions knowing they will be informed by compassion and ethical thought rather than mere dogma. So I thank you all for this forum. Okay...

    I'm looking for help deciding what to do for my dog Jane. She is a Llasa Apso, which is a small breed (12-14 pounds) and she is elderly--almost 18 years old. Her body is quite "worn out" from age; she went blind and deaf 3 or 4 years ago, has severe arthritis, and has lost efffective use of her hind legs--she can use them, but is not coordinated enough to really stand and walk around.

    Around January, her body started to "waste," that is, she has lost an incredible amount of weight in a short time. (She lost 4 pounds and so now weighs 10 pounds.) The blood tests we took were inconclusive, but the vet says this would only be caused from something such as advanced cancer. She also said that it was amazing that the dog was still alive, that her "brain had outlived her body," because she is still mentally present, with only the tiniest signs of dementia. She said that I should put Jane to sleep because she didn't do any of the things dogs like to do, and was effectively "no longer a dog." She doesn't think it's humane to keep her alive.

    There's no question Jane's quality of life is diminished, but she still loves to eat and I get a strong sense that she still has a will to live. Llasas are feisty little dogs and this one has always been incredibly stubborn, so it makes sense that she would feel this way.

    The problem is, the vet says she's staying alive just for me, and I don't want her to suffer in order to make me happy.

    I started asking the Sikhs who teach my yoga class what they thought, and I was very surpised when they told me there was no clear answer, and one of them had in fact put his dog to sleep. I thought that Sikhs rejected mercy killing.

    So, I don't know what to do now. It looks like without any intervention from me, she will die a natural death in 3 or 4 weeks. But, it could be a painful death, such as her organs failing, etc. The vet told me that most people who put their dogs to sleep, if they have any regrets, it is that they didn't do it earlier because they didn't realize how much their dog was suffering until it was too late. So since she is so close to death and has no intention of leaving me, I wonder if I should just make the decision for her in order to lessen her suffering. Is that my obligation as her caretaker?

    This is so hard. I would be grateful to hear your opinions.
     
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  3. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa
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    Dear Lulamae

    I am really sorry to hear about you dilema

    I would jsut mention what we usually do in case of terminal cases of humans , I mean the cases who are jsut dying in hospital .

    I think in western world lot of thinking and debate has already resulted in some guidlines which are quite ethical in such cases .
    Well in case of humans Mercy killings in not prevalent butthe other good potion is Vry good pain relief . In hospital we use very strong pankilers like Morphine and just leave patient on Intravenous fluids and usually patient passes away peacfully in couple of days .
    In sikhism I havent found anything against doing such a thing ( puting dog to sleep to help him out of pain ) and anyway your intentions are good , so dont worry about the spirtual expect much in this particular case

    So the options are : if you dont want to put to sleep due to some reason then best way is contact your vet for the pain relief andjsut wait till Akal Take him Back from his body

    May Akal Help you in this time



    Jatinder Singh
     
  4. Navdeep86

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    hi 1st post hehe sorry no offence or insult just my point of view .. well how are u ? well dun be sad life n death we dun control it who knows fate n destiny today here tomorrow gone ? his time came he need to be somwhere else with someone else who is more needy than you ? ... maybe i put it in this way if somone suffering so much eg: war/ car crash broken bones,partially blind glass debris bullets in skin/body etc.. internal bleeding stuff like that etc etc etc...rather than suffering n u know he will not make it will u prefer hanging him on for a few weeks more for yr ownself ? unless morphine is allowed on pet <NOT SURE> just imagine yrself u cant die u cant live cant even die peacefully have to suffer better to suffer one time than suffering everyday well you dun have any bad intention to kill ? u dun abuse or torture him rite..relaxs mercy nah pray to god bless him

    we born we celebrate with joy we die we cry why? supposed to be happy rite going back 2 heaven

    well sorry if provoke u just relaxs..

    cheers
    deep
     
  5. Lulamae

    Lulamae
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    drkhalsa and Navdeep86--

    Thank you for your responses.

    dr khalsa- it sounds like you're talking about hospice for dogs. They do actually have few programs like this but not close to where I live in California. I have a feeling the vet wouldn't let me do it that way, because she wants her to be put down and so would just use my asking for more painkillers as a support for her argument. However, I will ask her. The only objection I have to a method like this is, she would have to be on painkillers for a while (a few weeks, versus a few days), and the painkillers would make her "out of it" mentally, and since she isn't senile and likes eating, likes to be petted, etc. I'm not sure it would improve her quality of life.

    This suggestion has helped me realize that one of the main issues I'm struggling with is, how much is she suffering, and how good is her quality of life. No actual disease has been diagnosed, although the vet suspects she has cancer. Most of what is ailing her is due to old age. I have seen a few relatives recieve hospice care and both times they were in such physical pain that they preferred to be knocked out with pain killers than be conscious. I don't think Jane is at that point yet.

    I appreciate your addressing the spiritual aspect; that is what I am most concerned with. Another Sikh I spoke with said the same thing about intention--that since it is made with love, whatever I choose will be the "right" thing. But, don't animals have karma? I thought the Sikhs' view was that we should meet the suffering of others with compassion, but allow it anyway, because whatever they're going through is between them and God?


    Rajdeep86- Jane isn't riddled with bullets and hemorraging internally. She is old, and possibly has a terminal illness. I don't think this is an apt comparison.

    "life n death we dun control it who knows fate n destiny today here tomorrow gone ? his time came he need to be somwhere else with someone else who is more needy than you ?"

    The point is, I AM controlling it if I put her to sleep.

    "well sorry if provoke u just relaxs.."

    Why would you post a message that you thought might provoke me? Do you think telling me to "just relax" (with the word "relax" misspelled) is appropriate in this circumstance? It appears you have put no thought into this response whatsoever. It is just juvenile.

    Any potential posters- It is not my intention to criticize responses; hopefully Navdeep86's insensitive reply is an isolated case.

    I would love to keep hearing others' opinions, particularly if they are informed by your own experience or by Sikhism.
     
  6. Navdeep86

    Navdeep86
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    Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh

    Please be more courteous towards sangat when replying to threads, and try to reply in a positive manner with no personal attacks.
    Thanks
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh

    hi sorry typo error hehe... relaxs =relax well it was just my 2cent review...didnt want to offend or insult anyone

    cheers
    deep:u):
     
  7. Lulamae

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    I don't understand what you're getting at. I know it was a typo; you don't have to explain that. Are you apologizing?
     
  8. vijaydeep Singh

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    Gurfateh

    Das just wantsa to say that in Sikhs animals and humans are treated difffernatly(kundalini Yoga people may think otherwise but with Sikhs we have diverse views).

    So if it is good for jane to die and docters are sayiing so then kill her.Do not attach importance to body as her sprit will take other body.
     
  9. Lulamae

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    Thank you all for your responses. Last week, I realized her kidneys had been failing for some time. This is a gradual process, not a sudden complete shutdown, so the symptoms didn't weren't obvious at first. She started barking in pain, and became withdrawn. I felt like at that moment she had losts interest in the outside world and just wanted the pain to stop. She already had a weak heart and had clearly been tired of living for a while--but this was the first time she felt like she lost the will to live. So I drove her to the vet on the spot and we put her down. She didn't react when the vet gave the shot of anaethesia (which is somewhat painful) and it turned out she barely had a pulse when the doctor looked for a vein to inject the actual heart-stopping drug. So I know she was close to death anyway. She probably would have passed within the week, and I wanted a natural death for her, but I was afraid she would die in pain. I feel like I "wussed out" and didn't trust the universe to take her in the proper way, that I interferred in something I didn't really have a right to do, but I also know that she was tired of living and entrusted her care to me, and was okay with going. So...it's over. Thank you all so much for your guidance. It has meant a lot to me.
     
  10. vijaydeep Singh

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    Gurfateh
    We all have one soul,ie God but sprit can be differnt(apperantly).He sprit may take other body or may be desroyed and soul be one with God.God only knows.Devote more of your mind for God then to say creations like jane or any other object or human.Akal(eternal) one that changest not.So let Lord God be with usalways.
     

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