Friday, April 18, 2008

Life-or-death decisions

This item was brought to my attention by friend and co-worker Christie Campbell. Angel Ridge Animal Rescue is running a newspaper ad in the O-R seeking donations to cover a $5,000 vet bill for an Australian Shepherd mix named Bandi (those are other Aussies shown above). According to the group, the dog was hit by a car, and when the owner took her to the vet and found her back legs were paralyzed, he said he planned to take her home and put her out of her misery. But someone intervened, an operation was performed and now Angel Ridge is seeking $5,000 to cover the costs. There are some times when, despite our love for animals, the best thing we can do for them is end their suffering. And, as Christie pointed out, imagine what that $5,000 could do for animals who had not suffered such a catastrophic injury. I once had a golden retriever who was suffering from an incurable ailment. There was zero chance of recovery, and the dog was clearly in distress. After much deliberation, I took him up over the hill and shot him, as country people often do in these instances. I loved that dog, and I cried like a baby. But I did what was right for the animal. According to the Angel Ridge ad, even after the surgery, the Aussie mix still cannot walk. I have two Australian blue heelers, very similar in temperament to the Australian Shepherd, and they are EXTREMELY active dogs. It seems cruel to me to consign such a dog to a life in which it might be dragging its back legs behind it. I applaud the work that Angel Ridge is doing, and I would encourage people to financially support this group and others like it, but sometimes we have to make difficult decisions about what is best for a sick and injured animal, and sometimes life can be a fate worse than death.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We bestow our animals with human qualities. An animal is "a fighter" because it lives with only two legs. It's good hearted because it still comes up to you eagerly after you yell at it. But animals can't talk, and we don't know if they can reason as we know it. Would they rather just die and get on to doggie heaven? Does a dog with no hind legs who has been set up with a dolly to allow it to get around feel like God's work for it is not done because it didn't die?

Believe me, I know what it means to love a dog. I had Chinese Shar Pei with skin and hormonal problems that probably cost me $5,000 in medical bills over its 15-year life. And I paid them gladly. But chemotherapy or major surgery? I think there are people who would benefit from the money earmarked for this kind of canine medical help.

April 21, 2008 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Tracy J. said...

I am a huge animal lover but if one of my boys (two labs ages 12 & 9) got seriously and incurably sick I know I would rather put them down than force them to suffer through treatments that would limit their quality of life. My oldest dog Hank was very sick last year with a blocked bowel, when the vet told me and my husband that it would several hundred dollars to get him fixed up, I thought my husband would say no way, but we did what we could because the chance of geting well was very good. After $1200.00 he is still doing really well. I love my dogs and tell people that they are like children to me since I don't have any kids but still who are you keeping them around for? Yourself or the animal? I think it would be more beneficial to take the money in a case like this and use it to help the animals that are healthy to find good homes. As much as I love animals I don't believe that you can really have No Kill Shelthers because sometimes NOT putting them down is being inhumane.

April 21, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I have a Blue Heeler that I call the million-dollar dog. He twice has eaten foreign objects that required rather expensive surgery to remove them. But he's otherwise a very healthy, strong dog, and we love him, so it seemed like a good investment. At some point, were he 10 or 12 years old and in poor general health, I might make another decision. It's always a tough call to decide on what level of medical care is appropriate for ailing loved ones, whether they have two or four legs.

April 21, 2008 at 2:00 PM  

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