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Most owners in my practice tend to remain with their pets during euthanasia. When they don’t, however, it’s usually for one or more of these perfectly acceptable reasons:
1. Some owners believe that their inevitably explosive emotional reaction to the procedure will mar a pet’s final moments by heaping loads of angst onto an already stressful situation.
2. They’re scared of watching death happen. It’s my impression that certain owners are even superstitious about it.
3. They don’t want their last memories of a pet to be colored by a clinical procedure. These tend to be owners who are scared of needles or blood, but also those who have a fundamental distaste for anything medical.
4. If they’re honest with themselves, some people say that the primary reason for being present during a pet’s last moments is so that they don’t feel bad about not being there. (Reference No. 6 above.) It’s my take that these highly rational owners aren’t being cold or callous — they’re just a different breed of people than most.
I’ll readily confess that I’d always want to be with my pets in their final moments. But I'd never judge anyone who elected to hand over that carrier or leash, as long as they absolutely trust a veterinarian to tend to those last conscious seconds as if the animal were her own pet.
And this is as it should always be.
Check out more opinion pieces on Vetstreet.
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