Quality of Life

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Quality of Life

by Barbara Techel

If you have ever had to deal with a beloved animal being diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can probably relate to the tough choices in determining a quality of life for your furry friend. My sweet, chocolate lab, Cassie Jo was diagnosed with bone cancer in November 2004 and I thought it was one of the hardest things I ever dealt with in my life. I had come to accept it as life lessons it was teaching me. I was able to help her live out her days with dignity and grace and when it was time for her to cross over to the other side, I believe it was a beautiful blessing that we, as humans, are able to help our furry friends cross over and relieve them of pain. We had the choice of giving her the eternity of life again so that she could be free of pain and run through fields with the youth of her first years on earth.

Cassie Jo loved my husband and me with such loyalty and unconditional love. The word grateful has become one of my favorite words in the past 8-months. I am so grateful for each day we continued to have her with us. In determining her form of treatment there were not many choices for us, as her cancer is in an odd spot and partially in her spine. The option we chose for her gave her the quality of life I wished for and she lived virtually free of pain, though her cancer continued to grow. It amazed me to watch her since being diagnosed with cancer. She really has no clue of what that meant. That in itself is such a blessing for animals, for as humans, cancer is a difficult word for us to hear.

She continued to live her life as dogs do? days when the smells were strong in the air, her paws become light and it was as if she is a cartoon character, and her ?twinkle toes? and strong sense of smell took her down the road to investigate. As we called her home, she ran towards us, her ears flapping in the wind, and my heart literally caught in my throat as I watched her. Unbeknownst to her did she had a life threatening disease. She was just happy to be a dog. It also makes my heart sing to know that I have made the right ?life? choices for her and she continued to live life to the fullest.

Some of the lessons learned through this experience are the lessons of learning to live each day, roll with it, and not look back. Take each day for what it is and for what you have been given. Make the best choice based on your life, your family and what is best for your furry friend. I never thought I would really know when it is ?time,? but that become easier for me to handle. I really believe now, with all my heart that Cassie Jo let me know. We have let her know that when she is ready, we would be there for her, to help her. It is the most compassionate choice and ultimate form of love that we could give back to her for all that she gave to us in unconditional love and loyalty.

Quality of life for you and your furry friend will be a very personal choice. But, know that the choice you make is based on what is in your heart and that you will do what is best. Have no guilt for any choice you will make? know that your furry friend will be waiting for you, wagging her tail, waiting to cuddle with you once again someday? We have had many furry friends in our life and I actually look forward to the day I will see them all again and wonder how my lap will hold them all!

Barbara Techel writes a monthly column for the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin paper called the Depot Dispatch. The name of her column is ?For the Love of Animals.? She shares her home with her loving husband John and her current spiritual fur companions, Kylie, Frankie and Dani. Writing for Barbara is a way of sharing with others her truth and beliefs. You can visit her on her website at http://www.joyfulpaws.com

COPYRIGHT ? 2005, Barbara Techel. All rights reserved.

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