Her book is a wonderful guide through the journey from form to spirit, and it has served me well. I had always wondered at the difference between the way we approach death of our human loved ones and of our animal loved ones. We often extend the life of humans to a painful extreme, and take away any chance of a peaceful death at home with the loved ones. Yet we are often all too quick to dispatch an animal into spirit. I feel that we often feel inadequate to the task of seeing them, of being with them, as they complete their lives. We are just learning (in the western world) that death is to be embraced as the last adventure of life...and to approach it with less fear and more acceptance.
The sadly mis-used word euthanasia means literally, from the Greek, 'good death', and in ancient Greece this was achieved in many ways, assisted suicide among them. I have asked for medical assistance in only a few occasions: when the animal in my care was suffering intolerably, and when there was no way to mitigate that suffering. In each case the cat had fluid in her lungs, and trouble breathing. This is a frightening experience, and prevents a peaceful passing. With kidney failure, a too-common cause of death these days, due to inedible ingredients in cat food, the passing is, as with humans, quite peaceful, with the worst effect being nausea. Pain medication is available if needed, and as with humans now, hospice care is more widely used.
Hospice for our animal companions is coming into its own now, with Bright Haven in Santa Rosa providing it, as well as Bee Holistic. One of the local veterinarians has expressed an interest in promoting and providing hospice services to our beloved animals....stay tuned!