Fino



Some of the most poignant moments I spend as a veterinarian are those spent with my clients assisting the  transition of my animal patients from this world to the next. When living becomes a burden, whether from pain or   loss of normal functions, I can help a family by ensuring  that their beloved pet has an easy passing. Making this  final decision is painful, and I have often felt powerless  to comfort the grieving owners.   That was before I met Shane.

I had been called to examine a ten-year-old blue heeler named Belker who had developed a serious health problem.  The dog's owners - Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little  boy, Shane - were all very attached to Belker and they were  hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for  Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and   Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane could learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm,  petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he  understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. 

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without  any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I  know why."  

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his  mouth next stunned me - I'd never heard a more comforting  explanation.  He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how  to live a good life - like loving everybody and being nice,  right?"  The four-year-old continued, "Well, animals already  know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

By Robin Downing, D.V.M.  

The grieving owners are Javan, Quinn and Kenny Carson.

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