Aug 09, 2016 12:50 AM GMT
NYT: Our family dog, a 14-year-old terrier, is currently living with my us in Paris. She has made the trans-Atlantic flight three times in the past year (crated in the belly of the plane) when we return home for various family events. The trip is stressful for her (and for me), but she has always rebounded quickly to her normal self, which is a pretty energetic and healthy dog. Recently, however, her health has declined a bit: less energy, hearing loss, brief moments of apparent confusion and an as-yet-unexplained brief seizure. But she is happy and devoted to my wife and me, enjoying meals and daily walks.
We are traveling back to the United States soon, and she has been checked out by a vet and cleared to fly. My bigger concern is the return to Paris two months later. Even if her health remains visibly stable, she has clearly started what may be a slow decline. So at what point do I not subject her to the stress and risk of the flight? At what point do I reflect on her long and happy life and consider ending it peacefully at our home in America, where she grew up with my daughters, who are now in college?
Giving her to someone else to care for is not an option; we do not know such a person, and emotionally it would be difficult for us. Nor is placing her in a “no kill” shelter. I want her to be guided safely and peacefully to the end of her life, in the comfort of her family’s presence. If she were in pain or rapidly declining health with a fatal illness, I would not hesitate to put her out of her misery. Short of that, at what point is euthanasia an ethically viable option for a fading yet beloved family pet?