Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at http://www.dawnfoss.tateauthor.com and http://www.dawnfoss.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Monday, August 29, 2016

How Should We Treat Pets When They're Dying?

Proverbs 12:10: "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
My cat Mandy was dying, but we did our best to make her last days the best they could be. It is a beautiful thing to care for humans, as I do as a nurse, but also to care for animals, living creatures that are also very precious.

Mandy had been with us for almost 11 years, since she was a kitten. She just turned 11 on 6/25. I'm thankful for the time we had with her; she was so sweet! Trying to make her food easier to eat, giving her lots of love, whatever we could do to support her was my goal. We kept her going for about 3 months after her diagnosis. The vet thought she likely had cancer. We had done what we could medically to see if this was reversible, but it was not. She was getting along pretty well overall at first, but then it seemed like she was suffering. It's healthy to have a spirit of life, care, and support in our interactions with living beings. There is so much death around us, killing, disrespect, selfishness when it comes to life, the inconvenience it brings to us, etc. It feels good to oppose that for the sake of life and well being for the suffering. Death is a natural part of life, as strange as that sounds to say it.

I am not supportive of assisted suicide for humans, but we would give morphine to comfort a human as they are dying. A barbiturate to put an animal to sleep is a merciful way to put a suffering animal to permanent rest. In the olden days, before they had this medicine, they would go out and shoot the animal if it was suffering. They don't have a soul, so for them it is literally the end of their lives when that time comes. For the human, their eternal destination becomes a reality at that moment. This is why it is so important to make sure a human sees a spiritual leader before dying, so they can make sure they have the opportunity to trust in Jesus Christ if they have rejected Him or were never given the opportunity to trust in Him before.

I asked my Pastor three months ago what he thought about the matter of euthanizing a pet, as I was struggling with this, and he said, "Although assisted suicide for humans is morally wrong, I don’t see any Biblical principles that would apply to animals. We are told to care for the lives of our animals (Proverbs 12:10), but it is in reference to how we treat them when they are alive, not if/when we put them down.

"I don’t believe you would be wrong in either choice. I would choose the option that gives your family the most peace. It is a difficult decision to make, but if you aren’t convinced it is time to put her down, I would wait. I am sure that you will have no doubt when that time has arrived (if ever). Our family has allowed our animals to die naturally and medically, but it depended on the animal and how much pain they were experiencing at the time."

I wanted to share that good advice, as it may help some of you if and when you are put in this situation.  I find it a very difficult, heart wrenching journey, and it's so important that we do the right thing and know we are doing the right thing so we can have peace about it.  

It came to a point that to continue to wait was only prolonging her suffering, because at that point she looked uncomfortable, like she didn't feel well pretty consistently, was throwing up blood, was incontinent, not able to clean herself, and not finding much pleasure in eating.  She hunched her body in a way that made me think she did not feel well.  

After three months of trying everything, medicine for her stomach, anti-nausea meds, steroids, giving her baby food, real food such as canned tuna and canned white meat chicken, grilled real chicken, every kind of cat food (even the expensive wet food), finding her favorites and buying those, softening her dry food with water, changing her dry food to a different flavor, giving her hard treats, filled treats, and soft treats, she was eating very little and has lost almost all her body fat.  She liked the filled treats "Temptations" the best, but had trouble eating any of them, as she had no teeth anymore but used to be able to swallow food whole.  She became light as a feather, bony, and her fur coat looked like it was too big on her.  

Maybe we waited too long, but she was still finding pleasure in being rubbed down by a freeze pop (still in the wrapper of course!), enjoyed listening to music with me (of my singing; she was my biggest fan!), looking out the window, snuggling with us, and at times eating, so we kept things going.  She really loved my daughter (and vice versa), so wanted to give them as much time together as possible before she had to go back to college.  We didn't want Mandy to experience that loss of seeing Rebecca go, either, and it was important that Rebecca was there to say those last good-byes to our cat and support her in her final hours.

It was a beautiful day, and we loved her, pet her, snuggled with her, and she was very affectionate.  I again tried to feed her, but she was refusing everything.  We put her in the cat carrier and brought her to the humane society.  The sun shone through the window and she seemed to enjoy looking out the window and feeling the warmth of the sun.  We put in my oldest CD, which she knew very well from hours of me playing it, and it was appropriately entitled, "Beauty in Pain."  My daughter sat next to her and spoke softly to her, which also seemed to comfort her.  She meowed a little.  We got to the Humane Society and said our final good byes, walking away and sobbing at times.  After a few minutes, she was brought back to us in her carrier.  We brought her home and buried her, and had a funeral service for her.  My garden was not well kept this year, but we were able to pick enough beautiful flowers to support three small bouquets for my husband, daughter and myself.  We said some kind words, and then put them on her grave site.  I still watch vigil over her grave to make sure no animals dig her up.  It comforts me to know she is still on our property.  She was such a blessing to our lives, and we thank God for her.

God used many animals in Scripture.  Some examples are: Jesus used a donkey to ride on, a donkey to speak to a prophet, a large fish to swallow Jonah, a dove to communicate to Noah whether or not land was found, and He will ride a horse during the Battle of Armageddon.  He used pigs to dispose of some demons, a rooster to alert Peter's denials, lions to destroy Daniel's enemies, and a raven to feed Elijah. 

If you own an animal or animals, I hope you are a wise steward and a loving caretaker of these precious little beings put in your care.  I believe that people who abuse animals are acting in an evil way, and will be judged by God for it as an evildoer.  Show kindness to all of God's creatures, especially to humans, and give them your utmost respect and care as you value life and honor the Giver of Life.

This post is dedicated to Mandy.
As an indoor cat, she loved feeling the fresh breeze when I'd first open the window in the porch.

The love seat on the porch was her favorite spot.

My daughter was her best friend.
 She loved to be scratched!
 Especially in her last days, rubbing a freeze pop was her favorite thing to do.  She'd rub the pop, then rub Rebecca.  Rub the pop, then rub Rebecca.  You get the idea!

More snuggle time!
Tried everything to try to get her to eat.

We will miss you, little one!  You fought a good fight and stayed loving to the end!

Rest in peace.

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