Dog died with dignity

It was a beautiful spring day. We sat in the circular room. Through an open window, we could see the spring colors just starting to paint themselves into the landscape. The breeze nudged the cherry blossoms and forsythias just beginning to give birth. The room was filled with sunshine, and it was an almost perfect day.

My wife and I sat in the corner of the room with my best friend, Argus. He sat next to me with his head on my lap. His eyes were filled with pain and sadness, yet he seemed to be comforted by the warmth of the sun on this almost perfect day.

The sound of footsteps broke the silence. A stranger introduced herself, and Argus’ eyes seemed to shift from suffering to understanding. The stranger sat next to Argus for a few minutes, then helped my friend to a table and inserted a syringe. In moments, my friend, Argus, was gone on this almost perfect day.

I know many of us have euthanized our pets. It’s always a sad time. We feel we’ve lost our best friends, and we reflect back on all of the good and bad times we shared together. We hope we did the right thing. We vow we’ll never have another pet. With tears in my eyes, I picked the body of Argus up and brought him home.

Argus was old and in uncontrollable pain. He couldn’t walk and had lost control of his physical functions. I’m sure the end came as a relief to his pain and suffering. He passed away with dignity on this almost perfect day.

At the time, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was raising moral and political questions concerning assisted suicide. The politicians were amending legislation regulating how they thought we should live and creating new laws determining the way they knew we should die.

The moralists testified that taking your own life is not God’s way. Yet Christ sacrificed his life for most of them on the cross. These same zealots would have us live a life of purity—mandated by their cloistered, self-righteous ideals—and die bed-ridden without human dignity.

As I drove home that day, I reflected on how fortunate Argus was to be spared the pain and suffering of a terminal sickness. I wondered why we don’t have the same legal, political and moral rights as our animal friends. I wondered why we don’t have the same compassion and feelings for each other that we share with our treasured pets. It should be our individual choice—not the choice of moralists, politicians or the government—to die with dignity.

Goodbye, Argus. Without you, I will never again have an almost perfect day.