Dougie Howser

I’ve felt a little like Dougie Howser this week, where at the end of each episode he sits at his computer and contemplates what he has learnt. In a not too dissimilar position I’m also contemplating a life and death decision. That of my dog.

She’s 16 and a half and getting quite frail, and as she lives with me I have the ultimate responsibility, the only discretion, in whether she continues living or is put down. It’s not a decision I am looking forward to making.

While we were away at Uluru recently she was in a kennel, a supposedly very good one. However she came back with a UTI (urinary tract infection) and that necessitated a trip to the vets for some antibiotics. The vet informed me that she had very little muscle left in her hind legs and was very thin, the latter of which I knew already. She’s dropped to 18kg. It was suggested to me that she would be in pain, but wouldn’t tell me she was and would keep on doing her best for as long as she could. This I’m told wouldn’t be fair to her.

Trouble is, when I look at her she’s happy to see me, she doesn’t whimper and she does get up and move around. Sure, she’s a little weak in the legs sometimes, but she is the equivalent of 112 years old!

Over the past few days she’s had good and bad times. Bad times are when I find her effectively shivering, unsure if it’s cold or a muscle spasm. I don’t want to prolong her life if she’s in pain, but I don’t want to end it if she isn’t and I don’t want this decision in my hands.

If euthanasia is illegal, why can I put down my dog? Our bond is just as strong.

I have people to talk to, but at the same time I don’t want to speak about it. I have too many questions.

Author: Sam Heathfield

I'm in my 30's, live on the Gold Coast and have a passion for aviation and Qantas. Currently studying.