When Is The Best Time To Die?
Updated: Aug 12
It is sometimes difficult to know whether our animal companions want our assistance to leave their bodies or prefer to leave in their natural time. Our emotions get in the way of clearly hearing and knowing what our animals want or need. Choosing euthanasia can sometimes leave us doubtful; did we do this too soon? Did we wait too long? Despite practicing Buddhist teachings and meditation and taking vows not to destroy life, I have come to honor my animals and their choices, euthanizing some severely suffering. I am still not convinced whether this act of kindness has been in the highest good for their soul's journey. What if suffering is a part of our soul's contract - agreements we might have made before birth to the experiences and encounters in this lifetime that shape our lives, give meaning, and help us to evolve and grow? Perhaps suffering burns off karma for our next lifetime? As one Zen monk proposed, "We don't euthanize people. Why do we euthanize animals?"
That being said, I do my best as an animal communicator to honor what the animal has chosen or to support the animal's person in their decision. I listen to my intuition and leave my personal philosophy out of it. Because I, Diana, do not know what is best.
I know that animals can appear much worse than they actually are and may not be ready to cross over, despite their appearance, lack of appetite, and energy level. Recently I was asked to talk to a horse to be put down that afternoon at 3 P.M. After two failed attempts to get him standing, Double Dutch remained recumbent. Apparently, in pain, he had been down for sixteen hours, which can cause a horse's muscles to atrophy. Knowing he had former hip and knee injuries, his people believed he would never walk again. A euthanasia appointment was scheduled, and I was called to tell Double Dutch how much he would be missed and to ask him if there was anything he would like his people to know before he passed.
The horse told me he wasn't ready to die and needed some time. He told me he would stand again. I heard the word "acupuncture." When I scanned his body, I felt severe stiffness in his mid-back area and a dull ache shooting toward his anus. "Chiropractor" entered my mind as I felt a vertebra in this area might be out of alignment and pressing down on a nerve. His entire right side (his injury was on the left side) was in severe discomfort.
While speaking to his people over the phone, Double Dutch stood up! His people canceled the euthanasia appointment. Their horse has continued to stand and trot. The acupuncturist and chiropractor are working to lessen the horse's pain and bring him back into balance.
Ernie, a beautiful orange tabby cat, was to be euthanized that afternoon. His appetite was dwindling, and all the medication given to maintain his quality of life was no longer working. This was the second euthanasia appointment - the first appointment had been canceled after Ernie had run under the bed.
Ernie told me his time was soon and that he would welcome assistance if this is what his person Jill wanted, but he did not want to go that afternoon. He welcomed the healing Jill was sending him. "It relaxes me. I like the feeling. It's love that I feel. Jill is sending me love. This is fine with me. She doesn't have to stop. I am uncomfortable at times, but it's not unbearable. I will tell her when I'm ready."
I felt nausea in the tummy and burning throughout the upper torso. It felt it was hard for Ernie to swallow and breathe. Overall, he felt heavy and achy.
Ernie told me how Jill and her husband, Ian, could best support him at this time and also what made him feel good - like stretching vertically across Ian's chest while he watched TV. Ernie said his purpose in Jill and Ian's life was to be a "buffer" that would ease the atmosphere of their hectic lives. He said he felt panic in Jill and wanted me to reassure her that he would let her know when it was time. He wanted her to relax and trust herself. "I will pass," Ernie said, "when Jill is ready."
I told Jill the three essential things to share with Ernie before he passed:
Reminisce about the good times. Sing and be joyful. Our animals want us to be happy. They don't want their deaths to destroy us.
Celebrate their life. Although it's all right to cry and grieve, remain happy as you celebrate your lifetime together. One client invited friends over and had a cake and balloons! Animals like to hear how appreciated they were and what their companionship meant to us.
Give your animals permission to leave. This is important. Our animals need to know we will survive without them. They must know they don't have to stay longer and suffer for us.
I have worked with many animals who hang on and on for their person's sake. When the human truly lets go and sincerely tells the animal that it's all right to leave, their companion usually passes soon afterward. Remember that animals can feel our intentions. We must mean what we say.
Animals deeply feel our emotions. Surrendering and accepting their passing helps them to transition peacefully.
Jill asked Ernie if he would go into her yoga studio when he was ready to die, so she would know to call the veterinarian to euthanize him. Jill knew Ernie never went willingly into the studio. He stayed clear of that room, where Jill had always cornered him to put him in his carrier for visits to the vet.
Four days passed. Jill woke up one morning to find Ernie sitting in the yoga room! This time he welcomed the vet into his home. With assistance, he passed in peace that afternoon when everyone was ready.