My hound has around two months left to live.
He could have more, if I was willing to do radiation therapy. But radiation therapy in dogs requires general anesthesia.
If Jake were a human, I could explain to him that such a month of sickness and scary hospital visits was to give him another possible year of life. But I can’t explain that to him. He would just be sick and scared and alone, and in an year or so he would die.
I feel it’s my duty as a pet owner to maximize the quality of his remaining life. To weigh that against both the amount of life remaining and the amount of life lived.
I’ve had a puppy euthanized, for congenital spinal defects. It was horrible. This soft, trusting, baby of a dog who just knew that the pack leader would do what was best. Who knew I would fix things.
And I did.
Jake is a fine old hound. He’s had an easy life full of pack, good smells, chastened cats, murdered baby rabbits, regular treats, and tasty chewies. We’re going to all keep an eye on him. When his quality of life seems to be degrading, we will make the appointment to euthanize him.