This has recently been doing the rounds on Facebook again, attributed to a six year old: 

“People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life. Like, loving everybody all the time, and being nice. Well dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

The sad fact is that we will all probably outlive our pets and throughout our lives will have to say goodbye to a number of loved animals.

The question of when to say goodbye and let them go is one I’ve had to make more times than I care to remember, and it doesn’t get any easier. 

When I realise that it may be getting to decision time, I ask myself, “Why am I keeping the animal alive? Is it for my sake or the animal’s?”

If the answer is, “For my sake,” then it is time to let go, as difficult as it may be.

I far to often see loved pets suffering because the owner cannot bear to say goodbye – this is not fair to the animal. It is also not fair to others who loved the dog; they may wish to remember it as a healthy loving pet, not a disease-ridden or old dog bearing no resemblance to the beloved pet.

We decided to play god when we started domesticating animals and took dogs and cats into our homes as companions. We cannot now abdicate our responsibility because it doesn’t suit us or is too difficult. When you take on a responsibility, you have to carry it through.

Talk to your vet about it, ask his/her advice about the quality of life the dog or cat has, what does he recommend? Good vets will love your animals, but has an objective view, unclouded by years of love and companionship. Listen to their advice.

Please do not let any animal suffer - it is not necessary. Let them go with dignity and love when the time comes.

They never really leave us, they stay in our hearts forever and we will always remember their love, joy and devotion.

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