The Joy and Suffering of Pets

Dec 27, 2020

The Joy and Suffering of Pets

I’ve been talking a lot about all the newly adopted COVID puppies.  Kittens too.  There’s not a better time to do it as we all sit indoors and stare at each other’s faces (or Netflix if you’re living solo).  For many it’s the first time you’ve owned a pet.  Aside from the initial house-training issues and the pile of personal items turned chew toys, a new dog or cat brings a tremendous amount of joy and purpose.

The joy part is easy.  There is a radiant furry ball of love in our life, and a new cadence to each day.  We get out and walk more because your new friend needs it.  We stop thinking so much about ourselves and our worries and instead focus on providing a solid foundation for them.    Suddenly we have a new best friend – one who’s ecstatic every time you walk through the door, even if it was three minutes ago.  We load our phones with pictures of them.  We’ll dedicate entire Christmas cards to their likeness.  They’re our hiking buddies, our stay in cozy-pants-day buddies, and the topic of happy conversations.  And they don’t care what’s on Netflix, they’ll sit there and watch it with you.  This goes on and on for years.

What we don’t consider at the start is the end.  Not to go all morbid on you because who wants to think of that?  It catches most people off guard though – that terrible vet appointment when everything changes.  The day you come home when they can’t get up.  Or the news right out of the blue that your dog has a debilitating disease which will ultimately claim their life.  We don’t consider the bad scenario coming one day that signals the start of saying goodbye.

Logically we all know this is somewhere down the road, but for many it’s extremely traumatic.  I hear a lot of people say they’ll never get another dog or cat again.  It makes one wonder; How much does this pain outweigh the joy of inviting these short-lived souls into our lives, knowing quite certainly you will be there for its death and more than likely have to choose when it happens?  It’s a heavy subject.  The answer clearly seems the joy is worth it or people would quit having pets.  But it’s the reality of taking on this responsibility – that you’re inviting a period of significant suffering into your life and its destined to come at some point in the future.

To be clear, I’ve never once actually considered this prior to adopting a pet.  That would be pretty weird.  But I’m bringing it up because I’ve recently had a number of difficult euthanasias.  I also used to work for a home euthanasia service which was mentally taxing to say the least.  In almost every case, the clients struggled with some degree of fear, guilt, and doubt about whether they are doing the right thing.  In many cases it’s one of the hardest decisions a person has ever had to make.  That’s followed by an emptiness at home and the missing of a dear companion.  It really really sucks but we all sign up for it.  Sorry, I know this is depressing.

In the end though, the joy is always worth the suffering.  That’s what I want anyone reading this to remember.  What you’re actually signing on for is more love in your life.  That’s worth just about anything that comes.  And if it wasn’t so hard, it wouldn’t be love in the first place.  It highlights how important these silly creatures are in our lives.  So – after all the new puppy/kitten exams, the vaccines, the pondering of food choices, name choices, training choices, and online advice searching, first and foremost remember to soak it all up and bask in that unconditional love.  It’s worth it.

The Joy and Suffering of Pets | Rise Vet is Boulder’s new breed of veterinary care located in downtown Boulder.  Call us today to make an appointment for your pet.  We are located in the Ideal Market Plaza, right next to Sweet Cow Ice cream and are excited to open our doors to you and your pets.  We serve pet lovers in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Superior and surrounding Boulder County.