Some personal comments about whether to be present during euthanasia:
These are a selection of the >200 comments that were made in a Facebook post on the Ralph Site page (21st May 2014) about whether or not to be present during euthanasia of an animal friend:
"I have been present at all of my babies passing and I would not have it any other way. I had to say goodbye to my boy Seamus last summer and we were lucky that our vet came to the house and we went into the garden with him and Seamus and the nurse who came to help and we held him and said goodbye with the sun shining and birds singing, then we put our other dog Dylan next to Seamus so that he knew what had happened. It was sad but lovely and we all cried together. I could never leave one of my fur babies alone at such a time but I understand that some people may find it too distressing."
"i know some people can't face it but to me it is all part of being a pet owner i think our babies deserve us there to reassure them, its the last and the most important thing we can do for them. It is heart breaking but losing them is heart breaking anyway xx"
" Without exception I choose, painfully and sadly, to be with them. If am lucky enough to share my life with a good companion then it is the final thing I can do for them. It is difficult and heart breaking but with a good vet the experience can be a kind and natural conclusion. My only rule is that it occurs at home in their home environment so that there is minimum disruption to them. Every creature on the planet is entitled to this peace where possible. I never make a euthanasia decision for convenience (some people do) but I make it when it is clear your little animal really has reached a point where quality of life has ceased. I have had to have two very, very loved cats put to sleep in 5 months through kidney failure. I was holding their heads and cuddling them whilst the vet administered the injection (in their leg) and there was no struggle, no distress. The only distress was mine. Practically, when the needle is given my pets have never struggled, there has been no fighting, nothing. They simply 'stopped'. I brushed them afterwards and placed them in a box with a blanket. I don't let the vet take them away straight away, I keep my pets overnight and take them the next day if they are being cremated. It helps you to accept the situation. I also look at them occasionally during this time as well. It is very sad but I hope this helps."
"we decided to stay in the room when our poor Lucky was PTS. I am glad we did. When you know your friend is needing this done, it is the final time you will ever see them,yes it is heart-breaking and can leave in floods of tears,that is human nature. It is also the final act of kindness you can do for them. Some pet owners never get to say good bye and I am glad we did,I can still feel my wee man biting my finger as he slipped away-a moment I shall never forget as long as I live.
"I've been there at all my pets passing and I hate it and I cry and make a complete show of myself but I wouldn't let them be there on there own. I think it makes it easier on the pet but it's not easy on you but it them you have to think off at this sad time. Also you see that it's not painful they just go to sleep and if I wasn't there I'd be worried they would be frightened and I'd be always wondering if they were put to sleep with compassion or was the vet rough. I'd recommend being there even although it's going to be hard for you"
"It's our last act of kindness, love and compassion. I was always worried that I wouldn't be there when my babies passed away. I want the last touch they feel to be mine and the last voice they hear to be mine, telling them I love them. Yes, it's bloody difficult, but our loss will be the same whether we're there or not - we stay for their benefit, not ours"
"I agree with all. I held the paw of our beautiful old German Shepherd a while back whilst he was put to rest. We were such wonderful friends and I am so glad that we were as close at the end as we were for so many years. It's is devastatingly hard but if you are like me you will never regret it. I recommend cremation and a return to you of the ashes as well."
"I have always been present when I have to let my babies go - I feel that you need to be there for them and for yourself - after all I am sure that given the choice they would be there with you, to comfort you and to let you know you were not alone - we should do the same for them. The only time I wasn't there was for a horse of mine who had to be put down and I couldn't be there for her, I always wondered did she miss me not being there, was she frightened amongst strangers in the last moments of her life and mainly did she go easily. This is a very personal thing and must be your own decision, but may I say that the only time I have regrets is the time that I was not there"
"absolutely and categorically "yes" - you should be present at the passing of your pet. Difficult I know, but at the end of the day you owe it to your pet to be with them in their final moments...to shower them with every last drop of love you have, to re-assure them and to say goodbye. In my view it would be much worse to leave your pet in the hands of strangers...which causes fear and anxiety. It's obviously your choice at the end of the day, and no-one will judge you if you decide not to be with your pet but please, find it in your heart to be there if you can. Wishing you strength and courage for the road ahead."
" I work as a vet nurse and the majority of people want to be there. A few can't bear to but there is no judgement, it's not a nice thing. We do feel it is nicer for the pet to be with loved ones when they go. I encourage the owners to hug the pet and talk to them as we do the injection. It's nicer than strangers having to hold them.
"Some people feel embarrassed or awkward showing such emotion but please remember grieving, in any form, is a natural process. The vets and nurses involved will have seen this happen many times before and will be sympathetic to your plight. I always consider it an honour to be involved and although I find it sad to say goodbye to any animal, especially my own, I always feel a sense of peace in knowing I have done the right thing for that animal. If you feel you can be there it is the best thing for them, reducing anxiety and stress. Also it can be the first contact with death a child can experience and a good preparation for the future. Be guided by your own feelings and the advice of your veterinary team. They are there to help your pet but to support you too."