Written by Shannon Fujimoto Nakaya, DVM
Sometimes quality of life evaluations help us to decide that it is time to part ways with a pet. Sometimes they help us to determine where we need to step up care for our companion so that they can continue to be comfortable and enjoy life.
The types of care described in this section are admittedly more intensive and more controversial. Not everyone will approve of tube feeding for a pet (or a human), or fluid therapy, or supporting an animal that can't walk, or oxygen therapy. Some will feel that it is prolonging an animal's suffering. Some will feel that it is a waste of resources. It is easy to launch criticisms about people who "go to far." However, my experiences with pets and people who go down this path is that they are usually of sound mind and that and these decisions are not made lightly or for selfish reasons. More often, the level of commitment required on the part of the caregiver is so complete that the decisions end up being as selfless as caring for a newborn.
The way I see it, there are two ways of aging and watching others age: to lament what was and no longer is, or to appreciate what still is and make the best of what we have to work with. There may be a point where there isn't enough to work with, but that's another section, the one on graceful exits.