question often comes up on our ABLEDOGS email list....
friend or relative will look at our animal companions and say, "Why
do you keep [animal] alive? Wouldn't it be kinder to put it out of
its misery?" Or one might accuse us of selfishness or even
This issue goes
straight to the heart of ABLEDOGS. Here are some responses and
comments from the members of the ABLEDOGS list...
HAVE A QUESTION. I HAD A
OLD FRIEND OF MINE COME AND VISIT YESTERDAY.
HAS NOT SEEN HIM SINCE CHUNKY
GOT HURT. HE SAW MY BABY IN
HIS CRIB AND
ASKED ME WHY I KEEP HIM ALIVE.
I HAVE GOTTEN THIS REACTION FROM MANY
I HAVE TOLD THEM THAT MY BABY SAYS HE WANTS TO LIVE, AND THEY
I AM CRAZY, OR PERHAPS SELFISH.
HAVE ANY OF YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH THIS AND
IF SO HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT,
BECAUSE I AM REALLY GETTING TIRED OF HAVING TO
Virginia this is very common with friends, and in some cases family get
our cases. We
just tell them it's not their decision and maybe we should
put every one who is disabled to sleep or in a home where us luck whole
won't have to deal with the sadness of seeing something so ugly.
these comments are made because they haven't found themselves in a
we are in with these dogs.
They don't know of the joy and love and
they bring into our lives.
Yes, it also involves laundry, lots
laundry and vet bills and time and commitment but oh so very worth
a lot of these people don't want any of the above.
It may be the right
for them but I get very tire of them trying to foist their point of
on me. Usually
I find they are basically self centered and don't want
thing to overshadow their life styles.
I eventually lose these people
friends because the first thing I hear from them is if you didn't have
damn dogs to take care of you could go shopping, or lunch or away for
it's my choice, not theirs and I find I really don't miss
at all. But
I do miss my special furkids.
They usually don't care if
leave them to go shopping or lunch they are just glad I come home a be
them to watch TV, play, and of course feed them, LOL!
& Cinnamon & Avery
have been asked this a lot too. I hear: "it's only an animal"
and then I go
I know it doesn't do any good to rant, but it's NOT just an
animal. They have feelings,
thoughts, they make decisions and they hurt when
you poke them with a pin just
like we do. I really have a tough time with
a horrible question yr friend asked and poor you for being put in that
situation. Do these people
think these things are done lightly? The point is there is hope for
improvement and not just that there is EVIDENCE....look at all the other
success stories on this list.
Peggy had back trouble I guess if the vet had said it would be more
humane to put her to sleep , I may well have done, being that I was
naive at that point. But ,
boy, has this group been an eye opener.
Liz 1 and I are trying to get the fact recognised in the UK that
this does not have to be..they can heal with TLC and exercises etc.They
can also enjoy life with wheels too it seems...chasing squirrels I read
on the list...how lovely.
just remember, Virginia, it is THEIR problem, not yours. Just tell them there is hope and evidence.
the best to you both . Liz
puts it succinctly...
if we werent prepared to take care of them no matter what I dont
of us would have dogs to begin with.
the only time i have questioned
is when quality of life becomes an issue and this is something only we
tell- are they happy? enjoying their life? in pain that is difficult to
without being semi conscious all the time?
does your precious friend
to want to be here?
anyone who questions MY comittment to the animals i have i usually just
are not in my shoes, you dont really know
how i feel
well honey that is "just part of my life" you dont like the
way i am
there is the door- dont let it hit ya where the dog shoulda bit ya!!
, too, speaks from the heart:
Lizzy is my baby. She is by my side day in and day out. I love her more
than words can describe. I
would do anything in my power to take care of
her, just like most people do
with human kids. I don't think anyone would
"put down" a human
kid just because it had a disability. I am closer to my
Lizzy than I am most of my
family because she is always by my side.
(you may post this)
fella!) has never run into this kind of attitude. He says:
would like to know where you live. Reason I ask is I
have a disabled dog and I have
never had anyone ask me
why I didnt have my dog put to
sleep not even family. We
usually take CJ to our local
Petsmart and everyone asks
how he became disabled and
gives us praise for keeping
CJ as a member of the family
even though he is disabled.
We live in upstate New York
between Albany and
of The Clifton Park Pack
about life with Elmer....
haven't had anyone ask me why I didn't put Elmer to sleep.
paralyzed in the hind legs, and
has no bathroom control, either. But
people ask me what happened to
him, I find myself explaining why I didn't put
him to sleep (thinking that's
what they're thinking). I
always say he is
such a terrific dog--I couldn't
put him to sleep because of inconvenience.
They realize by the way I
interact with him that I love him soooo much.
I say I love him soooo much.
I also have a friend who
tells people she knows, that I have a paralyzed
dog and that I have to diaper
him and that he has a wheelchair. She
in pride, probably showing off
what a kind soul I am, I guess.
I have another friend, after seeing Elmer and how well I care for
tell her husband that she wants
to come to my house in the event that
anything ever happens to her,
because I'll take such good care of her.
time we went to dinner with some friends.
Upon hearing the news
about my dog, just about tease
me for dealing with it. One
of the husbands
(and they have dogs) joked with
my husband that if it happened to my husband,
he'd be the one I'd put to
sleep--inferring I guess, that the dog would get
I figured he was teasing us.
Another person told me I
would go to doggie heaven. I
said that would be
a good place to go to.
we had a party and Elmer was cruising aroung the whole afternoon
People commented that he looked very happy and
My brother thought I should put Elmer in the other room so
that no one would trip over
him. I said I couldn't
because he was happy just
hanging out, and that he would
cry and bark if I did.
in all, people are complimentary to me.
I think people realize it's
not for them to place
judgement. But like
everyone here has commented, if
they don't have an animal to
love so much, they'll really never know.
that's my 2c worth. You may
post this if you like, with my name.
Felicia, Elmer, and Robby
viewpoint is short and sweet...
don't get those comments as much as I used to, but at first, that's all
heard.......except from my mom and a couple of close friends.........and
like you got tired of it really fast.
don't have to explain to you why we kept our babies alive......they
happy and loved......a lot more than some perfectly intact dogs have!!!!
tell them it is a choice between you and Chunky and leave it at
in the UK talks about what she has learned about what really matters:
all the heartache of Poppy having two surgeries for her back, I wouldn't
missed one day with her. To
watch her courage & tenacity in the face
such adversity has not only humbled me, but taught me that I truly wish
the sort of person my dog thinks I am, if only to match the love she has
me in spite of the trauma I have asked her to go through.
believe that *because* of her difficulties, we have become closer and
between us deeper than it ever would have been had she not have back
those who dont understand - frankly I feel sorry for them. That they
dogs are disposable when they dont function like they are supposed to
me that where they are coming from is somewhere I dont want to go.
my 2c worth
Liisa does a
wonderful job of making her point...
too have had numerous comments from people who think
should dispose of my precious friend because she is
senior and is paralyzed in the back end.
have had Sheba since she was 4 weeks old. She was
even weaned when she came to me, and she was the
and was too small to fight her way up to the milk
from a family of dog lovers, I can tell you
she has been and still is the best friend anyone
have, even when compared to all the dogs we have
during my lifetime. She
does require alot of work
her old age but I would hope that someone will
me in the same manner when I am a senior!
or not, it is still always worthwhile when we go
a walk and I see her smiling!
may have posted this before, but I had a man in my
come up to me this summer when Sheba and
were out for a walk, and comment on her cart.
went on to say that it must soon be time for the
At the time I did not know whether to
him or burst into tears. In
hindsight, I should
told him that I could understand his point,
his wife was probably thinking it was about
to put his fat, balding, creaky old bones down
as he had outlived his usefulness!
Next time I
say exactly that!
do feel sorry for these people on some level though
they will never in their lives be able to
the pleasure of a wonderful pet who will give
them unconditional love and
make their lives as full
Too bad for them!!!
and Sheba (the senior citizen - 18 last week!)
common for people to say, just put the dog down and get another one.
I guess it is just human reaction to an animal, but I can't understand
I have had a lot of "static" from family and friends
but in the end, it
my decision to make and I opted to take the best care I could of my best
after all, she is the one who is with me night and day and friends
family only when it is convenient for them or if they need something. Do
sound harsh? Oh
Jen addresses the
"Quality of Life" stuff......
Nip to sleep would be like killing a human child that has gotten
Until someone has been around a furkid that needs a wheelchair to get
I don't think they can tell us what to do. Nippie is as happy as her
brother, she "tells" us when she wants up on a chair or the
like her brother does, she lets us know when she wants outside like he
in fact if either of us has a problem with her condition it would be
me then her, she thinks this is normal.
Robin, too, has learned
more about love:
I too have had people say why did you not have that "dog" put
I said would you do that to your "kid"! certainly not well my
a kid maybe she doesn't walk real good and can't do things other
do but she is the love of my life and i for one would feel as tho a
of me had died! I am so glad that I didn't listen to anyone and
my heart! Look
at what Ginger has given me. besides four more
she has shown me that even tho she couldn't walk right she had to
her life a little and she is going strong! Man I wish I had just
ounce of her spunk and spirit!
She is the best!
I beleive I tend
go for the underdog in most cases anyway.
They have a right to be
and spoiled too!
anyone thinks they can put a dog down they need to walk a mile in our
and see the love that they bring nobody is perfect!!!!
so many who can't handle a little imperfection I am not one of
I enjoy my little one with the funny gait and the tipping over so
and she knows it. I think
the others are kinda jealous cause she
to be carried.
I could go on and on but better not.
And Janet adds:
went through the same thing Virginia, and we lost some friends over it
few months, however they since have become more understanding to our
I wouldn't have done anything differently with our Boomer.
a big part of our family then and still is today.
don't get it with some people.
Just because an animal has an injury, they
to putting it down right away.
I say give the dog every chance and
will know in your heart if you've made the right decision.
get over it Virginia, or they will lose your friendship.
Boomer & Peanut
reflects on what matters........
know exactly what you are talking about.
Many people around me have
how I could put Nub through the pain of surgery, twice and I also
if I was being selfish.
But I look at Nub and ask myself "Is he
and the answer is yes!
If I thought he was not enjoying life I
feel different but despite his disability he is a happy dog who
living and that makes it all worth while.
There is no one who can
your baby better then you and you have to decide for yourself if
is happy. If
Chunky is happy then you don't have to explain to
because you and Chunky know the truth!
Hope this helps a little.
talks of her TWO AbleDogs.......
have had so many people ask me the same thing, "Why do you keep her
or "Oh, that is so sad"
thank God every day for giving Sadie back her legs, it was hard work and
took alot of patience and love, but she is my "child" and
there was no
I would have put her down.
It was just not an option for me. Now, all
people are eating their words! When I tell people her story, I am so
Now I can say, that is why.
at Maddie, she is blind and still re-learning how to walk, but she is
great! She has adjusted to her blindness and is still a happy little
Yeah, it is extra work, but worth it when she comes running over
door when you come in (little bumping along the way), but she is still
is worth it, no matter what anyone says, look at them and say,
happened to your child or your dog?"
Sadie, and Maddie Jean
and Eliot shared and bonded together...
a fur-kid mommy who's pup has recently gone down there have been a few
people who have asked me why we would subject Eliot to this.
We have four teenagers, two cats and two dachshunds.
My husband and I feel that we have so much love in our family,
that no matter what the obstacle, we can overcome it.
Having the vet tell us our options, we knew that we could keep
Eliot as happy as he has been the last six years, even if he never
regains the use of his back legs.
And since this has happened, we have been right, he plays with
us, he chases after bugs and toads just like he always has, and he
cuddles and loves us just as much.
I had to undergo some surgery at nearly the same time that Eliot
went down. We
both spent two whole days in the bed commiserating, then both of us got
up and got on with our lives as though nothing had changed.
He helped me to realize that feeling sorry for myself was not the
way to go. Within
a week, I found out that I did not have cancer, and my scars will heal.
Eliot was not as fortunate, he will live with his disability
long as I live though, he will not be "disabled".
My legs are there for him.
My parents were the first people to congratulate us on this
live 2000 miles from me, and actually offered to come down to help with
me, mind you, Eliot!
I feel fortunate that I have such a large support group not only
here on this great list but from my immediate family too.
Never has the option of putting Eliot down even been considered.
has had to put up with clueless people too.
too have the same problem of lack of understanding from most of
Randy (my 13-year-old dog)
isn't paralyzed but he does take a lot of meds,
and he has to go to the vet at
least once a month, and he costs a lot of
money (the vet procedures are
very expensive). And when
my dad got sick, I
took in his two cats who are
both seniors to live with me and they are
somewhat expensive also.
Most of my friends think it's strange that I had to
take on a second job in order
to pay my bills, yet I keep "that dog" alive
and took in two cats who should
have been "taken to the pound."
But I don't
see it that way.
Randy has been my baby, and Ginger and Kitty were my dad's
babies, and I couldn't forgive
myself if I brought them harm. Yet, I would
like to NOT alienate my friends
with my response so I don't want to say
anything nasty to them.
They don't understand why I would keep three
expensive pets when it means
working two jobs, why I would rather spend money
on animals than on fancy
clothing and possessions, and why I would willingly
give up weekend trips to be
here to adminster meds. They
I wish they would.
Lisa, Randy, Kitty, Ginger
wisely advises ignoring the "advice" of some people:
someone said something so heartless like what they said about Chunky-I
would realize that the live of a living, breathing being doesn't mean a
hoot in hell to them.
They can't possibly be animal lovers and just would need to get
out of my face.
Someone once told me that if a person couldn't treat a pet as if
it were a family member-DON'T TRUST THEM!
I try to make that a rule of thumb-these people aren't worth
wasting time on.
Keep Chunky-you know Chunky better than they do.
and Jasper remind us to "NEVER say never"...
we have been lucky since Jasper went down that everyone we knew was
supportive of whatever choice
we made. My husband was not willing to keep
him forever due to many things
but was willing to give it a shot. Our vet
told us after one week that
there was no chance of improvement but I decided
to hang on after finding this
group. I am so glad I did cuz within one
month, our Jasper was walking
again. It is a clumsy walk and he stumbles a
bit at times but he is walking
and HAPPY!!!! Any doubts about that are
erased at times like this
morning. We got about 6 inches of snow and he was
so excited to be out there
playing in it again. He and the other dog were
having a blast together. Giving
Jasper a chance at life was the only choice
we felt we had and he has told
us thank you in many ways.
and Jasper (a Corgi mix)
bottom line? LOVE, says Sandy!
just wanted to say Im very much against any one who would have the
nerve to say to me you should
put her down because she can't walk or
have any control. How could
some one even suggest such a terrible and
disgusting thing. Well this so
called very best friend did just that to
George and me Sandy when Teddy
went down. More then once she said we
should put her down. I would
never ever think of doing such a deplorable
thing to any creature dog or
cat as they all have a right to live. It
didn't matter to us if Teddy
couldn't walk on her own or do her
business. We loved her and it
didn't matter to us. We were here for her
no matter what. She did get
back her hind legs and in time she started
to walk with the help of a cart
that her daddy George made for her out
of love and carrying. There is
still aways to go with her bath rm and
her walking but we know in time
she will get back to the way she was
more or less. It takes a
tremendous amount of time and a lot of patience
and mostly TLC.
Thanks for listening to me.
Sandy and George and Teddy
Carol's response "seconds that emotion"!
of The Wrecking Crew are "physically challenged," but I joined
this list in case the
unthinkable *does* happen; one of them go down for
Twisty and/or Spartacus would be the most likely.
worries me because she has a
sway back, and Spartacus is a source of
worry because of his weight
which I can't seem to get off of him.
might add that Twisty runs a
close second in the weight department.)
one, both, or any of my babies
should ever go down I have much
experience, advice, and support
on this list.
should anyone ever ask me, "Why do you keep that poor animal
alive?" my reply would be
a simple, "For the love I give and receive."
and The Wrecking Crew (TWC
= Spartacus, Mandy, Heineken, Little
Julz, and Twisty in pecking order)
Humble Webmaster/mistress/whatever person adds:
there isn't much I can add to the above. My Gracie has helped ME
as much as, if not more, than I have helped her. She rules our
other dogs, even though she only has two good legs and is half their
size. She loves unconditionally always keeps trying! When I
get to feeling down, all I have to do is think of her... and I realize,
"If SHE doesn't give up, well, how can I?"
in time for the Holidays, Lisa reminds us of blessings!
received many of the negative comments on this page when Shankie had her
surgeries. The one though that stands out now years later is when I
called my sister-in-law to pray for Shankie & her responce was just
What can I do? What do you need? What does Shankie need?. Well
at the time I didn't have the funds to pay for her surgery. She sent
me a check that day when the vet wouldn't take her credit card over the
phone because she lives 2000 miles away. In times of trouble you
really weed out the wheat from the chaff as far as who loves us & our
pets unconditionally. I am truly grateful to God for giving me a
sister-in-law such as mine. I am truly blessed. Lisa
person comment: Thank
you, Lisa! I will post this on the page! Give your
sister-in-law a BIG ol' hug from ME and, I'm sure, many others once they
read it! ~Julz