This is not a cheerful post today. I think I need to get some fun in my life just so my blog doesn't wallow in disappointments. Animal lovers, beware. Truly, if someone else were blogging about this I'd probably skip this post.
Our Lemi isn't doing too well. We've fixed up an "intensive care" box for her and are keeping close watch but...
This is an emotional subject but let me tell you of my dilemma. We once had an extremely old dog that did not have a peaceful passing. I feel guilty about that because I could have stood my ground and insisted she be put to sleep. My vet knew my feelings but when it came down to making the decision I couldn't take her in for the shot. Euthanasia is not the norm in Japan though it is not all that uncommon. The vet will do it for you if you ask but it is not suggested from his point. The problem is that Tetsu is of a different mind than I am. He agreed that the old dog should have been put out of its misery but at the time we didn't think the process would go on as long as it did.
Now with Lemi. I think both of us and the vet think that Lemi's life isn't going to last much longer. She is 13 and has been in poor health since October. The other animals are cruel to her (part of nature, survival of the fittest) and I don't blame them but her life is not easy. Do we put her to sleep? I say, we need to think about it and it would be better than watching her waste away. Tetsu is adamantly against putting her down if she isn't in pain. "Dying is part of life Tanya. Humans put their animals to sleep not so much for the animal but because they don't want to watch the process." Tetsu may have a different view of death just because he works in a convalescent home and sees it daily, monitors the residents' last hours. (No he is not in the medical field but it is a small home and he is part of all the decisions, calling family members, staying with the deceased etc.)
This is just another difference in cultures. Japanese may see me as cruel since I consider euthanasia an option. Also with putting down an animal, my vet and most in Japan require that the family members be present at the moment claiming that it is the owners last responsibility to see the pet off. I honestly see their point. This is a heart breaking situation for me but it does go along with Tetsu's idea that life and death should be taken together.
On the other hand I consider many pet owners as cruel since because they will not do anything to ease a pet's passing and watching is so painful that the animal is left to die alone in the dog house or sometimes is even thrown out in the hills, a quick death and the owner doesn't have to watch. (I know, this is getting hard to read.) Historically Japanese took their old people to the hills and left them too so this isn't just cruelty to animals. It is part of the thinking.
That doesn't have much to do with our decision. Lemi isn't suffering. She may even get better but all the signs point the other way. She is both Tetsu and my cat and we both love her equally. Tetsu takes as much care for her when he's home as I do and maybe even more.
So do I take Lemi in and make the decision or do I wait and watch? I'm waiting and watching today. I guess I'll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.