Sometimes a companion animal needs to be euthanized. A review of the dictionary definition reveals that the word “euthanasia” comes from the Greek words “eu” meaning good (think of euphoria and eulogy), and “thanas,” meaning death. When there is no cure for an animal’s illness or injury, and the animal’s suffering cannot be relieved, we can give that animal a good death by having the veterinarian euthanize them. The veterinarian will typically give the animal an initial injection that causes sedation and deep sleep, and then a second injection that stops the heart. After the second injection has had its effect, the veterinarian uses a stethoscope to make sure the animal’s heart is no longer beating. There are some veterinarians in Northeast Florida who will come to the home to perform euthanasia. Not every animal needs euthanasia, of course; some die suddenly or without suffering.
Some households have a difficult time affording euthanasia even though the animal’s suffering cannot be alleviated. The handling of the animal’s remains after death can add to the financial burden in such cases. For people who have difficulty affording end-of-life care for an animal, information is useful. For example, at the time of this writing, First Coast No More Homeless Pets can typically provide euthanasia for less than $100. If cremation or the pet cemetery is not within the household budget, an animal can be buried on the owner’s property in Florida, as long as the animal is buried at least two feet beneath the surface. The two feet is measured from the highest point of the animal’s body in the grave, so there is two feet of earth between the animal’s body and the surface. This requirement ensures that no other animals try to unearth the body.
BBUUC’s Animal Chaplain, Elizabeth DeCoux, is available to pray for animals, attend euthanasia, and provide a celebration of the animal’s life. There is no charge to BBUUC members for these services. BBUUC also provides a support group for those grieving the death of an animal. That group normally meets on the first and third Sundays of the month, from 12:00 to 1:30, at the church. Please check the calendar to confirm the meeting times.