I've just put my best dress on. I usually put my best clothes on when the time comes to have one of my animals put to sleep. Rituals can be helpful when saying goodbye to a much loved pet.
Other people have different rituals to help them grieve, maybe creating a photo album, planting a shrub or lighting a candle.
Ali, my sick cat, has been at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals in Hertfordshire. Run by the Royal Veterinary College, it’s open 365 days a year with many vets referring to this specialised centre. Although the hospital is brilliant the news isn’t. It is time to say goodbye to Ali.
When an animal is ill, it’s often difficult knowing when is the right time to have them put to sleep. It’s a very personal decision but, for me, I need to weigh up the diagnosis and the quality of life of the animal concerned with the interventions proposed and the likelihood of them being successful. These are all underpinned by the importance of the relief of suffering, pain and other distressing symptoms. Ali fell asleep in my arms – in his life, an example of the joy a stray cat can bring.
On the way back from the Hospital, I’m tempted to call into the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) to see Suggs. He is a lovely 10 year old Pug Cross who is full of life. Suggs came into the care of the NAWT from a dog pound. He likes going for walks and playing ball. He also enjoys being made a fuss of. He would benefit from an owner who has had dogs before and would like a quiet, adult-only home. He could possibly live with another dog. If you are able to home this gorgeous boy, contact NAWT on 020 8950 0177 or visit www.nawt.org.uk .
The NAWT are holding their Open Day on Monday August 26 from noon to 4pm. This will be a fantastic family day out with stalls, a fun dog show and dog agility. It takes place at Tyler’s Way, Watford-By-Pass WD25 8WT.