One of the most difficult decisions we will ever make is when is deciding the right time to say goodbye to our beloved animal companions.

Those of you who have struggled with this painful decision of when to euthanize know the ups and downs of your decision, the guilt, the uncertainty and the sadness of it all.

You are not alone in your pain.

I receive many calls from people in the same situation who just want to be sure the the time is right. Although their situations are each different and unique, the ultimate result is the same. They have made the decision to end their best friend's life.

There are so many things to take into consideration with such a monumentous decision. I truly believe this is a personal decision. I will never tell you when you should euthanize. No one should tell you when you should do this. It should be a decision you make based on your animals' needs and medical condition and input from a trusted veterinarian. I want to offer you some guidelines just in case you are facing a similar issue with your own animals.

1. First and foremost, take the animal's wishes into consideration. Some animals want to pass on their own, naturally. Many times animals will distance themselves from us or the family as their time approaches. This is quite common in the animal kingdom. Animals will go off by themselves, they will leave their pack, colony or herd to die alone. This keeps predators from coming in to the rest of the group.

This is not a personal statement about you or their love for you. It is just their natural instincts playing out.

Checking in with your animal before they pass into the spirit world will give you the information you need to make this crucial decision. I always ask the animals if they would like to pass on their own or if they would like assistance from the doctors.

Their answer may surprise you. I have had some say, "I can't go on any longer, the pain is too much."

Yet others have said, "I prefer to pass on my own, when it is my time to go."

In some cases the animals have surprised all of us by saying, "I am not ready to go yet, I want to fight this..."

I strongly urge you to consider their wishes when it becomes apparent their time on earth is ending.

2. Place the animals' needs over and above your own needs.

Wow, that is a tough one isn't it? None of us want to say goodbye. It's hard, it hurts, we miss them so much. Take a step back and look at your situation. Are you keeping them here for yourself? Are not ready to say goodbye?

Animals have a much higher tolerance for pain that you and I do. Illness and injury are signs of weakness in the animal kingdom, so by the time you see them limping or struggling, the pain is usually enough to put you and I into the hospital. They mask their injuries and hide them from us as they do naturally in the wild. Many times we don't know how bad they are until it is too late.

Confide in a close friend or family member or trusted veterinarian and have them help you assess the situation. Often we are so close to our animals that we cannot even imagine our lives without them. Having another perspective can help you determine if you are holding on for your own needs.

Ask yourself this question: Is your animal struggling just to get through each day? Can they get up, eat, drink, etc on their own? If they can't do these things their quality of life is greatly diminished.

Many animals talk to me about keeping their dignity and how they want to maintain this dignity even in passing into the spirit world. It is not fun for them to struggle just to exist from day to day. They will do it, but they can suffer tremendously.

They will also hold on longer for you. They don't want to make you sad or upset so they hold on much longer than they should.

3. Ask them to give you a sign.

Most animals will let you know with a look, a sigh or some other type of sign that they are done with their struggle here on earth. Have they stopped eating or drinking? Do they seem distant? Do they seem disinterested in a favorite toy or game they usually play with excitement?

Ask them to give you some kind of sign when they are done here. When they just don't seem like themselves anymore, they have lost that spark or that thing about them that made them so unique. This is usually one way they let us know that their time has come.

One important thing to remember, animals don't view a successful life in terms of how many years they spent here. They don't see it that way. That is a human concept. Animals view a successful life as the QUALITY of their time, with you, on this earth. Not the QUANTITY of time.

A beautiful kitten who died unexpectedly at 9 months told me he was, "fulfilled and completely satisfied with his life."

Honor, love and respect your animals each and every day while they are here with you. We can steer their destiny by providing them with love, quality food, warmth, protection and exercise.

When it is their time to pass into the spirit world, honor their wishes.

If It Should Be
Author ~ Anonymous

If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.

Take me where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Anderson, "America's Animal Communicator," has studied under some of the world's most renowned psychics. Although her abilities were revealed to her in early childhood, she perfected her skills through years of practice and determination. The animals with whom she communicates are her primary teachers and she continually draws upon their wisdom to gain a deeper knowledge of her craft. Now Karen is able to connect with animals both living or deceased, bringing messages of love, forgiveness and much needed healing.

Mastering her intuitive skills as a Deputy Sheriff, Karen learned to trust her inner voice as she encountered life-threatening situations while on patrol. With special training in Domestic Violence and victims of abuse, Karen draws upon these skills to assist animals in need.

A member of animal rescues since 1999, Karen has spent countless volunteer hours counseling and mending the broken souls of hundreds of animals. Karen now travels the world lecturing, teaching workshops and sharing her passion for this work with others. Karen lives and works in Elk, Washington, where she continues to be a voice and advocate for all creatures. Hear all Creatures! The Journey of an Animal Communicator is Karen's first book.

Contact Karen for private sessions, workshops, classes at

Hear All Creatures Karen's first book is available on Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble


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