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How we put dogs and cats to sleep…

One night when I was in college a million years ago, I was eating pizza and drinking beer. I grew more and more sleepy as the beer took hold. Finally, I went to sleep with a bite of pizza in my mouth. To be honest, it was fantastic. (Til the next morning)

Years later, as I wrapped up my doctorate degree in veterinary school I contemplated the traditional way that animals are normally put to sleep.

Traditionally:  A shot is given into the vein of their front leg, and they drop off the needle inert. Just a couple of seconds. From struggling against the needle to ‘gone’ in an instant.

I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat though, if the animals could feel like they were eating pizza and getting sleepy from beer?“ 

We decided to give a morphine shot and then give the dog delicious treats to eat. I mean, that doesn’t always work because not every dog still feels like eating at that particular moment. But for those who do, the combination of morphine and pizza has got to be amazing!

After the morphine shot, the pet falls into a deep and natural sleep. Most of them even snore. At that point, without discomfort or anxiety, I put them on the exam table and give the second shot which sends them to heaven.

Usually, before that happens, my staff will have explained what your options are for the remains. Such as cremation with ashes being returned to you, or, cremation without ashes being returned. The cemetery offers a resin paw print that they take from your beloved companion. I think those are awesome. Plus a great picture of your dog five years ago, and you can have favorable memories. I am not much into urns and ashes.

Frankly, a little container of ashes is a bummer to me.

Earlier in this discussion I made a reference to dogs going to heaven.

I want you to know what heaven looks like for dogs.

  • When lawyers die, they go to heaven where they are reincarnated as cats. Cats that are severely visually impaired with extremely short legs, and severe eczema.
  • When dogs go to heaven, they find themselves in the green pastures full of fat blind cats that can’t get away (the lawyers).
  • When politicians die, they go to heaven, and they are reincarnated as rats. Rats that are blind with really stubby legs. And fleas.
  • When cats die, they go to heaven, and find themselves in green pastures full of fat blind rats that can’t get away (the politicians).

So, I don’t want you to feel bad for your pet when it passes. Somebody has to collect our pound of flesh from the lawyers and politicians!

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Dr Erik Johnson

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.

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