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When euthanasia is an option : the experience of making end-of-life decisions for companion animals

By Laurel Horn

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It's only a dog! You should just get another cat. You waited too long to take him to the vet as it is. These are some of the common attitudes and reactions that pet owners must often contend with when their companion animals die. Though they may be trying to be understanding and supportive, it is often difficult for people who have not experienced the death of a companion animal to understand the potential significance of such a loss. The present study explores one of the factors that often complicates and makes the death of a companion animal especially difficult: the possibility and expectation of euthanasia. What is it like to make life and death decisions for companion animals? What thoughts and feelings are experienced in the decision making process? What is it like after the animal dies as a result of euthanasia? These questions are the focus of this study. The study focuses on the experiences of eight companion animal owners and utilizes a case study design. Information was gathered through interviews and researcher observations. Each case is presented individually and themes and a general discussion of the cases are also included.


Katie Carroll

Date 2000
Pages 86
Publisher University of British Columbia
Department Department of Education
Degree Master of Arts
DOI 10.14288/1.0089433
Language English
University University of British Columbia
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Cats
  4. Death
  5. Dogs
  6. End of life
  7. Euthanasia
  8. Grief
  9. Human-animal bond
  10. Mammals
  11. Pet loss
  12. Pet ownership
  13. Pets and companion animals
  14. Veterinarians
  15. Veterinary medicine