Home » Blog » What do Buddhists with pets think about euthanasia?

You love 'em, don't you?

What do Buddhists with pets think about euthanasia?

This question often comes up, and did so just yesterday on e-sangha. I thought I’d repeat the answer I suggested to someone else a month or two ago, where the animal involved was a cat:

Dear …,

I do feel for you, as a cat lover myself. Many Western Buddhists have been through this. I can only offer you my opinion, based on discussions with quite a few other people.
1) You have already given your cat a far better, longer life than nature would.
2) The ulitmate critereon has to be compassion.
3) It’s obviously got to the stage where all that awaits your cat is more suffering.
4) *If* there is something “bad” about the euthanasia, take the consequences on yourself (the “bad karma”, if there is any, and the heartache) gladly out of love for your cat.

I have known people who have wished that they could be given the same release.

Like I say, only my opinion, but one that is widely shared.

Obviously, if you also know any prayers for the dead, they may help a bit, especially with your own feeling.

Best wishes to you both

It really gets up my nose when people start to put rules and speculations about the way karma works (suggesting, for instance, that you should leave the animal to suffer so that it can “complete working out its karma”) above compassion.

37 comments

  1. Mommybird says:

    A suffering being may be experiencing the karmic results of bad actions–but what’s the karmic result for someone who ignores the suffering of another sentient being? One of the things I like about Buddhism (as a newbie) is the no-nonsense attitude that suffering is Not Fun, wanting happiness is Okay, and trying to relieve suffering and create happiness for oneself as well as others is morally right.

  2. A Word Witch says:

    I have heard my teacher, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, address this very question. He says that euthanasia is killing, and that if the animal can be allowed to die on its own, “That particular cycle of suffering is ended.” If euthanized, the animal will have to continue that cycle of suffering in the next life, until the cycle is finished. This does NOT mean, according to Rinpoche, that animals cannot be given pain medications or have other actions taken to alleviate their suffering.

    I know this thinking is hard to accept. I have had one pet euthanized since I heard Rinpoche say this; I have worked hard to allow others to die naturally, yet comfortably. It’s hard work. I also do wonder how much of “euthanasia” is done for the sake of the animal vs. the animal’s owners.

    I would never presume, however, to tell someone else what they should or should not do with regard to this question–I’m just relaying what I’ve heard my own teacher say.

  3. Alex W says:

    Hi Lu,
    Well as you’ll guess Bardor Tulku is someone I would listen to. Did he offer any way to think around the fact that the kind of owner that an animal has is also presumably part of its karma?
    The problem I still have with that kind of thinking is that it would tell us never to do anything to mitigate anyones suffering – we should leave them to complete their “cycle of suffering”. Obviously (I hope) that’s not a position I can embraced. Do you think Bardor Tulku might have a way to deal with this?

  4. Jessika Wafaquani says:

    I think EUTHANASIA should be allowed world-wide for every person, no contest.
    All though, I do understand the “greif” part… because, me, well, myslef and my mother, had to put down our pet (GOD BLESS HER SOUL)Its a very hard thing to do… but what u have to think is that you are doing what he/she wants, that your putting them out of their pain and they will thank you for that… doesnt matter what other people think.
    Your cat/dog/hamster whatever, will always love you and be greatfull for what you did, you saved him/her.
    All my love.
    Yours, J.Wafaquani

  5. Daniel says:

    A quick comment that I heard a teacher say once: Euthanizing anyone, be it human or animal is based on the very western assumption that their suffering will be stopped by death. But what if they were to be reborn in the deepest hells? Would it not be more compassionate to simply do one’s best to relieve the (relatively) minor suffering of the present rather than opening up the potential for much greater future suffering?

  6. Cimor says:

    My 19 year old dog, Seymour is nearly blind, is deaf, and incontinent and has crusty eyes because his tear ducts don’t work anymore. I think this his only pain is when I have to clean his eyes. He loves to eat, drink, and sleep. I had an appointment to have him euthanized- so he could transform. Five days before the appointed date, I received an email from a long lost spiritual friend (a Catholic) of the Butterfly’s Lesson. The lesson, is a butterfly, in order to complete its metamorphosis, must work very hard and suffer before emerging from the cocoon. During this suffering, the butterfly pushes fluids necessary into its wings so it will be able to fly. In this story, a kind and compassionate man sees the butterfly starting to emerge. But the butterfly pauses to suffer… the man decides to cut a tiny slit in the cocoon to help release the butterfly, expecting it to fly away, but instead the butterfly’s wings writhers and it is only able to crawl and never to fly. I had thought this story was appropriate for what I was going through, being sad to let my dog go.
    But two days later and two days before the appointment, I received another email from the same person. The second email was these photos of dogs that their humans had dress them in people clothes. I saw then that the messages were about what I was about to euthanize my dog. I was about to cut an opening in the cocoon for my dog, make it easy for him to pass, to transform, and to which he might not be able to pass and end his cycle of suffering.

  7. Dawn says:

    Thanks Alex W. for your thoughts on this matter. I have an appointment this afternoon with my vet to euthanize my 12 year old, now blind in both eyes, cat. Is is with great compassion and the desire to eliminate her future suffering that I make this decision. I will responsibly take the consequences on myself of any such “bad karma”, if there is any, and the heartache, out of my deep love for my cat.

  8. Sara says:

    I lost my dog 4 days ago. He died on his own without euthanaisia and I would not have done it any other way. One of the most important Buddhist principals that I thought of during this time is that there is suffering in this world for everyone. He had cancer and really started slowing down two days before he passed. His tumors burst around midnight and it was a pretty big mess. I cleaned it up and stayed with him through the night. He had some more burst around 7 am with his last exhale. I searched all over the Internet with how to deal with this impending death that was coming. It is a very hard to decision to make because you don’t want to see someone you love suffering, it’s natural human instinct to want to do something about it. I felt that the best thing to do was to be there for him all the way through the end as his soul was learning to let go. He had a lot of fear and was holding on before he finally fell asleep and was taking deep breaths. I really felt at that point that he had come to terms with what was happening to him. I wanted to leave some advice for anyone else going through this and not wanting to euthanize. The most important thing is to just BE THERE for your pet giving him whatever he may need. If you are unable to chant or sing, just do it in your head and stay right beside them. The most important thing is to be there for them. Finally, you should have them in their comfy bed with a blanket on top so it is easy to move them in case of an accident, so it can be cleaned up and then you just move them back to their bed afterwards. Have lots of old towels to clean up what may come out either end. Keep in mind that life can be messy, but there is so much LOVE.

  9. Lisa says:

    This is my first personal dog who is very old. He is 14 and a large breed (shepherd/husky). He has senesced at a gradual rate. He stumbles now. He runs out of energy and lies down wherever he is standing. He has diarrhea all the time. He still eats but he has diarrhea all the time. So he must be outside all the time now after a life of being inside at will. He seems like he is adjusting “okay”, but of course he still asks to come in every day, especially in the evening. There is a part of me that wants to allow him to die on his own, but I think that it is generally well accepted in our culture to euthanize old animals instead of letting them die. In fact, letting them die, especially without pain medication, is considered cruel in our culture.

    But after reading some of the above comments, I feel a glimmer of affirmation. I birthed two of my three babies at home with a midwife. The first was in a hospital, which made me realize that I never wanted to do that again. With death, there is only one time, no chance to do it over again. As I saw my beloved friend start toward the path of death, I held strongly that I would just BE PRESENT and PROTECT HIS SPACE. But as he continues on his path it gets harder each day. I feel so much pressure to kill him! It is not direct pressure from people in my family, it is a cultural pressure. An unsaid agreement that people are supposed to kill their animals when they are close to dying. I am glad I read these comments because they helped clear my mind to what is important which is appreciating every moment that we are alive and those around us are alive, no matter how sick or close to death they are.

  10. Kray says:

    I’m so confused i’m a 23 year old guy who is trying to live a buddhist life in a western world. I did wonder about this issue because my cat has cancer in its face and around the jar which stops her from eating. I’m wondering if it’s better to put her out of her pain now. Whats better to do for her let her stave to death not being able to eat? Isn’t that very bad Karma to allow a loved animal stave to death infront of me?

  11. Gaiamuse says:

    I am reading all of these posts and thanking you all for your considered input. I am currently in a situation where, unbeknownst to me, a wild rat has been living in my house for the past year and I need to relocate him or euthanize him. If I could litter train him I would and if I could just get him out of the house with a guarantee that he wouldn’t come back I would also do that. Neither of those is a possibility. And I do need to protect myself from a rat infestation. I have been and will continue to do meditation around him — but I still need to get him out.

    After researching the matter I have learned that when we “relocate” rodents we are actually most likely sentencing them to a stressful life with a lot of suffering and slow death (new location, where to find food, new predators, loss of colony, etc.) and so on. Even though I would relocate him by water with an interim supply of food.

    On the other hand, euthanizing him means killing him — though I can take him to a local vet who will gas him so that part will be painless. And if I euthanize him, I block him from completing his work in this life cycle and he simply needs to do it in the next.

    Because I am “banishing” him from his environment for my ‘convenience,’ either way there is a negative karmic result to an extent for me and the universe has given me the choice to figure out which I want to pick.

    If this were my pet? I am not sure I could do what some of you have done – and that is sit with them until death. I have to earn money, make a living and I don’t have the funds to take off that much time for work in order to sit with a dying pet. I put down my last dog at age 18 1/2 — she was a remarkable creature, had suffered for the final year and extremely in the last 2 months, could have lived another year in that condition and in the last ‘conversations’ she said “please, I am ready to die, help me.” Everything after her death bore out that I had made the right decision to end her suffering — with her request.

    The Buddhist precept is to prevent suffering — and I think there is latitude in this area. The Buddha himself killed, taking on the karma of doing that, to prevent suffering of other beings. But we are not the Buddha, eh? To kill with malintent or ignorance as Buddhists say is the worst — and to kill in any other circumstance is also dicey — as we are not familiar with the “energetic” ramifications. But sometimes, we just have to make the best decision we can depending on our own awareness to end or prevent suffering. I think awareness is once again the key. Thinking through my choices around all of this has taken me a couple of weeks and I am amazed at the growth it has brought…and I assume that is not over.

  12. Dr. Pam Young says:

    The hardest part for me is being pushed away by the one who always comforted me when I am wanting to be there for him in his last days. My vet assures me he is in no pain, and for that I am grateful. But seeing him withdraw further and further when he won’t let me comfort him is excruciating.

  13. Karma says:

    Everyone is thinking about what Buddhist do-Buddha in the Sutras stated no killing – that should answer everyones questions – and then – it would be best to do more reading about Buddha – the Sutras and attend teachings and contemplate and really investigate what the answer is

  14. Paul says:

    In learning the precepts, I was taught that the “positive” version of the “do not kill” precept. It is that I should strive to “preserve life and liveliness”. This view of the precept changes the from the idea from a rule to a carefully considered view of the entire situation.
    For example, what is life? Is it mere drawing of breath? Or does it have more characteristics? And what is liveliness? It is possible to imagine life but where the vigor, action, thought, and compassion is missing. Would this life still be called “lively”? And to home does this apply? To the sick animal only? Or is the family in which the animal lives also considered?
    As a person who tries to follow buddhist principles, I try to remind myself that NOW is what matters in my decisions. I cannot know the future. And the past is done. So I try to make the best decisions I can based on these principles. And sometimes this decision might me to end the life of another being in order to support liveliness. What is important is that the decision is made with full aweness.
    Just another perspective on this complex path.

  15. cliff says:

    Helping an animal escape from suffering is not murder. I think in Bud. it speaks about not killing as in murder. You are being compassionate when you help someone who is suffering come to peace. If their death is nearing and there is no turning back, assisting them to cross the bridge from suffering to peace is not murder. anything motivated by love and compassion can’t be wrong.

  16. Derek says:

    There is no divine judge standing above the cosmic process who assigns rewards and punishments. Nevertheless, the deeds themselves, through their inherent moral or immoral nature, generate the appropriate results.

    Basically, if your actions are done with love and compassion, no one can criticize.

  17. Rhonda says:

    While I believe Buddha had a lot of wisdom and Buddishm today can help people get through life, I have to say I’m disgusted with the karma jibberish I’ve read in this discussion. It’s just as bad and just as stupid as other religions’ beliefs in hell and heaven. For pete’s sake, ditch the fantasies if your animal is suffering, and let a vet assess its condition and advise whether or not it would be best to euthanize it. Don’t let it suffer for your own absurd beliefs.

  18. Atomic BambiCat in Austin says:

    I agree with you Rhonda. My lovely 15+-year-old kitty Little Girl (LG) is in need of help moving on to the next whatever is out there. My wonderful mobile vet is coming tomorrow to asses her ongoing declining condition.

    I would want euthanasia
    if I were in the incontinent/delirium/fugue state LG is in – already told my boyfriend to take me out (and not to dinner!).

    It’s not an easy decision for those who love who will be left behind.

  19. Blake says:

    Allowing an animal to transition from its’ broken body can be the most compassionate thing you could do for them. Letting it wallow in misery in my opinion can not possibly be the compassionate choice.

  20. Rosemary says:

    My friends, many belief systems attempt to force our hands by threat of terrible consequences in another life, for us or for others — and I see that this has been extended by some Buddhists to include our precious animal companions. That is one opinion.

    My own opinion, as a longtime Buddhist, is that compassion is a maleable matter. It’s not an absolute; its very definition (to be with, to come to) suggests relativity.

    When you have loved and cherished a “pet” and have offered all you’ve been able to help them have an enjoyable and safe life, mercy is absolutely within the realm of compassion.

    I do not believe that your sweet companion deserves undue suffering to offset our fear of retribution in another life. Love ministers and caresses and protects.

    Suffering is inevitable; needless suffering based on threat of hell at the other side feels small and unkind; that is, if you prevent suffering here, then it will only be worse in another life???

    Really? I think not.

    Look at your animal companion with true eyes and ask “Is his or her journey in this life done?” What is the purpopse of pain and terror? If you look in your true heart, you will find the correct answer. Please do not be driven to action or inaction by threat of eternal damnation.

    I think the universe is one of loving kindness, and embraces those who act accordingly.

  21. Grateful says:

    Thank you everyone for your heartfelt support on this excruciating question. I have opted to allow my animals to go thru their painful deaths naturally (one just this morning). I’ve done this because I believe the soul life is not sanitized as our Western mind perceives. I agree in what someone said in an above comment, to try to be there for them in their final moments, if affordable to take time off work. I believe this is an individual decision for each of us, no right answer– compassion towards them most of all, which ever choice. I believe in always praying for them during their life and after to be welcomed and joined with us into the privileged life as a human soul on the bodhisattva path. Namaste

  22. beowolf says:

    I just watched a friend, a very long time Buddhist,let her dog die, after going without sleep for 2 weeks and hand feeding the dog, putting in a catheter so it could pee. The dog was quite miserable and yelping in pain every few minutes.
    I know it is difficult to let go of a beloved person or pet. Many people seem to think their pets are the equivalent or equal to a person.This dog is being sent off with a nunnery doing prayers and butter lamps offered etc. I have no comment on that.I’m sure it makes the owner feel much better.
    The thing I found hard to watch was the extreme attachment to this pet that precluded any clear thought about euthanizing it or not.It is very easy to let one’s own attachments and ,sorry to suggest,delusions overcome trying to think rationally if you are just extending the needless suffering of a being.Perhaps it is easier and more comforting for us to think ” any action with kind intent is best”. But a small dog is very much a dependent on its owners who have to make all of its decisions for its comfort, safety and happiness.I can appreciate the tulku’s remarks about allowing a chain of karma/suffering to take its course, but I also think that is canonical BS that ignores the real pain and difficult issues of any sort of assisted dying.I have advance directives in place and insist that if I am incapacitated that I want no further dragging-out of my “karma” or whatever you wish to label it.

  23. beowolf says:

    just curious,is Bardor Tulku Rimpoche a vegetarian who refuses to use leather products also? I’ve seen plenty of Lamas who eat meat, because they’re not attached to rules and doctrine………..if you do by-the-book Vinaya, no meat atall,sorry. even if you have Moslems do your butchering like the Tibetan population did in Lhasa.
    There’s so much death,killing and destruction which is part of the whole warp and weft of life. We should, as humans, try to limit whatever we do as far as creating death. Perhaps the best examples of ahimsa are very orthodox Jains who won’t even eat plants that would be destroyed to consume them- best, eat only fruits and vegetables that fall off the plant.
    Well, intent and all, horseshit. Either you follow ‘no-killing’ or you don’t.Seriously!

  24. Blake says:

    To offer another perspective: it seems my urge to euthanize is motivated by the need to alleviate my own suffering, just as much. i hate to admit it, as i am currently in this very position. i am projecting my own suffering onto the pet. My suffering in watching them die may be much greater than my pet’s pains. My own anxiety of an impending messy death is the real impetus for euthanasia, though i may project it as solely an act of compassion. The cat’s dying reminds me of my own death, which i’ve been deeply conditioned to have aversion to. At the conscious level, i’m in conflict with this, because afterall “i am a good buddhist”.

    There is a story that during the Buddha’s time a serial killer, Angulimala, kills 999 people, meets the Buddha, and becomes an Arahant. So maybe there’s still hope for all of us.

  25. Michael says:

    Thank you Rosemary, I had to put my baby girl down today and I think I did the right thing. Your words eased my soul, I hope you re-visit this web site and see how thankful I am for your strong logical words.

    Michael

  26. Rebecca Baker says:

    There are many, many people who love animals and adopt and care for them while they are well. But as all animal lovers know, vetrinarian fees for tests, treatments, medications and even euthanasia is very, very expensive. So is it compassionate to keep an animal suffering? If only people who could truly afford treatment for animals who may become ill, injured etc, many, many more animals would be “euthanized” in the animal control facilities after spending time in cold concrete floored cages. Which do you feel affects your, or the animals karma more? Let alone let you sleep better at night?

    Humans are allowed hospice/palliative care in the US via Medicare. Animals do not have the same option.

  27. Our beloved cat Danny is suffering from intestinal cancer which has spread to lymphs, he has stopped eating and drinks water,…The roller coaster of the meds, to stop him vomiting and diarrhea, and appetite stimulant, and now steroids starting today…All buy a little more time for him, but not real quality of life…There is no liveliness…He tries to sleep in the darkness of the cupboard…he is uncomfortable even on the bed, and on my lap now…He is also too thin and weak….
    I wish I could cradle him in my arms, but he is too uncomfortable and needs to be alone. We will choose to relive him today as he is now moaning and roaming around…unable to deficate……compassion wisdom and loving kindness is in order….

  28. Julian Hiles says:

    I have just come home from euthanasing my beautiful cat friend Podge. I came to this site seeking thoughts as a fledgling Buddhist as to whether it was the right decision and what the consequences for Podge would be.

    The vet was of the opinion that there was no quality of life left for Podge, just suffering. Like others, my initial thought is that I will responsibly take the consequences on myself of any such “bad karma” out of my deep love for my cat. I will meditate on this question over the coming weeks and months and would like to thank you all for your differing thoughts on this dilemma. Namaste.

  29. Sophie says:

    I had to put down my 11-year-old cat yesterday. He was in pain and the only option would have been ongoing medical treatment, that may or may not have been successful. I don’t know much about how karma works, but believe the Buddha strongly emphasized compassion and alleviating suffering of all living beings. Seems to me, using the logic of letting animals live out their karmas, no matter how painful, would be equivalent to saying that all the children starving in the world should not be helped because they are living out their karmas. An extreme example, but think compassion should be the starting place for everything. I am very glad to find places like this online so we can all share our different thoughts on this and hopefully learn and grow together.

  30. Susan Riadon says:

    I raised Simon (Cat) from 5 days old , I have never had human children. He is my Baby. He was 6 years old. I believe he became anemic due to fleas they were drawn to him like a magnet . I flea combed him daily. Treated the yard and house. Put natural spot on treatment on him to try to help control the fleas. It has rained for weeks in San Antonio , Texas big out break of fleas . I am finally getting them under control. I wish to God I had found the non toxic flea control product Wondercide 2 weeks ago. Despite everything Simon became anemic and I truly believe due to the fleas. I had to rush him to the emergency pet Clinic 1 am on 5-21-15. First they ask me to wait. I told them no, I think my baby is dying. Then they would not even do blood work until I paid 200.00 . I paid it. I was told that he needs a blood transfusion , that he would be in the hospital for at least a week at 600.00 per day. and even with that he might not make it . I am a drug and alcohol counselor , not wealthy . I did not have the resources for 600 per day. I ask the Vet if I take him home and care for him is there and any chance he could make it . The Vet said he would die if I take him home. so I let him go. The death was peaceful . I held his head in my hands . I am heartbroken , I have looked up some things , that with fluids , getting rid of fleas and feeding liver to build red blood cells cats have pulled through at home. I feel that I did do enough for him. I want to know how he is . I know he knows that I loved him. I want him to know That I am sorry I did not do more. The if I had the 600 per day I would have paid it to do what ever it would take to try to save his life. I want to ask his spirit to come back to me. I have found some comfort what I have read in this blog. What I did was out of compassion

  31. Steve Mareno says:

    We had our beloved cat Sissy euthanized today at 5pm, 06/21/2015. It was a painful decision, but in a sense not a hard one. One year ago she was diagnosed w/ lymphoma cancer, which presents itself w/ terrible vomiting episodes. She had 2 operations, and has been on chemotherapy and steroid drugs every other day for one year, along w/ a plethora of anti-nausea medications and pain meds. For the last month or so she has been declining. Her little body has seen too many vets, too many emergency rooms, had too many blood draws. In essence, it was a decision that made itself after seeing her have another series of vomiting episodes last night, and even after she came home from the emergency room.

    It cost me around $37,000 and I had to file bankruptcy last month due to all the vet bills. But what is money compared to a life of a loved one? Nothing.

    So for Sissy, no more terrifying visits to the vet, no more toxic drugs that made her feel ill, no more bouts of vomiting that left her dehydrated and sick, no more cowering under the bed in pain, no more hiding in the closet to avoid being put into her carrier to once again go to the vet, no more looking at her litter box and wondering if she could go or not. That is not life, that is hell. She didn’t deserve it. I thought long and hard about this, but it wasn’t about me, it was about her quality of life which, while good in the beginning, was now very uncertain and very of very questionable quality. Another big vomiting episode could have come tonight, just one day from getting out of the emergency room. I will miss her. She was the love of my life and the best friend I ever had for 8 glorious years. But you don’t let your friends suffer needlessly. She was never going to get well, and was only going to get worse and worse no matter what we did. Goodby Sissy, I would have wanted it this way for myself too. You couldn’t tell me in so many words, but I know you like I know no one else. It is the end of your suffering. I will always love you. Steve.

  32. Suzanne says:

    We put our rabbit to sleep yesterday morning. Maybe it is a rabbit thing, or maybe it was just him, but he was the sweetest, most loving animal I’ve ever known. Long story short, he became gravely ill 3 days before. Was dying before our eyes. sleepless nights and time off work to sit with him round the clock. When we took him to the vet the third time in as many days I already knew it was his last trip. As a Buddhist I felt like I was in an awful spot. The vet said if I take him back home to die he will die slowly and painfully. The vet is an extremely compassionate man. My husband, non-Buddhist, gave the decision to euthanize. But in my heart I agreed. I have meditated on this and I agree with some others here that our greatest goal as Buddhists is compassion. I will gladly take on the suffering of the rabbit in order for him to be free of his agony and fear. That is compassion. Also as someone else mentioned, the bunny’s karma was to live his life here with us… people who are so compassionate that they would end his suffering for him. I have also made prayers and practices for him to have a fortunate human rebirth and practice dharma in his next life. Anyway, one as loving and forgiving as he was will certainly not have any horrible rebirth, even if he has to continue and experience some physical suffering next time. Thank you for this opportunity to work out my feelings about this issue.

  33. Kat says:

    I don’t think Buddha would think having an animal euthanized as “bad Karma” I think if we can help an animal pass on without hours, weeks of pain we should help. Buddhism is about compassion yes and sometimes we need to help a loved pet go to their next path I no way believe that if we don’t let them keep suffering they will suffer in the next life.

  34. Cheryl says:

    So many good points brought up here. I had the misfortune of euthanizing my dog this past May. He had congestive heart failure. He actually died in my arms when I first brought him into the vet hospital. A vet tech team took him from me to the ER. First, the vet came out and told me he was gone. A few minutes later, she came out again and said they were able to bring him back. I insisted on seeing him. When I went back to see him, however, he was still having great difficulty breathing, and had to be put into an oxygen tent. The vet told me he had advanced congestive heart failure, it wasn’t going to improve, and the medication they were using to clear his lungs could put him into kidney failure. For anyone who’s never had this type of decision to make, I can tell you it’s absolutely gut wrenching. I can honestly say it was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my entire life! When I saw him with the weak, weary look in his eyes and struggling to breathe with blood tinged fluid from his chest coming out of his mouth, I decided to euthanize. He had died a natural death prior to the revival. I decided to accept the karma for my decision. Seeing him trying to breathe, knowing how scared he must have been, was already hell for both of us. I know it was for me! Animals who are sick with cancer or congestive heart failure have no idea what’s happening to them, which probably makes it worse for them. Nobody who’s in pain, struggling to breathe, and has great fear, is going to die a peaceful death, which we know is important in Buddhism. As Buddhists, we also need to look at the intent behind our actions as well. Was the action done with hatred and/or ignorance, or was it done with love and compassion? Is the outcome ultimately going to be the same? Perhaps intent plays a greater role in karma than the action itself? I don’t know. Nobody really knows what they’ll do in a situation until they’re faced with it. I accept the karmic consequences for my actions. Namaste.

  35. George Lewis says:

    You are talking as if Buddhism is a religion, from what I have read it is not!
    The loss of my friend (dog) is heartbreaking and because I live in a Buddhist country I have to watch her die slowly and in pain.

    I have no religion; but I know what is right and what is wrong.
    I watched a vibrant woman die slowly of cancer, a mere skeleton.
    What eventually killed her was the morphine self injected by the pump the hospital gave her control of to help with the pain.
    Was this WRONG?

    From what I have read the Buddha gave us a road map that we could follow to live our lives. We each read and interpret this map in our own way.
    I will never forgive myself for letting my friend suffer.

  36. Alex W says:

    George, I think you need to spell out what you are referring to when you say, “You are talking as if Buddhism is a religion”. Who is talking like that? What is it they say that gives you that impression? For that matter, what do you mean by a “religion”, and in what way does your understanding of Buddhism differ from that?

Leave a Reply