Pledge From The Heart - A Promise To Prevent Suffering

I recently came across this pledge from Dr. Sandra Grossman, a local therapist who specializes in helping people through both pet loss as well as anticipatory grief (the stress/anxiety/overwhelm of having a sick or terminal pet). Her practice, PetLoss Partners, finds it helpful for their own clients.

I thought the pledge was wonderful and had never seen one before, so I wanted to share this with you.

Worrying about whether a pet will suffer is a very common (and reasonable) fear. What we have to remember is that in veterinary medicine, we have significant control over whether a pet will suffer because we get to choose when to let them go.

We can prevent suffering by electing humane euthanasia at an appropriate time, before a pet has begun to suffer.

No it is not easy and yes it is one of the hardest decisions that we, as pet owners, will have to make. However, making this decision at the right time is a generosity and responsibility that we owe our four-legged best friends who have given us nothing but love for years and years.


Dear _________________________(Pet’s Name),

Because you are my dearest friend and companion, and I have taken an oath to always provide you with a pain-free and joyous life, should you be confronted with infirmity due either to old age or an incurable illness I promise you the following:

I will not allow the treatment to become harder on you than the disease or age itself.

I will STAY IN THE MOMENT with you and enjoy what time we have together.

I will schedule special time for us to play and talk to each other.

I will put your needs before my fear of losing you.

I will remember to keep track of the quality of your life daily and be mindful of the signals you are sending me.

I will be strong enough to stay by your side at the end to send your spirit off with love.

I promise to honor your memory by taking the gifts you have so freely given me and living a fulfilling life

I hope you find this pledge helpful. Below I've linked a few related articles that will help you assess your dog's quality of life. If you're concerned that there might be room for improvement or that your dog might be suffering, reach out to your vet. Your vet (or oncologist) can give you an honest and unbiased opinion as well as next steps to take.

Don't want to take your dog to the vet? Ask if they can come to you. If not, see if there is a local palliative care vet that can evaluate your dog and discuss strategies to improve quality of life. The benefit to this strategy is that they can see your dog in his home environment, which is often quite valuable.

Dr. Lori Cesario

Board Certified Veterinary Oncologist

PS: I'm happy to now offer online oncology consultations. Learn more about how this service can help by visiting the Vet Cancer Consultants site.

Other articles you might enjoy...

(1) How to Tell if Your Dog is Nauseous

(2) How to Assess Pain and Quality of Life in a Dog with Cancer

(3) Is Humane Euthanasia Humane

(4) Is Cancer in Dogs Painful?

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