I wish for you all a long and adventurous life with your animals. From birth to death, may there be as little drama and medical issues as possible, and may life have been lived as Mother Nature intended.

But in the event of an emergency, a true emergency, are you prepared to make decisions on the spot, under duress, with heightened emotions, all while the clock is ticking?

This is something you might want to prepare yourself for, or rather things you might want to know about yourself.


Some people will go to any length to keep their dog alive, no matter the procedure, the possible suffering, or the possible recovery, because their dog being alive is that important.

And others will have a stopping point, a clear stopping point because they don’t want to see their dog suffer, or have the potential for their dogs low quality of life, and allowing them to die is the act of kindness they choose.

Neither decision is right or wrong, that is the point really. This is your decision, a contract of sorts between you and your dog, no matter what others might think of you, and really what they don’t think of you at all, because who cares. Your dog, your decision. But you do need to think about this when things are good and healthy, not in the emotional emergency moment.

Be prepared to say yes and no, ask questions, clarify your concerns so your decision is thoughtful not reactionary.


Many people base their decisions around what they think others will think of them, or what others would do should they do ‘xyz’ procedure or not do ‘xyz’ procedure for their dog in an emergency. PLEASE do not do this.

Always keep in mind that the others are not there and don’t matter in the long run. It is you and your dog, your decisions, your heart, your relationship.

Whether it is family, friends, medical professionals, or those in the waiting room getting annoyed because you are taking up their appointment time, put your blinders on and focus on you and your dog, your contract with each other.

Your dog deserves your efforts. That is all.


In a true emergency there are a lot of bells and whistles that can be thrown your way, depending on the situation.

You have to know what you can afford and what you cannot, because that shit adds up super quickly.

Do not be ashamed or intimidated into a procedure, or a bibles length of diagnostics if you cannot afford it. Know your limit, ask what else can be done, and what other options might be available to you.

Staying within your means while trying to help your dog, or letting them pass without further suffering is respecting the life you had with your dog and also respecting the life you are living. While it is a hard fact to swallow, it is a fact.

Know your finances before and emergency happens, and if you live a risky type of life with your dog whether through adventures, hunting, herding, or whatever, consider getting pet insurance to ease potential financial stress.


When the Nurse/Veterinary Technician brings you the paper to initial and sign regarding ‘resuscitate or do not resuscitate (DNR)’, if you are uncertain of your beliefs or the situation, ASK QUESTIONS. Has the situation become that dire? Is this a certainty coming my animals way? If resuscitation is necessary what will be the quality of my animals life afterwards? Ask, ask, ask.

The definition of resuscitation – to revive from apparent death.

The definition of a DNR – It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient’s breathing stops.


No matter how hard it is for this word to come out of your mouth, you need to be prepared to say euthanasia yourself. Your dog your words. And again, what others think of your decision should not matter, this is your contract with your dog.

The definition of Euthanasia is – The act or practice of ending the life of a person or animal having a terminal illness or a medical condition that causes suffering perceived as incompatible with an acceptable quality of life, as by lethal injection or the suspension of certain medical treatments.


Sometimes in a true emergency, because emotions are running high, and there is so much uncertainty, it is a good thing to be able to call a friend or family member to be there with you. It is good to have another set of ears and eyes to clarify that what you just heard is what was just said, and what you saw is in fact what was happening.

This alleviates regrets, doubts, or muffled memory because of the situational stress.


No person wants to think about this, I get that. But better to know who you are in an emergency, then have regrets for being talked into something you were uncertain of.

So please take some time and think through these things, learn something new about yourself, and have that social contract kept in your head and heart. May you never have to use it, but in case you do, it is there.

With love, Nancy


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary Martin says:

    Well said and thoughtful considerations for all who live with a pet. Thank you Nancy!

    1. Nancy Brooks-Hartz says:

      Thank you NANCY !! What a beautiful letter!!! It is your partnership with your dog that should be the focus !! Thanks for saying this !!! Hugs my friend !!
      Nancy Brooks-Hartz and the gang !! ❤️❤️

  2. Nikki Brown says:

    Well said!

    1. Poosahkie says:

      I’ve been at this point on too many occasions. The chasms of guilt, loss and the want for a do over surround me. It is not easy playing God.

  3. NANCY M CREEL says:

    When we lost Prim at 2 years and 2 months I was able to look back and see how we handled the situation and agree with our decisions in that case. However, I learned through failure that I wouldn’t go to such extremes again. With Nero we fought for an additional 18 months and I wouldn’t give up a single day nor I suspect would he. He communicated to both of us very clearly when he was done with the fight and we were at the vet in minutes to assist him. This brings back such strong emotions…. Hugs to you all.

Leave a Reply to Nikki Brown Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s