Help for pet parents in preparing for a peaceful, pain-free euthanasia — Help and support in taking action if a bad euthanasia of a pet has occurred — A request for help in reforming the practice.


Life is meaningful because it is a story. Both a story and a life depend crucially on how it ends. In stories, endings matter.

- Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End 
“Performing euthanasia is is is an important part of veterinary practice and should be a day number 1 competency skill for veterinarians. A veterinarians’ primary responsibility is to cause minimal stress or pain to the animal during the procedure. Euthanasia involves other stakeholders, however, which, depending on the context and setting, may involve veterinary nurses, technicians and other clinic staff, lay personnel, shelter personnel, research personnel, children, owners, and other caregivers. The potential psychological and emotional impact on these people must not be underestimated, and these do not end after an animal’s death.”
— Sheilah A. Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD

From: Pharmacological Methods: An Update on Optimal Presedation and Euthanasia Solution Administration 
Editors: Beth Marchitelli and Tamara Shearer
Published in 2020 by Elsevier Inc., 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010-1710.



THIS WEBSITE IS FOR: you, as witness of euthanasia gone wrong, and you, if you’re considering or planning euthanasia and want do all you can to keep it from going wrong.



To provide information, resources and referrals to help pet caregivers in ensuring a peaceful, respectful and painless euthanasia experience for their pets, themselves, and any others affected or involved. Also to assist and encourage the reporting of bad pet euthanasia, and to help reform the euthanasia education of the profession with the goal of all pet euthanasia being perfect, as defined below. 

(For credits, click on or tap photo.)    

Another purpose of this website is to offer an explanation for the improper naming as “euthanasia” procedures which increase any distress and/or pain a patient may have felt before they began, even though those procedures may have resulted in deaths that were far from what could be called a “good” or “peaceful”, which are the two primary hallmarks of euthanasia worthy of the term. If you and your companion animal experienced this type of incident, you may yet be very bewildered, confused or even shocked about how and why this could occur, just as I and many others have been.

To begin, the following quote is offered

“The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals rightly defines euthanasia as a “good death.” But the Guidelines make all kinds of exceptions for situations in which the inhumane killing of animals – a very bad death – may be considered “euthanasia.”

From: Understanding Euthanasia: When Life and Words Become Worthless”

By Karen Davis and Barbara Stagno

This article was first published by Sentient Media on June 17, 2020 and republished by Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns, who generously granted use permission.
This quote indicates that the term ”euthanasia” has been redefined by the veterinary community, if indeed that community has ever defined it correctly. However, it must also be noted that this community is not alone in that regard, as many individuals and segments of society seem to have done the same, as the article above describes. The result is that the term “euthanasia” has become a euphemism.
Euphemism; noun 

a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. (Google Dictionary)

Euphemism allows a death that was bad or disturbing to be falsely termed “euthanasia”, especially if the means of dying is ignored and only the end is regarded as important. This seems to be the case in most accounts of such events. It’s as if the practitioner is saying “Well, the patient is dead and no longer suffering. So this procedure must have been a successful euthanasia”. But “death” is not merely a condition or result. It’s also a process...dying!

Death; noun

the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism. (Google Dictionary)

As the following quote states, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve change or reform when its object is described improperly through the use of euphemism.

“We argue that the widespread use of euphemisms by many conservation biologists, conservation journals, and conservation biology course materials undermines our effort to evoke caring in others for life on Earth and even to care for ourselves.”

From: "Caring, Killing, Euphemism and George Orwell: How Language Choice Undercuts Our Mission." By David Johns & Dominick A DellaSala

This article was originally published in the journal, Biological Conservation. It was republished by Karen Davis, PhD, United Poultry Concerns who generously secured use permission from author, David Johns.

Perhaps you now better understand how and why bad “euthanasia”, or dysthanasia (see definition below) can occur, as well as why it’s important to describe deaths that were traumatic or unpleasant as dysthanasia if their occurrence is to be ended or even reduced in frequency.



If you are among any potential clients who may assume that pet euthanasia is a long settled, well researched procedure adopted throughout the profession and that the danger of anything going wrong is insignificant, you may benefit from hearing that nothing has been found to indicate that’s true. But even if it was true, any pet euthanasia can result in an increase in any emotional or mental distress or physical pain that a patient may have felt before the euthanasia began, because each euthanasia presents a unique set of circumstances and because each patient is a unique individual. This can occur even during euthanasia performed by experienced professionals with the latest, most up-to-date certification and training.


DEFINITIONS: (In relation to pets or animals.)

ATROCITY; an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury. Google Dictionary 

EUTHANASIA; The practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. The word "euthanasia" comes straight out of the Greek -- "eu", goodly or well + "thanatos", death = the good death.

"IN VETERINARY MEDICINE, euthanasia means to end life painlessly." (From "Euthanasia and Thanatology in Small Animals", in the "Journal of Veterinary Behavior".)

COMPANION ANIMAL EUTHANASIA; the entire procedure, including every step, beginning with the administration of any sedative at home prior to the arrival of the practitioner for a home euthanasia or such administration prior to departure for the facility where it’s to be completed. Exception to this definition can occur in cases of emergency euthanasia or when client and practitioner agree that a euthanasia procedure is to consist of fewer steps, such as when they agree to attempt a direct intravenous lethal injection that is to be free of distress or pain without sedation.

PERFECT PET EUTHANASIA; A procedure that results in the intended death of any animal that served primarily as companion and is completely free of any sign of increase in any emotional or mental distress or physical pain that may have existed before the euthanasia began.

DYSTHANASIA; in veterinary medicine, a euthanasia attempt which causes distress and/or pain in addition to that which may have previously existed...a “bad death”. (dysthanasia; from the Greek: δυσ, dus; "bad, difficult" + θάνατος, thanatos; "death": from Wikipedia)

CAREGIVER; Provider of care such as feeding, watering, and medicating, when an animal or pet is home or in its territory.

CLIENT; Person enlisting and/or purchasing veterinary services, including animal or pet euthanasia services.
GUARDIAN; One who serves to protect an animal or pet from the many factors that can cause distress, illness, injury, death or pain.
OWNER: One who feeds and/or has paid most of the medical costs and/or has purchased and/or intentionally shelters a domestic or feral animal.
PATIENT; Animal or pet being cared for or treated.
PRACTITIONER; One who performs animal or pet euthanasia, hospice or medical treatment.


Quote of the Week: About Animals, Spoken by Animals 

Add your own to these inspiring and thoughtful words about animal companions!

(Quote change approximately 9 p.m. Saturdays, U.S. Central Time)
(NOTE: for credits, click on or tap photo unless otherwise noted.)

This week, four commemorative days for animals are featured. Sunday, July 21 is National Craft for Your Local Shelters Day,  No Pet Store Puppies Day and Take a Monkey to Lunch Day. Friday, the 26th is National Dog Photography Day.

“But of course puppies aren’t the only pet animal being bred and brokered and sold for profit. There are kitten mills, too. And rabbit mills. And the many other animals who we keep as pets—the rats, hamsters, and geckos—don’t just materialize out of thin air; they come from a mother somewhere, who has been intentionally bred so that humans can make a profit selling her babies.”
(See chaps. 38, “Cradle to Grave,” and 39, “A Living Industry”.)

And what say you of the animals
and their euthanasia?
Offer a quote about them,
anonymously if wished,
by going to the Message Board.

For quotations posted in the past,
scroll down after clicking here.

For more, click on link below.

Please feel free to interact on this website and help out with this vitally important cause! Check out all the links in the site menu and feel free to share your story, suggest helpful resources, etc. Thank you for your participation and contributions!