By: Donald Consla, DVM
Avett found me about 6 years ago when I was at Roche Park. He didn’t have a microchip or license. I ran a “Found Dog” ad in the newspaper with no response. I contacted the Crawford County Humane Society and no one had reported his loss. So, he was mine.
I named him after my favorite musical group: The Avett Brothers. He traveled to California with my wife (Cassandra) & me, and lived with us while I attended vet school. Needless to say, Cassandra and I loved him very much.
Last year, Avett developed degenerative myelopathy, a disease similar to ALS in people. This disease is very common in German Shepherds. Although this is not a painful condition, Avett would lose his motor functions in about 6 months from the time of diagnosis.
With daily physical therapy and acupuncture I was able to slow the progression of the disease, but 10 months after his diagnosis I saw Avett fall when he was having a bowel movement. He couldn’t support himself, and he was such a magnificent creature I knew I couldn’t allow him to live like that. I wanted him to leave this life WITH DIGNITY.
When I speak to my clients about their own pets facing euthanasia, I tell them to make a list of their pet’s 5 favorite things.
Avett’s list was:
(1) He loved to herd
(2) He loved playing ball
(3) He loved greeting us at the door
(4) He loved having his back scratched
(5) He loved his treats.
As we watched Avett do fewer and fewer things on his list, it helped Cassandra and me make our loving decision to end his time here with us.
Yes, I know how much it hurts to euthanize your pet. It is my hope that The 5 Favorite Things List can be helpful to other pet owners/lovers. The joy of loving Avett will always remain in my heart!
Dr. Donald Consla is a 2015 graduate of Western University of Health Sciences. In May, he began his veterinary career at Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital, Inc. in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He really enjoys small animal internal medicine … avian and exotics … and ultrasound.