Posted by: Witch Doctor | December 10, 2010

The euthanasia of a member of my family


That’s right.


Involuntary euthanasia.

The final act took place earlier today.

The Witch Doctor, being the Matriarch of the family enhanced by a medical degree was consulted by telephone on this matter round about 8 o’clock this morning.

At the crack of dawn, a Witch Child had discovered her old mare was lying cast on the snow outside her stable.

A bin lorry had passed on its way to a farm and the men had come out to try to help her get the mare back on her feet again but to no avail.

The Witch Child had already phoned the vet using her mobile phone.

Then she phoned The Witch Doctor. She was upset because she knew full well what the outcome would be, but she didn’t voice it.

The Witch Doctor advised that she and the vet together would need to decide the best thing to do for the horse. The Witch Child knew that, and since she is no longer a child she was able to make that decision.

So, the mare that has been part of the family for over 20 years, has died by fatal injection outside her stable on a wintry December day at the ripe old age of 32 with The Witch Child sitting on the ground stroking her, talking to her, and trying to entice her to eat some hay until the end.

We could, of course, have pre-empted the distress the old mare suffered during these last few hours by having the euthanasia performed some weeks earlier, in the warmth of her stable at the time the mare seemed happy enough. Before the snow fell. Before the ground underneath became solid with ice. And then we would have been able to bury her in the field beside the other animals in our family and not have her body carted away to we know not where.

After all, she probably would not have lived much longer anyway. And she had arthritis.

We could have had all the family there, brought in the vet, and then together celebrated her life after the deed was done with a couple of bottles of champagne.

She could have had a kind of “Death Matters” celebration!

Some might say that would have been “A Good Death.”

But nobody in The Witch Doctor’s family believes there is such a thing as “A Good Death”

We would have felt it was the murder of an old horse whose time had not yet come.

Up to a point it might have been tidier though. But we witches are not obsessed with tidiness or other twee considerations at a time like this.

And we are thankful that we are not.

That was the preamble.

It is very rare that The Witch Doctor blogs about the personal things that go on in her life on a day to day basis as they happen, and there are reasons for this. However, she felt today this code of practice should be broken.


It’s all because of Gabby Julie.

She has posted some of the things that have simultaneously been going on in The Witch Doctor’s head. We medical bloggers don’t know each other but it is remarkable how often there is synchronisation of our thoughts without any communication whatsoever.

For some time, The Witch Doctor has been thinking about this ridiculous statement put forward by some of the chattering pro-euthanasia brigade.

They cry:

“We are kinder to animals than we are to humans. We put them out of their misery.”

How crazy is that?

You crazy, crazy, Humankind! Please do not compare killing humans to killing animals.

Julie says today in her post:

“Those who speak of putting down animals in pain should reflect that we also put animals down when they are too old to work, too expensive to keep and when they have too high a medical bill.”

But she says much more than this…

Much more…….

I am but a mere Witch……

But Julie is a Wise Woman.


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  1. So sorry to hear about your mare, WD. It’s a miserable business having an animal put down, esp when they are part of the family. She looks like a beautiful horse.

    Thanks for the comments. I could wish myself wiser on this issue; I feel like a punter watching a card trick done by a con man. You know that there’s something dodgy going on, but you can’t quite pin it. However, I have uncovered an intertwinglement between this cause and ethicists. You may be interested in this contribution to the debate in Scotland;

    I’m going to look up a few more ethicists and see if they are of a similar mind. Incidently, nearly every doctor that wrote in opposed the bill. Therefore I think the next trick will be to change the executioner..

  2. Thanks for you kind thoughts, Julie. We’ve had several deaths both in hospital and at home of our closest family members as well as many animal deaths, and I’m damned if I could find anything to celebrate on any of these occasions. The concept of the government hiring “change agents” to give guidance through “Dying Matters” on how we can and should be celebrating the death of loved ones, I find patronising, intrusive and bordering on the obscene. If I hear the words “Good Death” uttered in my presence I’ll probably have apoplexy!

    The document you mention is interesting. I was particularly taken that they acknowledge openly that it might be better to “creep” the way forward.

    “The Bill should either make it clearer that it is intended to permit euthanasia as well as assistance; or alternatively, if it is politically expedient (on the grounds that it is better to take a gradualist approach to an issue as controversial as this), be amended so that it only covers assistance.”

    PS the last photo is very like a much younger version the last of our three ponies, now alone and getting old too, but it’s not him. Ours is a tiny Welsh Mountain pony that looked exactly like a dappled grey Arab pony in minature, although he is white now.


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