Posted in: Animal News

Woman Dies, Healthy 5-Year-Old Guide Dog Euthanized And Buried With Her

healthy dog euthanized after owner's death

A woman who died this after a long battle with cancer was recently buried — and her family’s choice to have her guide dog Toffee, 5, euthanized and buried alongside her has proven controversial.

Shelia Stadler was 68 when she succumbed to the cancer that sickened her in the later part of her life. But Toffee was just five and healthy when Stadler’s surviving family chose to have him euthanized and placed at her feet after her death and before her burial.

It appears the original story from which all others stemmed has been removed from the web for unknown reasons, but, before its deletion, the account of Shelia Stadler’s death and the subsequent euthanization of Toffee read:

“Shelia Stadler, 68, of Brazil, died March 8 at home with her service animal, Toffee, at her side. Days later, the Stadler family had Toffee, a perfectly healthy 5-year-old dog, euthanized, displayed in the coffin at Shelia’s visitation, and buried with her in Summit Lawn Cemetery right outside Brazil.”

The piece continued:

“Sheila Stadler’s son, Andy Stadler, told News 10 his mother’s canine companion was already beginning to mourn the loss of the only handler he knew.”

While the article on Stadler and Toffee’s deaths is now gone, an online obituary for the owner does mention the dog and her fondness for him:

“Shelia spent her life as a dedicated homemaker and loving wife and mother. She enjoyed cooking, crocheting, singing, and playing the keyboard. She was a committed Christian, enjoying camp meetings and singing and playing for church services. Her favorite book was the Bible which she faithfully read for many years. The last few years she listened to it on audio tapes, but still carried that wonderful book with her as a comfort during her last days. She loved Toffee, her seeing-eye dog and constant companion for five years.”

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UPI quotes Gregory Reilly, of Honey Creek Animal Hospital, who admits the move to euthanize Toffee was “unusual in some aspects.” Reilly adds:

“It just really depends on what the family wants to do with the dog … Legally they can do whatever they want.”

The issue of the decision to euthanize a healthy dog like Toffee in the wake of an owner’s death was discussed a few years back in The New York Times.

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14 Responses to “Woman Dies, Healthy 5-Year-Old Guide Dog Euthanized And Buried With Her”

  1. Emi Raven

    Very much so, My friends brother was shot and he loved that dog. So my friend took the dog in. It was the last living memory of him…. and the dog has issues w/ loud noises. Since the dog was around when he was gunned down. Why would anyone do this :( this is truly sad. My friend has a big big heart enough to fight for the dog to live w/ them…. why wouldn't the ladies relatives do the same :'(

  2. Lori Burdette

    It is absolutely terrible.These people are horrible and wrong.So sad for the dog.

  3. Lori Burdette

    It is absolutely terrible.These people are horrible and wrong.So sad for the dog.

  4. Jade Kamowski Allen

    Why didn't the whole family kill themselves and get buried with her? Makes as much sense as killing her dog and burying him with her :(

  5. Vanessa Powers

    This dog dedicated its LIFE to helping this woman. The kindness the woman's family repaid the dog for its invaluable service….priceless. Disgusting excuses for human beings out there…..The more I know people, the more I like and prefer dogs.

  6. Dee Houser

    This suck's the poor dog- probably never got to run & play-if he stayed with a sick & dying woman. How very selfish of her. Look what Mindy Mccready did- to her dog-the same deal. My daughter know's what to do with my dog's-if I die-it is not kill them. It is to find special home's for of them & 2 have t go together-they have NEVER been seperated.

  7. Judy Haselhorst

    Maybe the family couldn't take the dog. Also healthy dogs are euthanized every day in shelters that have no room and no one to adopt them, just saying… don't be so hard on the family.

  8. Kyoko Penn-St Clair

    This totally disgusted me. Of course the dog would mourn but with love and time it would have been ready for a new loving owner. What about the dog's right to live? Why do people think animals are so disposable? Theyare living creatures. God says ALL life great and small is precious. This was total disregard for a life.

  9. Laurel Moss

    Judy, a service dog is needed by other people. if the family couldn't keep the dog, there are many other families who need them. Also, the fact that shelters euthanize healthy dogs has nothing to do with this. That is a much different situation than this and it certainly doesn't justify what this family and the vet that performed the procedure did to this loving dog.

  10. Patrick Gourley

    Like I said before-how you treat your animal defines your character -no compassion! People who do these things to helpless animals should have their heads examined! Sickens me

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