While it’s undeniable that employees Ernesto Moran and Justin Wadman did a terrific thing for Ike the dog in building him a custom wagon, so he wouldn’t be in so much pain getting around, their action speaks to a dark side of the story that is hard to think about if you’re a pet owner.
Ike’s condition is horrifying. Owner Risa Feldman rescued him 12 years ago, but his recent diagnosis has him suffering with bone cancer for the next two to six months.
When Risa tried to walk him, she noticed he was having pain in one of his back legs. It became excruciatingly painful for the dog to get around, but in spite of this, Feldman kept trying, going to the extent of fixing a harness for Ike that did little to stop the pain. She also had a wheelchair for his back legs for a time, but shifting the weight to just his front paws resulted in him getting tired very easily.
It was Feldman’s love for Ike that led her to Moran and Wadman at Home Depot. They were able to build Ike the custom wagon that now has the internet stirring, but this leaves animal lovers of all stripes with the question: is that really any way to live?
Ike may continue as is for the next six months, not being able to move without pain shooting through every part of his body. And what for?
Feldman gets solace from the idea that Ike loves to “watch people” and “eat bacon” and “lay there in the sun.”
“It’s his favorite thing to do,” she explains.
But the reality is Ike cannot live the way that a dog should be able to live. He’s suffering with every move that he makes, and while it’s understandable that Feldman doesn’t want to see her pet go, it’s really just prolonging his suffering.
While it may not be a very popular opinion, as someone who’s had to make the awful decision so a beloved pet would no longer be in pain, it’s sad to see Ike go through this just so a human being can wait a little longer to confront their grief.
And I’m not the only person, who feels this way. Dr. Jessica Pierce, in a piece for Psychology Today, writes the following.
“A common refrain in the pet end-of-life literature is this: too soon is far better than too late. And as a popular saying in veterinary medicine goes, ‘I’d rather help my friend a month too soon than an hour too late.’ This is because ‘too late’ can be really awful for the animal. I asked one of our local vets whether he thinks people wait too long. ‘Yes, very much so,’ he answered. ‘Sometimes you just have to say to an owner that they are being selfish and that they need to let the animal go. Most people, once you point out how much pain an animal is in, will comply.'”
That being said, hats off to the Home Depot guys for doing what they could for Ike. Do you think making Ike live out his days with a painful disease is cruel? Sound off in the comments section.