Euthanasia – What Does It Feel Like?

My Beloved Sailor

I don't have a picture of my client, MO, but this is my beloved Sailor, who also experienced euthanasia and adds his comment about it below.

My friend and client, Arabian gelding “MO,” tells us. Read on:

Today I visited Kindred Spirits, a non-profit organization dedicated to end-of-life and hospice care for dogs, horses, and poultry. It’s right down the road from where I live, and I will be giving a talk at the spring open house next weekend on animal communication, so I went over today for an initial visit and to get the lay of the land. After touring the intimate facility that obviously feels like “Home Sweet Home” to all its inhabitants, I sat down in an overstuffed armchair to have a warm heart-to-heart with the foundation’s founder and director, Ulla Pederson.  It is worth mentioning that my lap was also overstuffed — with  elderly poodles, chihuahuas,  dachsunds, and what-have-you’s, some of whom could not walk at all,  and at least a few of whom had no teeth left in their sweet little noggins. Never has there been a more precious and endearing group!

Naturally, as Ulla and I began discussing subject matter for my presentation, and given the purpose of her organization, the issue of death and dying loomed large on the agenda.  Ulla herself is not only an RN but also a bereavement therapist, so she is very experienced in this most difficult area. How to help people who are losing beloved animals is only one part of her work at the foundation, but Ulla hopes it will eventually prevail and take precedence over caring for the animals people abandon when they are old and dying because they don’t know what else to do for them or are too scared or overwhelmed by the dying process.

It seemed right in this context, so I told Ulla about the message I received a few years back from one of my clients, MO, a very aged, spirited, and wise Arabian gelding who, after his death, happily offered his experience of euthanasia. I also told her about the dream I had, just a few months ago, of experiencing euthanasia myself.

The essence of both MO’s report and my dream is the same:  we do not die. Our spirit, awareness and consciousness continue and live on. Here is part of my  session with MO regarding euthanasia:

“MO, can you tell us specifically what it feels like to experience euthanasia? That is a concern for so many, and your words could be helpful to them.”

“Well, first, you need to know that how the spirit is prepared for this has a great bearing on the experience. We who receive the intention beforehand and agree with it are the lucky ones and are able to pass in peace. Some who do not have any warning, or those who are not ready and are in disagreement, experience a set of resistances in the body to the solutions [injections] that do cause some confusion and discomfort (though he shows me those too are brief). They leave anyway, but are often frightened or shocked so require more help and time in clearing. As for us lucky ones, here’s how it feels: first there is a numbing physically at the same time as a fuzziness and sleepiness mentally; yes, there is a brief moment where it feels like one should be able to breathe and can’t, but there is no feeling of suffocation because by then one is anesthetized and not perceiving physically. The spirit lifts out gently this way if it is prepared well. We are blessed when we are prepared.”

In my dream I experienced exactly what MO describes. I knew what was coming, and was waiting for some kind of total “black out,” but as the injections were being administered I realized that my consciousness was simply transitioning into another realm. There was only one brief moment of feeling I needed to catch my breath. And then it was like sailing out over the ocean or running at top speed, totally free.

I asked Sailor if he would like to comment on euthanasia for this blog post.

Reader, please note before reading his comment:  Sailor was always a clown and a jokester, an imp and a punster. And he never really knew he was a horse. So, keeping that in mind, along with the fact that he was suffering horribly when he died and could barely move, much less run — his favorite thing in the world — Sailor’s response?

“It was a KICK!!!”

10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] horse spirit, “Mo,” after his death, and you can read his word-for-word explanation HERE. I have shared his message (with permission of course) with many clients, both human and animal, […]

  2. 2

    Jackie said,

    How apt your description is. No matter how an animal dies, the best way is with preparation. However, it is most important when euthanasia is the means of dying. I remember a dog who wanted to stay with his family forever. And yet there came a time when it was time. The night before, the family and I (I had been almost a part of the family too) gathered around him with crystals and loving words and said our goodbyes. The whole family came to the vet’s office. We took the crystals with us and put them around him. He was a large dog, and the vet was afraid he would move or cause a problem and wanted to sedate him, but the family and the dog chose not to do this. While the vet prepared the site and put in the needle this wonderful dog watched calmly and then laid his head down and went to sleep. Almost immediately he was running in a way he hadn’t been able to for a long time. He was ecstatic!

    • 3

      Hi Jackie,

      What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing this. It really underlines how important it is for all to be in agreement when euthanasia is the best option.


      • 4

        Jackie said,

        Thank you! This and many other stories about animals are in the book I am almost finished writing: A Life Well Spent: soulful animal life and death. Probably in print in the second half of 2010.

  3. 5

    […] horse spirit, “Mo,” after his death, and you can read his word-for-word explanation HERE. I have shared his message (with permission of course) with many clients, both human and animal, […]

  4. 6

    Debra said,

    I was unable to prepare my beautiful horse Grace for her euthanasia . Her illness was sudden , a small intestine strangulation. Her pain was unbearable and surgery was possible but not likely to give her a complete recovery. It most likely I was told would bring her great pain and suffering . The outcome after this surgery is death within the year. I was in shock, she had never been sick in her life. This was one horrible day gone wrong and she was suffering. I did not want to see her suffer for a year. I made the hardest decision to euthanize her. I needed to have it done quickly because of her pain and also before I changed my mind. I told her I could not make this better for her. She gave me kisses and was licking my jacket. She was born on my farm 16 years ago and I imprinted with her. She was the sweetest most loving horse and we were bonded. When they put the medicine in her vein I felt that she was confused and shocked at what was happening. I layed on the floor with her after she dropped and I don’t remember what I said. I did not take her home because I said I believed that she left her body upon its death. I did ask her to come with me to go home. I had brought her friend along with us to the clinic to keep her reassured. When we left the clinic I am not sure if Graces spirit followed. Her friend did not want to get in the trailer realizing Grace was not physically coming. It is three weeks now and I am feeling sadness and guilt . My concern right now is for Grace and her spirit. Did she stay at the clinic with her body? Is she trapped as this article states. Did she make it back to the farm with us to stay there until she is ready to move on. Is there something I can do to help her as she had no preparation for her death. I cannot find peace with this until I feel somehow she has found her peace. Please help me I loved her so and I know she loved her life here .

    • 7

      Hi Debra,
      Thanks so much for sharing this. My heart goes out to you, and I can so imagine the pain you are feeling. I have a horse who I am close with in the same way and it would be agony if this happened for us. The best I can advise is to really get quiet and tune into your horse’s spirit and talk to her about what happened and that you want her to go to the light. Tell and show her that we all leave our bodies at some point, and that we really exist in spirit form, endlessly, and that you don’t want her spirit to stay earthbound. If she goes on to the light, then she can come “visit” any time she wants to, but she does need to go to that light source first. Just use any images or words that feel right to you, and connect with her and tell/show her all these things. I feel sure she will hear you. Life and death are part of an ongoing cycle for all our souls, be they “human” or “animal,” one we go through over and over again. So you will be “reminding” her of how it works. Trust yourself. And trust that she will hear you. Blessings to you both.

  5. 8

    When I read this title I thought I should keep the reading of it for later. It is such a hard thing to go through with any animal, but the descriptions you give make me realize that I did not adequately prepare my mare Opal for her passing. She had those resistances as the shots were administered, and it took awhile for her to go down. At that time in my life I wasn’t as aware of everything with horses as I am now, but later I had a dream of her, after her full brother died. She said to me, “now you will know,” and since then, she has made sure that I know how important it is to let horses know what is going to happen next. Thank you so much for writing this. Susan

  6. 9

    […] I had read many animal communicator blogs over the preceding 72 hours, searching for an article that would tell me how to support her. I don’t know whether animal communicators actually communicate with departed animals. I mean, I question a lot of my own thoughts and assumptions (maybe not so much during this process, but in general), so how can accept what other write as fact? Yet I’ve experienced ‘knowing’ information in a way I can’t explain, so who am I to say that they don’t communicate with animals and spirits? Of the articles I read, some seemed to me to be human projections, stories or fantasies, but others’ descriptions seemed extraordinarily detailed in a way that would be difficult for humans to invent (like this description of a mare’s experience of euthanasia). […]

  7. 10

    Hey there. Thanks for posting. I’m glad I found your comment because it is on a old blog site that is no longer active. This entry, plus all others, is now lodged on my website,, so I hope you will follow us there. And if you have a question or something you would like me to comment on, I hope you will post there. Thanks again!

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