ARTICLE: Die like a dog

One of the things that I was liberated from, when my personal theology shifted away from “salvation anxiety,” was my confusion about “end of life” issues. This is an informed and thoughtful piece written by one of my Psychiatry supervisors from residency. We had put our own dog of 16 years to sleep about two years ago and the experience was clearly an act full of painful emotion, but also motivated by the best of emotions – love and compassion. The feeling that followed was peace.

Why not for human beings?

This is a complex idea, but one I think that is worth struggling with as all of us will come to the moments in life where the death of a loved one is inevitable. These days, most people die in hospitals with family stuck in the middle of making “medical decisions” rather than spending time with that person as they live their last moments. The word “euthanasia” means “good death.” A medical model asserts death as a failure of treatment. Is that really true? What does it say when studies show that most physicians themselves choose to die at home?

What is a “good death” to a Progressive Christian whose theology is built around being loving and compassionate to oneself and others?

Written by Joseph Lee, M.D.

I'm a Psychiatrist in private practice in Redondo Beach, CA. I completed both medical school and residency training at UCLA. My practice is psychotherapy based with a health-oriented focus on personal growth and wellbeing. I also teach about mental healthiness and advocate for social emotional learning (SEL) in all contexts.

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