World-Friend Adi Da loves all living beings. He acknowledges the multitude of non-humans to be deeply conscious and contemplative beings who are worthy of the same love and positive regard as any human being. He Calls everyone to the fundamental understanding that all beings and things inhere in the Divine Reality. Avatar Adi Da has established Fear-No-More Zoo as a means of extending His Vision of deep respect for the contemplative and Spiritual existence of all beings.
World Friend Adi Da: If you are going to bring animals into your sphere and take them out of theirs, you have to make some sort of arrangement with them in which they have the potential, through their contemplative life, to be just as happy as you want them to be. But in that process of sensitizing yourself to non-humans and placing no barriers between yourself and them, you have to go beyond your previous mind about non-humans as sort of “non-beings”. Many people wonder what to do when their pet, or another animal, is very ill and dying. How can we best serve an animal through this aspect of its life-process? Although much of Avatar Adi Da’s Wisdom in Easy Death is applicable to all beings, there are some unique points to consider about serving the death of animals, and whether euthanasia is appropriate.
Serving the death and dying process in animals: When an animal begins to enter the death process, there are some simple things that we can do to assist and support the animal. Because of their already deep level of contemplation, most non-humans have much less difficulty than humans do with releasing themselves into and through the death process. Consequently, they usually need much less help than most people do. Sometimes the best help we can give them is to simply leave them alone. Set them up in a comfortable, safe, quiet place and allow them their space. Once the death process is underway, and soon after the death has occurred, minimize physical contact with the animal. At this point, physical contact–although perhaps reassuring to the grieving person–can become disturbing and distracting for the one who is involved in the actual process of letting go of the body.
If it is a natural death, whether through old age or a long illness, hopefully you will have had time to express your love and gratitude to your animal friend well before the actual death process is fully underway. Both leading up to and at the time of death, it is most helpful to the animal if you too have come to the point of acceptance, release, and letting go. In your feeling, allow the animal to freely relax its attachment to the body. Because many animals form such strong loyalties toward the humans they love, if they feel that you are not ready for them to die they may resist letting go, and may also “linger” after death, all of which compromises their ability to transition smoothly. One of the main difficulties they might experience in the death process is the attachment of human friends who have not learned to let go and free their animal friend to move on. This is an important point. As your animal friend is dying, talk with your human friends for the emotional support you may need. Pain medication, antibiotics, and other supportive veterinary care practices can be used to good effect for the dying animal’s comfort and relaxation. Consult your veterinarian on these matters.
After death, let the body rest in place for twelve to twenty-four hours and then bury or cremate. It also serves to do a simple burial ceremony on the body or ashes. Take up all the animal’s “belongings”–bedding, bowls, leashes, toys, and so forth. Clean them all and put them away. All of this helps make conscious and tangible the process of fullest release. Meditate more. Go on retreat. Use what you have just seen and felt to become a more serious and happy human being.
Serving wild animals:
If you come across a wild animal who has been mortally injured or killed, it is fine to offer help, so long as you are extremely careful not to get hurt (bitten, kicked, butted, and so forth). Help given to a dying wild animal should usually be very simple and brief. Wild animals are not used to human contact. If they have been mortally hurt or just recently killed, they are already dealing with a lot. An unfamiliar human presence around them can be very disturbing. There they are, in pain and shock, faced with the death process that is coming over them, and then they have to deal with their inbuilt fear response toward people. If one is not very sensitive to this, even well-intentioned help might represent more disturbance than support. If the animal is injured on a roadway, you can calmly, and as gently as possible, move the animal off the road and into the bushes somewhere nearby and then leave it alone to die quietly and undisturbed. (You might also consider calling a trained professional about euthanasia–see discussion below.)
Wild animals do not need human help through the actual death process. Their inherent Spiritual sensitivity has already prepared them well for it. Simply let them be. Later, go back and deal with the body in an appropriate way, or notify the relevant authorities about the carcass.