the Transition of Dying Animals
Camps has been a devotee of Adi Da Samraj for many years. He has been the
director of Fear-No-More Zoo since 1993. Serving the animals of Fear-No-More Zoo
under Adi Da's guidance and instruction, and developing an ever deepening understanding
of Adi Da's Vision of Fear-No-More, Stuart also writes papers and articles about
the contemplative life of the non-humans, the environment, conservation, and the
sacred relationship that humans may develop with everything else.
article is excerpted from Appendix C of Easy
Death. You can learn much more about Adi Da's wisdom about "non-humans"
on the Fear-No-More Zoo
often wonder what to do when their pet, or another animal, is dead or dying. How
can we best serve an animal through this part of its life-process? Adi Da Samraj
has given instruction on the death process for humans in His book Easy
Death. The process is essentially the same for non-humans yet there are
unique points to consider in serving the death of animals, including whether euthanasia
an animal begins to enter the death process, there are simple things 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 with releasing themselves
into and through the death process. 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 under-way
and soon after the death has occurred, minimize physical contact with the animal.
At this point, physical contact though perhaps reassuring to the grieving person
can be disturbing and distracting for the one who is involved in the actual
process of letting the body go.
If it is a natural death,
whether through old age or a long illness, you will hopefully 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, yourself, have come to the point of acceptance
Allow and encourage the animal to relax its attachment
to the body. Because many animals form strong loyalties toward their humans, if
they feel you are not ready for them to die they may resist letting go. They may
also linger after death, which compromises their ability to transition smoothly.
One of the main difficulties they might experience in the
death process is the attachment of humans who have not yet learned to release
their animal friend to move on. This is an important point. As the animal is dying,
talk with your human friends to gain the emotional support you may need.
medication, antibiotics, and other veterinary care might serve the dying animal's
comfort and relaxation. Consult your veterinarian.
of Avatar Adi Da, anointing the animal with holy water and sacred ash from one
of the Sanctuaries
of Adidam is recommended. You might also bring fresh flowers to the dying
animal, as flowers exemplify the positive cycle of living and dying. When in the
dying animal's company, Invoke Adi Da Samraj and direct your attention to the
Divine, rather than upon the transitioning individual in front of you, or upon
yourself. Turn your feeling to Adi Da Samraj and release any negative emotion.
The death of another is a profound lesson for each of us.
death, let the body rest in place for 12 to 24 hours, then bury or cremate. It
also serves to do a simple burial ceremony on the body or the ashes. Take up all
the animal's "belongings" bedding, bowls, leashes, toys, and so forth. Clean
them and put them away. This helps make conscious and tangible the process of
release. Meditate more. Go on retreat. Use the event to become a more serious
and happy human being.
Serving wild animals
you come across a wild animal who has been mortally injured or killed it is fine
to offer help, but be very careful not to get hurt.
to a dying wild animal should usually be simple and brief. Wild animals are not
used to human contact. If they are hurt or recently killed, they are already dealing
with a lot. An unfamiliar human presence can be disturbing. Remain calm. There
they are, in pain and shock, faced with the death process coming over them, and
suddenly they have to deal with their inbuilt fear response toward humans.
one is not sensitive to this, even well intentioned help might be more disturbing
than helpful. 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 nearby. Then leave
it alone to die quietly and undisturbed. (You might also consider calling a trained
professional about euthanasia see discussion below.)
animals do not need human help through the 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 relevant authorities
about the carcass.
The question of euthanasia
we employ euthanasia with animals we interrupt the natural course of their karmic
purification. If possible, allow your animal friend to live as long as it is humane
to do so preferably until a natural death has occurred. Weigh the virtues of
this against the animal's state of pain and disturbance, and be sensitive to what
the animal wants.
Sometimes it's clear that it wants your help;
other times it may wish to go through the process without intervention. It is
important for both you and the animal to feel what is happening and freely release
the event without clinging. They will always sense your communication and supportive
intention, and this will help to guide and relax them.
natural contemplatives, non-humans readily accept the process of death once it
becomes unavoidable. Avatar Adi Da's Instruction is that as long as the being
maintains the impulse to life, we should fully serve and support that impulse.
Only when the individual turns its energies toward the actual
death process should we turn our supportive energies in that direction. Adi Da
Samraj recommends great restraint in resorting to euthanasia. Use it only where
absolutely necessary, and when an animal is in a dire circumstance of pain, bewilderment
and suffering and with no hope for recovery.
the animal suffering pain, fear, or debilitation? What is the individual's state?
Should the animal be permitted to live longer? Are there any procedures that might
prolong the life, and should they be implemented or not? Should the animal continue
to live and should medical things be done to help it live or not? Is the animal
able to function? Will it be able to feel or not? Or is it just suffering? How
does the animal communicate its state? Is it disturbed, in great pain, or is it
comfortable? If it is not functioning, can it be healed to be able to function
well enough again? Consider whether the animal should be allowed to die naturally
or whether it should be put to sleep through medical means. And if it is to be
put to sleep, this should be done in a non-disturbing way. What would occur over
time if the process were one of allowing it to go through the death naturally,
keeping in mind that it might need to be terminated at some point along the process?
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, October 25, 1991
the above questions to guide your care of the animal, always staying sensitive
to the life-process of the animal, honoring the life at every step, and not moving
to euthanasia prematurely just to avoid the difficult confrontation death can
present us with. Death is one of life's great lessons.
to Easy Death