We could see in her eyes that she no longer wanted the burden that was her body. It was failing. She could not eat or speak. She had no more control over her bodily functions. She laid on her bed moaning in discomfort. We knew it was time.

We took her in to her doctor. We all gathered around her, and as she was injected with the lethal dose of fluid, we held her and spoke comforting words. Within seconds, she was free of the body that had failed her so miserably.

She was 12 years old. That is 84 in dog years. Unfortunately, we could not give my dear mother the same loving care. She was diagnosed with ALS and lost all functions of eating and speaking. She was trapped inside a body that was failing her. The only future she had was out of her control.

She wanted that control back, and she took it with the help of the book "Final Exit." She chose her day to die, and she did it with dignity and on her terms. Unlike with our dear dog, we could not surround her or be with her, for fear of legal retribution. She died alone.

When will we learn to treat human beings with the same compassion that we are able to do with our pets?