The Topeka, Kansas woman who was arrested for fatally shooting her dog on January 4th says she isn’t crazy, and she isn’t suicidal. Her dog was dying, and she did what she thought was best by putting him out of his misery.
“When I shot him, it was instant. He felt no pain,” Suzanne Rodina said of her dog, Shadow. “I did it out of love for my dog, not because I hated him or didn’t want him.”
The German Shepherd-wolf hybrid, known for developing joint problems, was slowly deteriorating. A veterinarian told Rodina that he had outlived his lifespan two years ago, and the saddened owner knew it was his time. He was having difficulty walking, and hit his head and elbows on the stairs when he climbed them. He was barely eating, and Rodina prayed every morning that when she woke, Shadow would still be alive. On Jan. 4th when Shadow couldn’t get up from his bed, Rodina knew what she had to do.
“I didn’t want to do it,” she said, crying. “I didn’t want to let him go. But I knew I was just keeping him for me.”
It is unknown exactly why Rodina did not bring Shadow into a vet’s to be euthanized. Perhaps she couldn’t afford it, as many vets do not offer payment plans or help for those who have financial difficulties. But taking a pet on that final journey is never easy, and she wanted him to die at home.
“Some people think it’s cruel, what I did,” Rodina said. “But he was in his own bed. I was sitting with him, talking to him, petting him. He was happy. His tail was wagging. And, and it was over.”
This is how people dealt with sick and injured animals for years, particularly in rural areas.
Police received the call that a woman had shot her dog and was threatening to kill herself. The police went to her house, and using a loudspeaker, coaxed her out. Rodina says she was in shock, and didn’t even hear the loudspeaker. She didn’t know police were there until she happened to look out a window.
She peacefully exited the house with her hands up, and was escorted by police to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Rodina wasn’t suicidal, and was released later that evening.
“I feel very badly that I upset a lot of people,” she said.
She is working on an apology letter to Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller.
Her other two dogs, a two-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd named Spirit and an eight-year-old Pomeranian named Baby, were anxiously awaiting her return. Though animal control did not agree with her method of euthanasia, they determined that she was no threat to her other pets.
Rodina is still grieving the loss of her Shadow. It pained her too much to even speak about how difficult the decision was to end her dog’s life.
“Shadow was probably the most wonderful companion I’ve had during my life,” she managed to get out. “I loved him more than anything in the world.”