There is a lot of debate about whether celebrities deserve to have their private lives aired to the public. Some are accused of courting and the publicity and intrusion, but in this case, I feel that press intrusion is a step too far.
Ashton Kutcher and his fiancee Mila Kunis were photographed taking their elderly English Bulldog into a clinic to be put to sleep. I found these photos distasteful for many reasons. The first being that any dog owner knows how this situation feels: It is truly heartbreaking. Saying goodbye to your best friend is one of the worst days of your life. For it to be photographed and displayed publicly is completely unnecessary, and a sad reflection on the moral compass of the photographer and the paper that bought the image and published it.
Secondly I feel that if I, a client or friend, were in the process of having to do this, the last thing you want is a photographic record of it. Every owner would want privacy, calm and to be left alone.
Ashton Kutcher made the brave yet utterly miserable decision to put his beloved dog down, and when you go through with such a decision, a little bit of your heart goes with your dog. You share your life with a dog and you dedicate your days, life and love to this four legged friend. It broke my heart to see such an occasion reported like it was an exciting news story.
It also highlights the lack of public discussion around the bereavement process a pet owner will go through when they lose their beloved companion. For many of us, a dog may share our lives for 15 years or it may have just been part of our world for a much shorter time. Either way, your dog living with you, interacting with you and comforting you is something to be cherished. When your dearest dog departs it can for some feel like they have lost a best friend and many people underestimate this. If you are having to make some hard decisions or are facing a future without your dog I would urge you to contact the Blue Cross Bereavement line. The charity offer a phone no where you can call to talk to trained counsellors who can help you and are more than happy to discuss your situation if you do not feel comfortable discussing with people in your life.