Animals have feelings and emotions, and they suffer from pain, disabilities and diseases just as humans do. But unlike my father, who could clearly communicate his wishes through a system of blinking his eyes, animals can't tell us (at least not in human language) that they don't feel well, are in terrible pain or even want to die. They depend on us to notice when something is wrong and to be brave enough to make the heartbreaking-but-humane decision to end their suffering when the time comes.
Worryingly, nearly a quarter (24%) of owners were not given any advice on any aspect of health or welfare when they got their pet. Many people appear to have no idea about the costs and long-term commitments involved when taking on a pet but all owners are responsible for the duty of care to any of their pets.