“Good death” is the Greek root of the word euthanasia, the practice of intentionally ending a life.
The objective of this personal project was to organize a massive quantity of data in a way that impacts people and compels them to ponder their everyday decisions or reframe their thinking. I was shocked to hear the statistic that 19,710 individual dogs and cats that were euthanatized in Los Angeles animal shelters in one year. Thus it became the basis for extensive research into the subject, and ultimately resulted in the creation of this book.
An infographic of sorts, this book contains personal data from each of the 19,710 individual dogs and cats that were euthanatized as well as the signature of the person who authorized the procedure. Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes comprised 55% of the total dogs euthanatized, while neonatal kittens comprised 15% of the cats euthanatized. While the data is presented in a clinical, dispassionate way, the book's sheer heft (it weighs nearly 10 pounds!) makes a lasting impression.
The first section includes different euphemisms for euthanasia, the agents used, the process, and the most common reasons why owners surrender their pets. The thick middle section is pink, a reference to pentobarbital, the euthanasia medication most veterinarians use. The forms in this section are a handwritten log of the personal data for each of the 54 animals euthanatized each day, from January 01 through December 31. The last section proposes a solution to the dilemma by encouraging readers to adopt a pet, citing the myriad health benefits of interacting with dogs and cats.