Is It Time?

By: Summer Griffin, DVM

Is it time? Are you undecided?  Quality of life appointment can help you make an educated decision.

Our veterinarians can work with you in determining if it is the appropriate time for euthanasia. Every case is unique. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy.  Often the decision can be coupled with fear, guilt, doubt or sadness.  Our doctors have the benefit of seeing your pet in their normal environment,  they may go through the pain scale with you, and or the HHHHHMM (quality of life) scale. Together you can work as a team to make sure euthanasia is the appropriate choice for your pet. 

When you know it is time to say goodbye to your beloved pet? 

We can come to the comfort of your home.  There is no travel required.  A car ride in a pet carrier can be scary to felines or a medical condition can make it painful to get your pet into a car.  A veterinary hospital can have unfamiliar smells and sounds.  Many times the vets office can be a scary place to your pet.  The exam room can feel cold and sterile.  We know how it feels to drive him after the appointment without your pet.  Our goal is to make  you and your pet feel comfortable and as fear free as possible as we say goodbye to your beloved pet.   At your home your pet can be in their favorite spot on the grass outside or be in their favorite spot in the living room surrounded by people and the things they love.   The euthanasia process will be divided into two steps.  First our veterinarians encourage you to offer your pet their favorite treat (peanut butter, canned food, dog cookies) or even a treat off the “naughty list” (ice cream, cool whip, cheese, etc) while a sedative injection is given. The sedation may take about 10 – 15 minutes to take effect.  Every pet and every disease condition is unique. Our doctors will be there to monitor the entire time.  Once your pet is sedate a potty pad will be placed under your pet.  As your pets muscles relax the bladder and colon muscles can also relax.  This may cause them to urinate or defecate.  Dignity in death is important and we want to make sure stays as clean as possible.  The second injection involves placement of a butterfly catheter into a vein.  This second step is an intravenous overdose of an anesthetic agent. This will cause the heart and breathing to decrease until they stop, and your pet will pass away peacefully. After the appointment you can grieve in the privacy of your own home.  

We can also arrange for the transportation and aftercare of your beloved pet. You may even take care of aftercare transportation yourself and transport your pet to our facility.  Our offices specialize in Aquamation cremation services. A respectful and dignified option, Alkaline Hydrolysis, also called Aquamation, is a gentle, environmentally friendly alternative to flame-based cremation. Your pets never leave our care during the entire process.   

You have the option of having your pet individually cremated, getting a clay paw print or even a fur clipping.  We offer a variety of urn and scatter tube choices. The other option we offer is to have your pets ashes scattered in a garden setting in lieu if getting ashes back.   

Some owners even decide to bury their pet at home. We advise to check your local laws to make sure this is an appropriate and legal option. 

When you come to pick up your pets ashes, if you choose to receive ashes back,  you have the opportunity to hang a butterfly on one of the memory trees in honor of your pet. 

Our support doesn’t end when the appointment ends.  We partner with a pet loss support specialist Dr. Carolyne Joseph. We offer a free pet loss counseling session for those struggling with grief.  Dr. Carolyne Joseph also offers additional appointments if continued grief support is needed. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (619) 334-0708.

Why Choose a Fear Free℠ Hospital?

By: Summer Griffin, DVM

  • We are proud to have Fear Free certified professionals on our team that are dedicated to caring for your pets emotional well-being as well as his or her physical well-being. 
  • We have designed a hospital with you and your pet in mind 
    • Species specific exam rooms
    • Your pet will have a nonslip surface to stand on such as a yoga mat or a warm, pheromone infused towel
    • Pheromone and aromatherapy diffusers emit calming substances into the air and pet friendly music works its calming effect on the pets central nervous system 
    • We avoid bright white that can be startling to your pet. Pastels are soothing, so our scub uniforms and hospital walls are in shades of pastels 
  • We love Treats! 
    • Bring your cat or dog in hungry because Fear Free certified veterinary team members will be handing out treats throughout the visit to welcome your pet (Please let us know if you or any members of your family have food allergies. We give many treats to make your pets visit more enjoyable and wouldn’t want to make anyone sick!) 
  • We love Toys!
    • In addition to treats, our veterinary team members utilize a variety of distraction techniques such as toys to help your pet be more comfortable 
  • We love the Exam Room! 
    • Whenever possible, our veterinary team members will preform exams and procedures right in the exam room so your pet will be reassured by your presence 
  • We love stress free pets! 
    • If needed, we will prescribe anti-anxiety or other calming medications or supplements to help make the car ride and the visit more enjoyable and less frightening for your pet 
  • We love Meet and Greet Happy Visits! 
    • Swing by during our meet and greet hours to let your pet find a treat, get fussed over or even get a massage from a team member 
    • Early, positive experiences can build a foundation of trust and help prevent fear from developing
  • We love Victory Visits!
    • This entails a  more targeted preparation for your pet to help overcome a phobia ( i.e. – toe nail trims, ear exams, etc). The goal is to get the pet more accustomed to the environments and types of handling and care they’re going to experience via “baby steps” associated with pleasurable sensations to overcome the phobia

Contact Us:

Phone: (619)741-5366


Graceful Departure Pet Center
1177 Greenfield Dr. Suite B
El Cajon, CA 92021

Graceful Departure Pet Center

1177 Greenfield Dr, Suite B, El Cajon, CA 92021, USA