By Summer Griffin, DVM
Is it Time?
Are you undecided? Our Quality of Life (QOL) 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 by your pet. A car ride in a pet carrier can be scary to cats and small dogs. Or a medical condition can make it painful for your pet to get into the car. A veterinary hospital can have unfamiliar smells and sounds. Many times the vet’s office can be a scary place to your pet. The exam room can feel cold and sterile. We know how it feels to drive home after the appointment without your pet. Our goal is to help you and your pet feel comfortable and as fear free as possible as you say goodbye. 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 the people and things they love.
The euthanasia process will be divided into two steps. First, our veterinarians may 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 pet’s muscles relax the bladder and colon muscles can also relax which may cause them to urinate or defecate. Dignity in death is important and we want to make sure your pet 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 transport and handle the aftercare of your beloved pet or you may take care of aftercare yourself either at our facility or the crematorium of your choice. 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 pet never leaves our care during the entire process.
With our Private Aquamation, you will receive only your pet’s ashes back. We offer a variety of urn and scatter tube choices and you may request a clay paw print and/or a fur clipping. You’ll have an opportunity to hang a butterfly on one of our Hope Trees in honor of your pet when you come to pick up your pet’s ashes.
If you don’t wish to receive your pet’s ashes back, we offer two options. With our Communal Aquamation, your pet’s ashes are scattered in a garden setting in lieu of getting ashes back. If you’d just prefer us to handle your pet’s body removal, we can also take care of that for you. We call that Care of Remains. Some owners decide to bury their pet at home. We advise to check your local laws to make sure this is an appropriate and legal option.
Regardless of the aftercare option you choose, we treat your pet’s body with dignity and respect.
Pet Loss Counseling
Our support doesn’t end when the appointment ends. We partner with a pet loss support specialist, Carolyne Joseph, PsyD. She offers pet loss counseling sessions at our office for those struggling with grief. Dr. Carolyne Joseph also offers additional appointments if continued support is needed. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (619) 334-0708.