In Home Euthanasia
Saying Goodbye To Your Pet At Home
“How is it that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.” --- Frances Hodgson Burnett
It is both a great gift as well as a great responsibility that we have as pet parents, to be able to humanely end the suffering of our beloved companions when the time comes. But how do we know when that time is? We struggle because we do not want our pets to be in pain but we also do not want to let them go too soon. There is no easy way to answer this question. I always suggest that people start with some general considerations and then look more specifically at their individual pet.
In general, is your pet still eating and drinking reasonably well? Are they able to make it outside to go to the bathroom? Do they still enjoy interacting with you or other pets in the household? Do they shy away from things they used to enjoy, such as brushing? Are they getting good sleep or are they waking to pace or vocalize? Is their relationship with you more challenging because of everything you are trying to do for them medically? Many pets are very cooperative for multiple medications, SQ fluids and other treatments that are designed to extend their lives and increase their comfort, but in some cases, the pet has such a negative response to these attempts that they begin to hide or run from you when you are trying to help them. I think this is a valid concern when deciding how to care for your seriously ill pet.
I am often asked if the euthanasia of pets is the hardest part of my job, and it is, but I also feel that it is one of the most important services I can offer to people. I have been a veterinarian since 2000, but it never gets any easier. Every pet I see is loved by someone, so each goodbye is just as special and important to that family. Helping people say goodbye to their beloved family members is heartbreaking but it also reminds me of how lucky we are to have known the unconditional love of a pet, whether it was for a matter of months or decades.
I am happy to talk with you about your specific pet’s situation, and when the time comes, to do my absolute best to help you give them the most peaceful exit we can. We can be anywhere you like in your home. If your pet still has an appetite please feel free to give them all the special treats they want! You can decide if you would like your children or other pets to be present. The nice thing about being at home is that sometimes a child will decide they would rather leave, or that they do want to be present, and it is an easy place for them to change their mind. I personally think it is very important to answer children’s questions in a straightforward way; I think this can help them accept the loss of their pet.
Afterwards, if you would like assistance with cremation I can take your pet and arrange for cremation. “Communal” or “Group” cremation is the term used to describe the cremation of several pets together, and no cremains are returned. “Private” cremation is an option for families who would like their pet’s cremains returned to them.