I wanted to share with you a case that really touched my heart a couple of winters ago. Bella was a sweet, older German Shepherd who had been having trouble getting around for a while. Her mom Karen reached out to me when she felt that Bella’s suffering had become too great. The morning of the phone call Bella was unable to rise off of her favorite spot on the living room floor. Karen called me because she didn’t want to have to move Bella from her favorite spot and really preferred to say goodbye at home.
When I arrived at the home Bella was sitting in her favorite spot on the living room floor, basking in the sunlight. She was able to sit up and greet me and seemed at ease with me being in the home. I sat down on the floor next to Bella and spoke to her family about the euthanasia until everyone felt comfortable and all their questions were answered. When it came time to give Bella her sedation she remained sitting up and looking out the window into the yard that she had protected and played in for so many years. It was as if she knew that these would be her last memories and that she wanted to look out her window until the very last.
I think of this case often when I get asked why I do at-home end-of-life care. To me, I gave Bella the greatest gift I could give her. She was able to pass away at home, in her favorite place, surrounded by love.