A Very Personal Decision – Bran’s Story

I have been in private practice for five years and last year started a house call service to help families with end of life care for their pets. Over the past three years I have been lucky enough to help an older gentleman Mr. Crosson and his companion Bran. I met Bran on my second day at work and we became fast friends. She always looked forward to coming in to see me. Maybe it was the excitement in my voice, the belly rubs she received, or the many treats I gave her. She, I and Mr. Crosson have been through a lot in the past few years and have developed a special friendship. She has been diagnosed with multiple conditions and has stayed happy and healthy with the care and love of her pet parent up until very recently. Everything changed when Bran had a seizure episode last week. Over the past week Bran’s condition has been ever changing which has caused moments of extreme happiness and those with tears. Their were times when Mr. Crosson was ready to let her go, but wanted to give her just one more night to see if her condition would improve. Mr. Crosson and I have been talking daily about Bran’s condition and quality of life.  I’ve realized through talking with him that I love Bran just about as much as he does. I’m finding that making a decision about when it’s time has become very personal in this case. I want the best for Bran, Mr. Crosson. I know that he and I together will make the best and most loving decision for Bran when it’s time. Until that day comes Bran is going to have every opportunity to live life to its fullest with Mr. Crosson by her side.

I have walked many families through the process of deciding when it’s time to say goodbye to their beloved pet. I truly understand what my clients face when it comes to end of life care and decisions for your pet. My mobile vet practice is solely devoted to helping with the end of life transition. I’m available for free phone consultations to discuss the specific needs of your companion and to discuss your emotions as well.  I have been trained in pet loss guidance and I provide home euthanasia in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, and Durham.

Here is a picture of Bran, Mr. Crosson, Jo Ann and myself this past Halloween.

Pecan Pie’s Valentine Advice

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I’m still trying to decide what to get for my Meowmie. I already let her pet me, feed me and clean my litter box but with Valentine’s Day I’d like to show her just what a purrfect Meowmie she is.

Chocolate would make a great present, but sadly for me I won’t be able to sample and share in it’s delight. Chocolates contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms and seizures in cats and dogs. I don’t know about the rest of my fluffy friends out there but I’d rather avoid chocolate all together

My next idea is a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Roses are safe for me and the rest of my furry friends, so don’t worry about those. Stay away from Lilies, they are bad news for all my four legged friends. So instead of sleeping on the laptop today, I will go ahead and use it to order all these treats, everyone have a safe Valentin’s Day!

Pecan Pie with help from Dr. Azure Holland

Why Home Euthanasia for Your Pet?

Being in private practice at a local Raleigh Animal Hospital and offering house calls for in home pet euthanasia, I believe I have a
unique perspective of what a home euthanasia can offer the pet and the family.

I’ve found in private practice that euthanasia appointments are very impersonal and often take place in cold sterile exam rooms. Families are also forced to start the  grieving process in a public setting. In a regular hospital setting, the Doctor on duty often cannot devote 100% of his or her attention to the pet or the family and any  there is no time to offer any bereavement guidance to the family. I’ve often seen pets come to the hospital for euthanasia who have just endured a terrifying car ride and are now faced with being in a hospital where stress or painful procedures may have happened in the past. Hospitals are busy places with other patients coming in and out and many other people waiting and busy staff. My experience has shown me there is a much better way to honor and say goodbye to the family members who have been so loyal and loving to us.

When I come out to a home to help, I am completely focused on the pet and the family. I do everything I can to make this very hard situation just a little bit better for the pet and it’s loved ones. When I come into a home, I have time to meet and spend time with the pet and also focus on the pet parents and what they are going through. The whole process is very gentle. The pet gets to be at home surrounded by familiarity and love. Sometimes owners will give treats before the sedation, or have a special toy their to comfort their beloved pet. My appointments are also very flexible. I try to tailor each experience for the pet and family. Some families choose to say goodbye under a tree outside, some families invite their friends over to send their pet off with good wishes, and still others choose to curl up with their pet on the sofa and spend the last few minutes together as they have spent most of their lives. I feel honored to have been there for my clients who have let me into their families and if I can be of any assistance to you, please call, if only just to talk.  I available for veterinary house calls in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill and all the places in-between.


Is Home Euthanasia service more expensive than using my vet at the hospital?

I regularly get asked this question, I wanted to address it on my blog knowing that it is a sensitive topic. I practice at both an animal hospital and my mobile service that offers home euthanasia for dogs and cats in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas.  I feel that both of my unique work experiences gives me good insight on this issue.

My house call visits typically last on average around 2 hours. This can vary depending on a few variables including how much the pet parents and I talk and the overall experience that the family is wanting. I am trained in pet loss guidance and I like to spend the first part of the visit just talking and getting to know the pet and the pet parents as well as going over the procedure in detail and answering any questions. My goal is to have the family feel as comfortable as possible. With my mobile veterinary service I never overbook myself. When I show up to help a family I am 100% focused on their needs and the needs of the pet. If the family chooses to, I also take care of all the aftercare arrangements including meeting with the crematorium provider and bringing the ashes back to the family in person.

Hospitals are busy places and typically the clinician is handling multiple cases and has much less time to meet with the families and discuss the procedure or offer pet loss guidance. I know from speaking with families who decided to say goodbye to their beloved pet in hospitals that they often felt rushed to say goodbye and wished they had chosen a more intimate setting.  I know from the experience of working in both my practices that home euthanasia is not for everyone, just as saying goodbye within a hospital setting is not for everyone. Cost does play a role in whether some families decided to say goodbye to their pets at home.  I’m proud to offer a compassionate alternative to pet parents so they have more choices when it  is time to say goodbye.  I offer free phone consultations so that you may give me a call and discuss my services to determine if it is right for your family.

Pecan Pie’s Tips for Surviving the Holidays. Literally.

This time of the year more than most I hear a lot of my friends having to make unnecessary trips to the Vet’s office which is not a fun place most of the time, however, since my Meowmie works there, I don’t mind visiting.

The tree is a lot of fun and many friends have had trouble keeping away from those light cords. I have asked my parents to unplug the cord just to be safe while they are out.

 My Meowmie tells me that during the holidays she sees more ingested items such as ornaments, parts of presents and other decorations which can lead sick pets and expensive treatments and surgeries. To keep me safe she doesn’t put anything ingestible on or under the tree. 

 I personally love this time of the year most for new food items to sample, but I am told they are not good for me and that I need to stick to my cat food.  Human food can be high in sugar, salt and fats and can lead to tummy aches, diarrhea and pancreatitis. My Meowmie knows that I’m happiest when I’m feeling well.

 So stay safe out there, and resist all efforts to be put in a costume!  As you can see I have not been successful.

By Pecan Pie (with interpretation from my Meowmie Dr. Holland)



How do I know when it is time to put my pet to sleep?

This is one of the hardest questions I get asked.  I have recently told a family to talk to your pet, they will tell you when it is time.  That may sound like strange advice, put it is true.  As pet owners we all know when our pet is trying to tell us something.  I have met with folks that often struggle with this issue and I have used the quality of life scale developed by Dr. Alice Villalobos as a guide to help owners access their pet’s current quality of life.  I have posted Dr. Villalobos scale for you to download and work through.  Please feel free to call me to discuss your pet’s specific situation, I always offer free consultations.  I am honored to serve familes with my mobile vet service in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Quality Of Life worksheet


The Psychology of Grieving for your Pet by Drew Elliot

A very good friend of mine, Drew Eillot, recently interviewed me for an article he wrote, “The Psychology of Grieving for Your Pet.”  I was honored that he reached out to me for this very helpful article.  I have posted a link below to the story in the Holly Springs Sun.  I have experienced pet loss myself and I find it very important to be able to have an ongoing dialogue with others about the loss.  The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement hosts chats that can be a helpful way to connect with others who are experiencing the same feelings that you are.  I have posted a link to the chat room information below as well.  Azure

Link to Drew’s Story, The Psychology of Grieving for your Pet

Link to the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement chat room info


5 tips to memorialize your pet

I thought I would share 5 tips that I have found helpful with pet loss and to memorialize your pet.

1.  Start a new daily ritual.  Take your favorite photo of your pet and put it beside your bed.  Say hello each morning.

2. Take an object that you can relate to your pet with you each day.  Place collar tags on your key chain or wear a cremains pendant near your heart.

3. Make a keepsake.  You can write a poem or make a scrapbook.  Carve your pet’s name into a garden stone.

4. Give back.  Make a donation in your pet’s name to your local SPCA or your other favorite pet cause.

5.  Plant a memorial garden.  Plant a new tree or create a memorial garden in your pet’s name.


Dr. Holland On NBC 17 My Carolina Today

Dr. Holland was recently featured on NBC 17 My Carolina today discussing her house calls for home euthanasia.  Dr. Azure Holland’s mobile veterinary service is an alternative for pet lovers in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill. Dr. Holland also provide in home pet hospice services.  With her latest appearance on My Carolina Today she told viewers about this helpful and comforting mobile veterinary service. She also spoke about her decision to become a veterinarian and start this service.

She drew her inspiration to become a veterinarian during her childhood years. Growing up having many farm animals, she saw her grandparents tending to them on a regular basis. This is what inspired her to take up veterinary medicine.

It was an incident in the family that urged her to start this service. It happened after the loss of a beloved family dog a few years ago. She was called by her parents to “say goodbye” to Venus, the family’s golden retriever. As Venus lounged at her favorite spot, the family was lovingly able to say goodbye to their dear pet in privacy surrounded by love.

Dr. Holland believes that at home pet euthanasia is very different from a hospital visit, primarily because there is a strong sense of comfort and intimacy. The family gets a chance to grieve the way they would want to. At the same time, the pet does not need to have a disliked car journey to the hospital. Pets may associate the hospital and the vet with anxiety and discomfort because of vaccines and medicines administered in the past. This is why a mobile veterinary in-home euthanasia is a better alternative. Now pet owners in Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill can have a safe and dignified alternative to a hospital administered euthanasia.

Dr. Holland also talked about how tough the euthanasia decision can be for a pet owner. Some owners try to “talk” to their pet or make other efforts to know the general wellness and behavior. Owners need to examine different aspects about their pet: Are they eating? Are they enjoying general activity? Are they able to walk? Are they suffering from chronic pain? There are other considerations as well that need to be kept in mind. While making this decision, going to the vet for an examination certainly helps to determine the quality of life left for your pet. Physical checkups, blood work, X-rays will reveal where the pet stands, medically. But the other important component is emotional. It certainly takes a long time to condition the self and the family, emotionally.

With this mobile veterinary service, Dr. Holland hopes to offer families and their pets they love in the triangle a loving and dignified way to say good bye.  Watch Dr. Holland’s appearance here.