The process that a family goes through to reach the decision of euthanasia for a beloved family pet can be one of the toughest things they ever have to go through. What can make the decision even harder is knowing your pet has a terminal diagnosis and seeing that he or she seems fine today. Depending on the terminal diagnosis, many pets can quickly end up in an emergency situation that may be painful or extremely stressful on the pet and pet parent. Having your veterinarian provide you with as much information as possible about the diagnosis and what to expect in a timeline format can help families prepare for the ultimate loving decision of euthanasia.
So how do my families decide what to do? This decision is personal and every individual approaches and deals with death differently. I always recommend to pet parents to envision how they want to say goodbye. I’ve come to people’s homes where the pet is still doing fairly well and the family was able to take the pet on a final walk, take some pictures, and feed a special meal. In these situations the families saw the appointment as a celebration of life and they wanted saying goodbye to be on a very uplifting experience. Other families that I have helped wait until their is a downward change in the quality of life of their pet such as the pet not eating or walking. There is not a wrong answer, just what feels right in your heart. I would encourage you to call me if you are having trouble with this decision as I always offer free phone consultations and will spend as much time as necessary talking with you about your pet’s situation. I am honored to help pets and families with these difficult choices. My mobile practice covers the triangle and I am here to assist families and pets in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary and surrounding areas. In my experience as a veterinarian, home euthanasia offers a very loving alternative to brining your pet into a hospital. It also offers a more private and stress free environment for the pet and pet parent.
I will never forget the day in 2005 when I brought Peyton home for the first time. He was only nine weeks old and was so unbelievably cute! It was like having a baby – he needed constant attention, which wasn’t hard to give as I fell in love with him immediately. Everyone else fell in love with him, too… he was the sweetest dog in the world. All he ever wanted to do was play, eat, snuggle, and received as many belly scratches as possible. 🙂
Peyton and I spent seven wonderful years together until the time came for him to no longer be in pain. For months I woke up every morning hoping that the meds would work and that his pain would diminish, but it just wasn’t in the cards for my little buddy. I am comforted that the last new friend he made in this world was Dr. Holland, who he took to immediately.
Enjoy Rainbow Bridge, buddy… mama loves you.
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.
Bruno, our Boxer was such an amazing dog. He was the first dog I have ever owned. I remember seeing him for the first time when he was just 8 weeks old. He wiggled his little Boxer nub and instantly became my companion. Bruno was my sidekick. He was there for me through my first major break up, to finding a career, living on my own to finding the man of my dreams. Bruno took care of me. Bruno unfortunately at 5 years of age was diagnosed with cancer, T-cell lymphoma. Chemotherapy was useless with this type of cancer. My world shattered. I didnt want to lose him in my life. I kept him comfortable as the cancer progressed. I slowly saw my sweet puppy look older and sick. It broke my heart. Three months after his diagnosis, I decided to let him go before he lost his dignity. My husband and I invited all those close to Bruno and who loved him dearly. Everyone came to our house and said their goodbyes to my sweet boy. It was so comforting to have everyone at our house and with Bruno in his favoritve place in our livingroom. We let him go and it was so peaceful. My husband whispered in Bruno’s ear before he passed and told Bruno “I will take care of mommy now, thanks Buddy for being there for her before I met her.” I will always cherish my sweet boy. I am so grateful to have our last moments with Bruno at our home. Nicole and Aldo
I adopted Abigail (Abby) from the Wake County Animal Shelter on July 5th, 2010. She was black as midnight and had the most beautiful green eyes that would have made any emerald jealous. She came to me at a time that I was really depressed and lonely. I had been through a 10-year relationship that had become pretty rough. My heart was hard and I couldn’t see myself loving anything again. I was watching TV and heard about a July 4th Adopt-a-thon with the Wake Co Animal Shelter and thought that I would just go over there and play with the animals for a while. Well, that idea lasted for about 10 minutes after I got there. I found Abby and decided I wanted to take her home but she had just had kittens and had to be spayed before I could get her. I told them I would be back the next day and left to go to Walmart and purchase all of the animal supplies I knew she would need.
When I showed up the next day, they let me adopt her and we went home together. Her first night at her forever home was priceless……she hid for a while, then got curious and investigated every inch of the house and when I came out of the bathroom from getting ready for bed, there she was, on top of the bed waiting for me to get in. She slept on the pillow beside me and became the best companion I had in over 13 years.
On November 8th, 2010, I came home from work and found Abby dead on the couch where we would sit at night. I was devastated! Dr. Holland told me that she suspected some type of hemorrhage or aneurysm. I grieved for her all night, laid her rest in the back yard under a tree, and was back at the animal shelter by 1:00 that day. I simply couldn’t stand it being so quite in the house. Abby was always playing with bells and balls and without her, the silence was deafening. There, I found my second forever kitty….Belle. Belle was quickly re-named Anastasiya (meaning “resurrection” in Greek) and Zhanna (meaning “God is good” in Hebrew). Abby had opened my heart up and let me know it was ok to love again and paved the way for me to be able to get another companion once she was gone.
August left us too early but during his short time on this earth, he was the best companion anyone could ever ask for and was there when I needed him the most. A one of a kind dog with a wondering spirit. You will be forever missed. Ben