by Dawn Olson, Distinctive Pet Care
Euthanasia is a tough subject. “When” is the most common decision that we can agonize over, but now there we need to consider the “Where”. In years past, our precious family members had no choice but to get in the car, and head to in many cases, to the very place that they had spent time being poked and prodded. Guilt from pet parents having to make that final drive and visit compounded with the anxiety of the pet and the finality of this decision. Now there is an option of having your pet stay home and have an in-home euthanasia procedure. Your pet spends their last few hours at home with their families, in their beds and enjoying special moments and spoiling, instead of being fearful and anxious.
The following is an experience in her own words from our very own, Lanette Schwarz, Office Manager.
“On March 28th we had to do the most difficult thing a pet owner can do, euthanize our beloved 16 year-old dog, Ozzie. Ozzie had been sick with cancer for a long time. We were told that one day it would erupt and the bleeding would be uncontrollable; then it will be time to put him down. We tried to prepare ourselves but this day still caught us by surprise.
A few weeks prior, a friend who knew that Ozzie was sick told me about in-home euthanasia. I was surprised to hear this was possible because my only knowledge of euthanasia was what I saw in movies (i.e. Marley and Me), where the dog is scared, lying on a metal table and the adults say good-bye.
When Ozzie’s bleeding was uncontrollable, I got a referral for an in-home euthanasia veterinarian from Dawn with Distinctive Pet Care. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I never had to do this before. Through tears I called the veterinarian and explained Ozzie’s medical history and that I felt it would be best to euthanize him. She was calm and explained the process over the phone. We discussed the role my children should or could have. Since they are older (ages 8 and 11), it would be okay if they were present but to give them the option to go to another place in the house if they became uncomfortable and didn’t want to stay for the whole process.
The vet arrived, and her demeanor was very peaceful and caring. Ozzie greeted her at the door and she explained the process to my husband and children. My daughter asked a lot of questions and the vet patiently answered all of them. Ozzie was lying comfortably on the living room floor. We sat down next to him and she explained that she was going to give him some medicine that will make him very relaxed and sleepy. To distract him from the needle poke, she had the kids give him some yummy-smelling, chewy treats – they fed him treat after treat. He didn’t even notice the poke. It took several minutes for him to get sleepy. During that time, we gave him a few more treats, petted him, told him how much we loved him, and what a good dog he had been. He fell asleep and was resting peacefully while the final shot was given. A few moments later Ozzie was gone. We had a few quiet minutes with him to say our last good-byes. We decided to do a clay paw print and inscribe his name. Then he was wrapped in a blanket and taken to be cremated.
I was concerned that having the kids see their dog euthanized would scar them for life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m glad the kids had the chance to be there, it was good for them to say good-bye and get closure; it was sad but not scary. Most importantly, being in our home was best for Ozzie too; he was relaxed and comfortable, surrounded by the people who loved him. It was very peaceful. I would recommend this type of in-home euthanasia for all pets.”
It’s been a few months since Ozzie passed. Lanette and her family are thinking of getting a dog so the house isn’t so empty but they know they will never replace Ozzie. Euthanasia is a tough subject but for those of us who have pets, it is usually one that we cannot avoid. My advice is to prepare in advance, ask questions, know your options and have a plan for you and your children.
**The in-home euthanasia service that Lanette used and we recommend is “A Peaceful Passage” and the veterinarian is Dr. Christine Daigler, DVM. Her info is http://www.apeacefulpassage.com/