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How to Prepare for an In Home Euthanasia

If you are struggling with your pet's chronic or terminal illness, facing a decision about euthanasia, or anticipating the loss of a cherished animal companion, please accept our heartfelt condolences at this sad and difficult time.  Euthanasia is sometimes referred to as a “gift” because it is a humane way of letting an animal rest in peace, and is often used for animals that are suffering. It is hard to make the decision to put an animal to sleep, and though it may feel like you are letting it die, you're letting your beloved pet die in dignity without being in pain.  In-home pet euthanasia allows you to be more involved in every aspect of your pet's final moments.  Your home provides a relaxed environment for you and a familiar place for your faithful companion to make their transition the most loving, peaceful and dignified experience.

Like other aspects of your pet’s care, it is important that you have the needed information about pet loss services.  The goal is the gift of “the perfect day” ended by a peaceful passing.

Consultation with the veterinarian by phone and in person is very necessary.  Together you the owner and the house call vet can evaluate your pet’s pain level and quality of life objectively using specific guidelines.  Try to provide them with as much medical history as possible.  Vets will try everything in their power to save a pet.  But when nothing else can be done, they are also there to explain what the process involves and answer any questions you may have.

Understanding that the time is near, I recommend being with your pet, present in every moment. Spend as much time as you can with your pet until the vet arrives and if possible even take a picture, write a poem or letter to help express some of the feelings you may be experiencing.  It is very normal to cry.  If your pet is old, keep it warm and gently stroke and comfort them until the doctor arrives.  If your pet is in need of urgent euthanasia, be with your pet and talk to them, tell it how you feel and how much you'll miss them.  If you have a few weeks or days with your pet, give it VIP (Very Important Pet) treatment: a warm bath, a massage, favorite food and treats, and lots of fun times.  If your pet is unable to walk due to old age or an injury, carry them to a sunny spot and talk. Your pet will love you even more, and this private time is essential for grieving.  Consider giving pain medications and the final meal two to three hours prior to the vet’s arrival as recent meals may lead to vomiting once sedatives are administered.

Determine which members of your family or support network will be present with you and your pet.  More than likely, your emotions will take hold after the consultation, and you will only want to sit quietly.  It may also be difficult to say goodbye and having someone with you can be a great source of encouragement.

Take time to prepare for the vet’s arrival by choosing a special location.  Moving an ill or dying pet is not recommended.  Most vets will prefer to be wherever you and your pet are most comfortable.  Take a few minutes to light a candle and incorporate any important spiritual beliefs that you may have.  Be sure to keep your pet's favorite blanket, basket, bed, or toy nearby and constantly talk to your pet.

If desired, request that any paperwork is filled out and aftercare decisions are made prior to the consultation.  It is best to take care of the specifics in advance to allow everyone to focus on your pet when the time comes.  After the euthanasia can be a very sorrowful time making it incredibly difficult to concentrate or remember details.

One benefit of home euthanasia is that during the entire process you can be with your pet. So do not be afraid to stroke them and talk to them. The veterinarian will be understanding and nearly always will ask you if you are ready.  If the pet is sick and this is the most humane treatment, then this is your goodbye. When you give the go-ahead, look into your pet's eyes and talking, stroking, and cuddling and kissing them.  Use kind soothing voice, free of anxiety, so as your pet's life fades you will be the final thing they saw and heard.

After the euthanasia is completed, you may keep your pet's body home for a burial, or have them cremated.  If you wish to do a home burial remember that it may be physically intense.  Also the weather and time of day should also be considered.  Be certain to carefully select the location and dig the hole in advance.  You will also need to have your pet carefully wrapped to minimize the chance of predation.  Burial boxes and caskets and other options can be made or purchased.  Ask the vet which options they provide.   Mercy Animal Hospice can provide these for your house call, if requests are made in advance.

Once the vet has left with your pet, understand that grieving is a normal process which should be embraced for healing to occur.  There are many additional resources and support groups that help with this process.  Once cremains are returned it is also completely natural for one to feel a rush of many of the same emotions associated with the initial loss.  Taking time to memorialize your per with a candle, keepsake or service is very helpful.  If you have a friend or family member experiencing such a loss saying a few nice words, sending a card or flowers can help them know that you care.  Be supportive and listen.

While grieving is normal, pet losses may trigger other feelings of loss.  If your feelings become overwhelming, be certain to reach out to a professional or through a support group. Try to not dwell on the past. Remember the good times and think that if you never had your pet, your life would not have changed for the better.

I would like to leave you with this quote.  It is featured on the “Furry Angel Pet Memorial Candle”.  This company has several pet memorial items that embrace similar values when it comes to creating lasting memories of our animal companions.  Gifted Hands Pet Hospice can provide a candle memorial for your house call, if requests are made in advance.

"...Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you... I loved you so - 'twas Heaven here with you." ---Isla Paschal Richardson

We believe that each pet is an angel and are dear to us each in their special and unique way.....

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