When It’s Time to Say Goodbye: Considering Home Euthanasia
by Tracie Grubb, DVM, CCRT, cVMA
Saying goodbye to our precious animal companions is heartbreaking on many levels. I see this every day. I am sharing some of my own experiences with the hope that you can find some comfort if and when you are faced with this decision.
“I don’t want her to be in pain. “
” I feel like he’s ready to go, but I’m keeping him here for me.”
“I’ve been through this before and felt I waited too long with my last pet. “
These are words I hear so often. You see, I offer home euthanasia as a service within my business. My patients tend to be those precious seniors or debilitated creatures who have fought the good fight but can fight no more. I see my patients regularly and have formed my own bond of love and trust with them. I do my best to offer support and guidance to the family for what is to come.
You may not have known that home euthanasia services existed. I believe this is such a kind alternative for your pet. They can be in the place where they are most familiar and around those who love them. They don’t experience anxiety and possible pain from getting in the car or going to a hospital. Yes, you may be reminded of your pet every time you enter “that room” in the house; but is remembering your pet a bad thing? You may say, “I’ll only remember the day she died.” I hope that you will be able to redirect your thoughts to remember the days she lived.
I encourage you to start the conversation with your family veterinarian. Whether you have an older pet who is currently doing well or a pet with a chronic or progressive condition, these early conversations will help when more counsel is needed. You should be aided in understanding what to expect as your pet’s condition progresses. What types of life-saving measures is the medical team equipped to handle, and do you want that for your pet? What does humane euthanasia look like for your pet?
COVID19 has prevented numerous families from being able to be with their pets to say goodbye. For many people this can affect how their grief is processed. Does your veterinarian allow you to be present, or can the procedure take place outside with social distancing and wearing of masks? Does your veterinarian offer house calls? What happens when it’s over?
Talk to your veterinarian. When that time comes, you can trust that your plans were made when you had a level head to make loving decisions for their journey over the Rainbow Bridge.
It’s okay to be sad; that part of the process. Grief hurts, but only because their life meant so much.
For more information on grief counseling, before or after an impending loss, please contact the Pet Loss Support Group at www.HumanAnimalBondTrust.org. Licensed therapists offer free support in a group setting.