Aging with compassion…
One of the greatest disadvantages we face in veterinary medicine is that our patients can’t directly tell us how they’re feeling. We as veterinary professionals must be finely attuned to the ways our patients may show us that something is wrong, and as pets age, there is no greater judge than the attentive family members who live with them every day.
Our pets age much more quickly than we do. Sometimes the changes that come with aging are clear and obvious. Sometimes, they’re gradual, and hard to notice without regular, intentional assessments. We strive to maintain your pet’s health as long as possible. Beyond their health, our goal is to keep you and your pet comfortable and happy as best as we can. If you’ve started noticing some of these changes in your pet, please schedule an appointment for a professional health assessment. We’ve provided some resources below to help guide you through this journey.
Quality of Life
A pet’s quality of life is multi-faceted and can be difficult to ascertain. Sometimes, maintaining a good quality of life for your pet comes at the expense of your own happiness. It’s important to examine how caring for your geriatric pet impacts you and your family as well as your pet’s happiness and comfort.
Dr. Katie Hilst of Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia LLC has developed a helpful quality of life scale to evaluate your pet’s happiness and comfort at home. This free-to-use tool is available to fill out digitally, or to download and print to fill out by hand, here. The JOURNEYS quality of life scale examines many aspects of your pet’s life and how it affects you and your family.
Lap of Love is another local pet hospice and at-home euthanasia service with a variety of ways to track your pet’s quality of life over time. This article, found on their website, encourages weekly or even daily assessments for a family to examine their pet’s quality of life. You may benefit from keeping a quality of life journal to track your pet’s progress.
Losing a pet is hard. It goes without saying, but the time before, during, and after the loss of a pet is emotionally daunting. Our pets are members of our family, and not everyone understands the grief that comes with the loss of a pet. But you’re not alone. There is counseling available that can help.
Lap of Love has provided access to a few pet loss support groups that you can find here. By following that link, you can also find resources for private counseling to cope with the grief you’re feeling. Journeys Home has also provided a list of books that can help both children and adults understand their grief.
Gateway Services is a nationwide network dedicated to helping both veterinary professionals and pet parents navigate the grief surrounding end of life services for pets. Written material is available here to review, however Gateway Services also provides a 24/7 grief support hotline, free-of-charge, where you can talk to a trained counselor at any time.
Just call 1 (855) 245-8214 to speak to a counselor
When it’s time…
When you’ve decided that the time has come to say goodbye to your beloved pet, we’re here for you. Call the clinic, and we will work with you to find a time with your pet’s veterinarian that best suits your needs. Once the appointment is made, take some time to prepare.
- Does your pet have a favorite blanket or toy? You can bring this to the appointment if you think it will provide comfort and familiarity for your pet.
- Are there any “forbidden” foods or treats your pet enjoys? Your pet may enjoy having their favorite snack to munch on one last time in the exam room.
- Would you like to be present throughout the whole appointment? Would you prefer to step out before your pet crosses the rainbow bridge?
- How would you like to memorialize your pet? Do you want your pet’s ashes returned to you, or would you prefer a lock of fur? There are many options available.
We work closely with Memorial Pet Services to provide aftercare following a pet’s passing. There are both private and communal cremation options available to choose from, and every option includes an optional clay paw print and a lock of your pet’s fur. Memorial Pet Services also carries a wide selection of urns and other memorial options that you can view here. If you have other plans for your pet’s ashes or remains, please let us know so we may best accommodate your wishes.
If you would like your pet’s final moments to take place in the comfort of your home rather than at our clinic, please reach out to Journeys Home at (608) 347-1897 or Lap of Love at (608) 291-3947 to schedule an at-home euthanasia.