Why choose in-home Euthanasia?
The term euthanasia is Greek for “good death.” In the clinic, euthanasia can be a very stressful experience for both the pet and the family. Most pets get very anxious during the trip to the vet’s office. Mobility of the animal is also a factor, such as a large dog that can no longer stand or ride in the car. The family is also made to grieve in public, which can be very upsetting. At home, your family is able to grieve more freely and take comfort in each other.Euthanasia is a very personal experience, and people approach it with different expectations. Every pet is unique and your family can decide how their final moments should be.
Common reasons to be at home:
1. Less stress for the pet
2. Privacy during the appointment
3. The presence of other pets
4. Choice of location
5. Home burial convenience
6. Religious freedoms
7. Privacy afterwards, on your terms
How will I know it’s the right time for euthanasia?
Look for changes in your companion that can no longer be managed:
• Dramatic change in appetite or drinking
• No longer interested in playing
• Becoming confused
• Unable to stand on their own
• Becoming incontinent
• Having fewer “good” days
Determining the quality of life for your pet is very individual and best determined by you and your family. The doctors with Home to Heaven can help answer any questions you may have regarding your pet's present condition. We are available for consults, either over the phone or in your home. You know your beloved pet better than anyone and together, you can decide when the time is right.
For information on assessing pain in your pet, click the links below. They are pain-scoring scales to help you determine the level of pain your pet may be experiencing. Remember that pets rarely cry out in pain. Rather, they shift their weight, pant more, appear unsettled, lick joints, and more.
When and where should euthanasia take place?
As any grieving owner will tell you, there is no good time for such a hard decision. However, the best time depends on the comfort of your companion and the presence of loved ones who want to be there for support. Euthanasia can take place in the home, such as a favorite room, or outdoors in the yard or a favorite park, etc. Home to Heaven can accommodate almost any request.
When we choose euthanasia for our pet, we do so because we do not want them to hurt or suffer with a terminal illness like heart disease, cancers, and debilitating arthritis. If you are open to euthanasia, the time to choose it is when the poor quality of life cannot be overlooked any longer or even before obvious suffering begins. A common saying in vet medicine is "I would rather help my friend a month too early versus an hour too late." It is very difficult to know when an hour too late will come so talk to your regular vet now or call us anytime to discuss the physical changes you are seeing. We can help you determine what is happening and guide you in making good decisions for your pet and for you. If you wish to try palliative care, we can share treatment options with you.
Who should be there?
This question is best answered by those who know your beloved pet. Witnessing the change from life to death is a powerful experience and often helps begin the healing process. Because euthanasia is so personal, it can be offered to whomever you feel is appropriate, but no one should be made to stay. There are many factors that can complicate grieving, so family and friends should be able to choose what is right for them. If children are present, we will explain the procedure in a way they will understand. Other pets can also be present as long as everyone is comfortable. We have never seen negative effects from other animals bearing witness to a companion's passing.
How to handle the body afterwards?
It is important to talk about this with everyone involved. You have the option of home burial, pet cemetery burial, or cremation. We will help make the necessary arrangements for you and transport your pet wherever you need. Please see the Cremation page for more information.
What are some ways I can honor my friend?
Honoring your friend is an important part of both the grieving and healing process. You have already been honoring your pet by giving he/she the best quality of life you could and that is what is most important. Now, as the end-of-life approaches, it can be as simple as telling a story about the good times you shared together or purchasing a keepsake. There are many companies that specialize in creating personalized treasures like stone markers, sculptures, paintings, etc. Home to Heaven offers a memorial page where you can share the story of your companion. Please feel free to read some of the wonderful stories that our families have written.
Home to Heaven now offers memorial balloons that you may release in honor of your friend. These are nice to have for family members who could not be present for their pet's passing. The balloons were hand designed by our service and are offered free to our clients. If you wish to purchase them, visit our online store. If you are choosing private cremation, you also have the option of releasing your pet's ashes in our large 5' helium balloon to ascend to the heavens. This is another wonderful way to honor your pet and can be done with ceremony or a simple release at the local memorial gardens. Please visit our balloon information page for more details.
My pet is like my child. How will I ever get over this loss?
There is no greater love than that between a parent and child. Some may say a dog is just a dog or a cat is just a cat, but those who love them know differently. Fortunately, today’s world is recognizing that love more and more and acknowledging how hard the loss of a pet can be. There are counseling services designed to help families through this difficult time and Home to Heaven can provide you with a list of services in your area. Home to Heaven also provides you with a book called “When a Pet Dies”, a guide to healing. The Home to Heaven staff is always willing to talk and listen to your concerns too. Healing takes time and everyone grieves differently. Please remember that you are not alone and that others care.
What kinds of animals are helped?
Home to Heaven helps dogs, cats and exotics, such as birds, reptiles and small mammals make a peaceful end-of-life transition.
Who comes to my home?
All services are provided by either Dr. Kathleen Cooney, president of Home to Heaven, or one of her associates. Please see the biography page to learn more about our wonderful staff.