I’ve been talking with some clients recently and, although they had older dogs, and they were sick, they never discussed a detailed plan of how they would have preferred their pet’s to die peacefully.
Sadly, both were rushed to emergency hospitals and had to be euthanised in a clinical setting, surrounded by beeping machines, IV fluid lines and one was in an oxygen tank.
Euthanasia is considered a treatment in the veterinary world. It can end pain and suffering. It can be planned days or weeks before hand, but the process of what YOU want for your pet often gets overlooked, mainly due to the urgency of the situation, not from the lack of care from the veterinary team.
If you think about it, we plan for weddings and birthday parties, even funerals. And as morbid as it sounds we can plan for the best death our pet can have.
I realise in an ideal world, pets would go peacefully in their sleep, saving us the agonising pain of having to make a decision such as euthanasia.
But I think is worth having a plan. In the case of an emergency situation, time has to play a factor. We don’t want to put any added stress on the patient or compromise things like their ability to breathe. The two ladies I consulted with were so grateful that they had the chance to hold their dear babies, and to be with them when they passed.
But they were left wondering... could it have gone a different way? They were not given any options - could they have safely taken their pet home or to their favourite spot to be laid to rest? Instead of the chaos and noise of a busy hospital, could they have had the option to play their pet’s most liked piece of music?
Here’s an example...
I was thinking, even though Opie is healthy, he has been diagnosed with arthritis in his hip and very early stage kidney insufficiency.
I have had pets euthanised at the clinic (some not as smoothly as I would have hoped) and I have had home euthanasia’s performed at my house.
In my opinion, a home euthanasia is my personal choice, but I realise it’s not for everyone and is not always possible.
The pros of home vs clinic
There are no other clients staring at you, in sympathy. They know what’s happening. They feel for you, but it may be unwanted attention adding to your grief
All the family can be present, sharing stories, showing pictures, getting involved
Pets are often less anxious being in their own environment - they can get stressed in the car, or if they are put into a carry cage or crate.
Other pets can have the chance to say goodbye too
Picking an appointment time, is never easy, and coordinating family member’s schedules so that they can attend
Your vet of choice may not be available, (however there are many services that specialise in home euthanasia)
Passing ‘the spot’ that ‘it happened ‘ can often be painful weeks and years after they have gone
And something many people aren’t aware of, the appointment doesn’t have to be limited to your house.
Which brings me back to Opie.
When the time comes, I am planning to take Opie to his favourite ‘dog free park’. There are many reasons for this, but the main one being, he gets very stressed when other dogs are around, and due to the delicate situation of our ‘ last visit’ to the park, I would prefer it as private as possible.
He will get ALL of the foods!! Chicken, stinky fish, chocolate if he wants! We can eat it together, well maybe not the fish! It will be a smorgasbord of the yummies he hasn’t been able to have for a while.
Music! I often sing to him, and change the lyrics around, so depending on when it is (we may have a new song by then!) we will be singing his goodbye to Cheerleader by Omi...
Let me explain that one ‘ oh I think I found myself a Blue Heeler, he is always right there when I need him’ ☺️
And should the unthinkable happen, and he is admitted to hospital, I will be sure to have a kit with his food and the music on my phone ready to go.
The biggest thing I find in helping someone who is grieving a love one is these questions:
What if? Or. I wish I had... Those little regrets we have that sneak in and sometime cause guilt.
Why wasn’t I given the option to... Which can lead to angry feelings towards the vet staff. You have to understand, we do everything in our power to SAVE lives, not take them. The staff are concentrating on making your pet feel as comfortable as possible and may not be thinking about the other choices you may want.
So ASK. Speak up. The only thing the vet can say is No. And that will be due to your pet's best interests.
At the end of the day, we all want what is best for You and your loved one. 🐾
So consider having a plan and let me know your comments and thoughts below 💜