Last week, Dr. Robin Westwood provided insight on making your beloved pet as comfortable as possible through palliative and hospice care, knowledge she has gained from practicing veterinary medicine for 14 years. She continues discussing important decisions regarding end of life care in the second installment of this series.
If a pet cannot be kept comfortable until a “natural death” can occur, euthanasia may need to be considered. Please talk to us about what circumstances will justify euthanasia. We generally consider it when a pet is experiencing unacceptable discomfort or distress, and/or if the family’s needs and decisions warrant it. Euthanasia is appropriate for a compassionate and optimal way to relieve suffering and provide comfort.
When the end time comes, determine where you would like your pet to be in his or her last moments and who would like to be present. We do provide at home euthanasia to help assist a pet in the dying process.
You also will need to determine what the family would like to do with the pet’s body. The options that are available are:
1. At home burial. Please check with city or your housing development regulations. Some cities do not allow pet burial within the city limits.
2. Burial through Pet Rest Memorial Park and Crematorium located in Sachse. Their website is www.petrestcrematory.com.
3. Private Cremation: We have used Pet Rest Memorial Park and Crematorium since Country Friends has been established. They have been wonderful to us and all of our pet families. This service is arranged through us. Decorative urns can be selected. Your precious pet will be picked up from our clinic and delivered back to us at which time we will contact you.
4. Communal cremation. With this service, your pet will be cremated with other pets through Pet Rest Memorial Park and Crematorium. The ashes will not be available for return to the family. Pet Rest does bury these ashes out at their pet cemetery.
The last thing that needs to be considered is if there will be any ritual or ceremony at the time of or after the pet’s death and how you would like your pet memorialized. Some ideas for pet memorials are keeping a lock of hair, having a clay paw print made, planting a tree in their memories, etc.
Realize and recognize that grief is natural and healthy. These pets are more than just animals. They are family members and give us unconditional love. Everyone grieves differently and they should be treated compassionately and given the time to cope with their grief.
Dr. Robin Westwood has aided countless families in making these difficult decisions through her medical knowledge and compassion for families and their beloved pets. It is a topic that is often avoided, but one that affects everyone that accepts a pet into their heart.