Tampa & St. Petersburg
All services are provided in the comfort of your home.
Includes a brief examination by the veterinarian, a full assessment of your pet's quality of life, and a custom treatment plan to help you care for your pet and monitor their condition.
Includes a discussion with the veterinarian, medication to ensure comfort, gentle euthanasia, pawprint impression keepsake, lock of fur, and Lap of Love's Eternal Pawprints booklet. The additional cost for the varied cremation services are detailed in the Aftercare Pricing section.
Includes a brief examination by the veterinarian to help explain your pet's condition, discuss symptom management including pain and anxiety, and prepare an end of life care plan using the appropriate quality of life scale to manage your pet along with your family's needs and desires.
There may be an additional charge for extended travel (see Service Area below), holidays ($50 - $100), pets over 99 lbs, appointments outside normal business hours (when arranged), aggressive pets, and some exotic species.
Although we mainly see dogs and cats, some of our veterinarians can assist you with other species such as pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, birds, fish, and goats. Call for pricing and availability.
With this option, your pet is cremated privately at a licensed crematory. The ashes are contained in a lovely wooden urn with an engraved nameplate and will be returned to your primary care veterinarian within two weeks. They can also be made available directly from the crematory or mailed to your home or office.
This option is for families that don't wish to have their pet's ashes returned nor wish to bury at home. Pets are respectfully cremated with other pets at a licensed crematory and ashes are scattered by the crematory.
There may be a fee if additional assistance is requested to safely carry your pet out of your home.
We are here to answer your questions every day, from 7am - 11pm. Appointments are scheduled throughout the week, please call for availability.
Sometimes, pets take a turn for the worse overnight, so we do our best to accommodate same day appointments with a few hours notice when possible.
If this is a medical emergency, please contact your local veterinarian or one of the emergency clinics listed in the Local Resources section.
Let us introduce you to the amazing hospice veterinarians in your area.
Dani McVety, DVM
I’m often asked why I do what I do. Growing up I was surrounded by horses, cows, dogs, cats, birds, and various other animals, and I never thought I could put an animal to sleep. After almost a decade of education with hours spent in the veterinary school ICU, something changed. I wanted to be with those pets whose owners weren’t there to comfort them. I never wanted an animal to pass alone; I always thought how much warmer the experience would be if these animals were at home surrounded by family.
As an emergency veterinarian, I constantly witness owners' struggles as they are forced to make tough decisions quickly. They have no time to adjust to the life changing choices they are about to make, no time to come to terms with the acute illness or trauma that is completely unplanned. For many of these owners, all they want is time... even a few more hours. Lap of Love was born after witnessing a euthanasia in which the owner held tightly to her beloved dog, curled lovingly in her lap. It was such a beautiful sight, a woman and her companion sharing those last moments wrapped in each other. I knew I had to try to provide that opportunity to more people; it is what all owners and their pets deserve.
For me this is not a job, this is a calling. I do this because it is my gift to the animals I serve through my veterinary oath. I feel I have found my place in this vast veterinary world, quietly helping tighten the bond between owner and pet.
Nil Wilkins, DVM
Growing up in Oklahoma, Illinois and Maryland, we always had pet dogs and cats. For a time we lived on a farm where there were also chickens, cows, pigs and horses. I greatly enjoyed being around all animals.
So it was really no surprise that I wanted to become a veterinarian. Volunteering at a small animal practice while I was in high school confirmed this for me as I saw how helping animals helped their owners too, such is the human - animal bond.
After I graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, my husband and I made our home in Tampa, raising two daughters and a myriad of pets we fostered/adopted. These included puppies, kitties, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils. After graduation I worked in private practice for many years. Then to help homeless animals in the community, I worked at two animal shelters. While I found both private practice and shelter medicine to be very rewarding, working with Lap of Love is exceptionally gratifying. Nowhere is the strength of the bond between owners and their pets more visible, touching and heartwarming than during end of life care.
Currently our family includes 5 cats: 3 that we fostered and adopted from an animal shelter, another we adopted from the same animal shelter and a neighbor's cat that adopted us!
I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a compassionate group of individuals providing comfort and support during this time; for no matter how long our pets are a part of our lives, it's never long enough.
Jade Tenberg, DVM
A lifelong love for animals inspired my veterinary career. My first word was “Farrah,” the name of my Siberian Husky sister from my early childhood. Caring for our dogs and cats, riding horses and ponies, and living on a farm in Bucks County, a Philadelphia suburb, were my fondest childhood memories.
My best friend during my challenging teenage years was Rhiannon, a very hyper Rottweiler. We did everything together: hiking the Appalachian Trail, swimming in the nearby creek, and even taking naps! Unfortunately, she injured her back leg and required surgery, but most tragic of all was her being diagnosed with bone cancer in one of her front legs. Her quality of life rapidly declined, and my family decided to give her the ultimate gift: a peaceful passing in our family room, surrounded by love. I was with her the whole time, and afterwards my parents buried her between some beautiful rose bushes in front of our horse barn. It was not long afterwards that I decided to become a veterinarian.
After completing a Bachelors of Science degree in biology in my hometown at Delaware Valley University, I moved to Baton Rouge to earn a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, I moved to Las Vegas and entered general practice. I experienced both corporate and private practices in Nevada and Louisiana, but I felt like something was missing. I wanted to be able to do more for pets.
First, I studied acupuncture at the Chi Institute in Gainesville. Then, I explored the field of end-of-life care and realized it was my calling. I moved to the Tampa area and proudly joined Lap of Love. I am thrilled to work with such a compassionate and dedicated team of professionals, and I am honored to provide exceptional care to the pets and people who need us.
Lisa Littlejohn, DVM
When I was a little girl, I aspired to be many things—a hair dresser and a pizza maker among those. In high school, I started working at a local animal hospital as a receptionist. With time, I eventually moved into the kennel and started working hands-on with the animals. I quickly developed a love for dogs and cats and always wanted to know how to make them better. During those years, I became a veterinary technician and decided being a veterinarian was my dream job. I set my sights on the University of Florida for both undergraduate and veterinary school. In 2005, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. In 2010, I attained my goal and graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Since graduation, I have been in General Practice and have gravitated towards end-of-life care. There is something so unique and special about our four-legged family members. They give us the unconditional love that we all want and need. For us, they may be a small piece of our life. But for them, we are their WHOLE world. I feel helping that loved one pass in the clinic doesn’t provide them with the respect and love they deserve. Instead, it should be a peaceful, calm and pain-free passing in a comfortable place surrounded by the ones they love the most. I am truly honored to help you and your loved ones through this difficult time.
“At the end of the day, when we leave this world, the only valuable legacy we leave behind is the love we gave to others and the love others gave to us."
Amanda Esposito, DVM
I have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember! When I was 5 years old, I became obsessed with the movie 101 Dalmatians. Every Christmas, I begged Santa for a Dalmatian (101 of them, to be exact). When I was 9, my parents let me pick out my very own Dalmatian puppy. I named him Lucky, and was fortunate to grow up with and love him over the next 12 years.
I adopted my first cat, Spartacus, from a man with a box of kittens outside of a grocery store. My sweet boy was by my side from elementary school until I graduated vet school. Sadly, weeks before I began my career as a veterinarian, I said goodbye after his long struggle with a chronic illness.
I grew up in Tampa, Florida, attended the University of South Florida, and graduated with a degree in Biomedical Science. I always considered becoming a veterinarian, but it wasn’t until I began working part-time as a veterinary assistant, that I truly knew it was my calling. I attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, and completed my clinical training at the University of Florida.
I particularly love senior pets and am passionate about providing them with the best quality of life possible. It is never easy to say goodbye to our beloved family members, but I believe it is truly a selfless gift to end their pain and suffering. There is nothing greater than the unconditional love of an animal and I am honored to facilitate a peaceful passing at home, surrounded by loved ones.
Anna Champagne, DVM
I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Kansas as the oldest of six children in a house with at least three animals running around at a time. There were always several cats, a dog, and a small animal (mouse, lizard, fish, frog, etc.) for us to play with. I studied animal science and veterinary medicine at Kansas State University. During my studies, I gained a huge respect for farmers and ranchers, so there will always be a special place in my heart for farm animals. I also learned that I love all species! I had the good fortune to work with everything from lions to bearded dragons to fish before I graduated in 2015. After veterinary school, I moved to Florida where I practiced general medicine and studied acupuncture therapy. We never stop learning!
My passion for end-of-life care started during my last year at veterinary school. I had the honor of taking care of an older dog who developed cancer that spread to his lungs and limbs. I spent 12-14 hours a day giving him everything that he needed while managing my other cases. I kept this up for about a week, while we were waiting for his family to come together at the hospital for his final goodbye. He had the best goodbye ever! As exhausting as his treatments were, I felt such peace. Giving this old dog the ultimate respect fulfilled something beyond myself.
Animals give to us unconditionally. Therefore, with Lap of Love, I hope that I give them the most comfortable passing possible.
Loren Gassler, DVM
As a native Floridian born and raised in Tampa, Florida, attending Busch Gardens adventure camp was the highlight of my summer. Working with the animals thrilled me, but what I loved most was connecting with them. From this connection, I developed a strong appreciation and respect for the human/animal bond. My passion for animals grew as I attended camp for eight years and helped care for a menagerie of family pets including a dog, rabbit, iguana, sugar glider, turtle, and numerous gerbils and fish. I realized that I not only wanted to work with animals, I wanted to treat them.
My quest to become a veterinarian led me to Auburn University, where I earned a Zoology degree in 2007, followed by my doctorate at Mississippi State University in 2011. After graduation, I practiced in San Antonio, Texas for four years before returning home to Tampa.
I was in high school the first time I witnessed a pet being euthanized. It was my first day volunteering at a veterinary hospital, and a very sweet Dalmation was diagnosed with bone cancer. Due to the aggressive nature of the disease and the dog's decreased quality of life, the vet recommended euthanasia. I wanted to be brave for his parents, so I fought back tears and repeated “it’s what’s best for the pet” over and over in my head. These words have become my mantra and are the foundation upon which I practice medicine.
While veterinarians are needed throughout a pet’s life, I believe we are most needed in times of illness and injury. My calling as a vet is to support and advocate for my patients in their greatest time of need. I strive to give your furry family member the high quality of life he or she deserves and to ensure the best possible experience for you both when it’s time to say good-bye.
When I’m away from the “office,” I love spending time with my wonderful husband and our family of five furry children. We have two domestic short haired cats (Dolce and Duncan), a terrier mix named Rusty, a cairn terrier named Scooter, and a chihuahua named Dixie. They are a fun, goofy group of best friends that light up my world every day. I also enjoy cheering on the Bucs, Lightning, and Rays and attending theatre at the Straz Center.
Merari Cruz, DVM
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and moved to Central Florida in my teen years where I finished High School. I attended the University of Florida for undergraduate studies in Animal Science and French, and was a participant in the summer abroad program in Avignon, France. In 2003, I moved back to the Caribbean to attend Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. For my clinical year, I was lucky to be back at UF once again, I’m a Gator at heart! Go Gators! Since graduation, I started my veterinary career in small animal general practice in St. Petersburg. In my free time I enjoy visiting family in Orlando, playing at the park with my wonderful dog Amelia, and enjoy the best of the gulf coast: sun & sand! People ask me how I can do my job; animals can’t tell us what is wrong or where it hurts. I love the challenge. I have to play detective every day and use the clues I find to solve the cases and treat my patients. That’s why I do it, I love it! Working with Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice is a great honor and privilege. I believe the human-animal bond is as strong as it is important in our lives. I treat every patient as my own and provide the end of life care that they deserve and that owners want for their little ones.
Heba Kashkosh, DVM
As a child growing up in Egypt and Turkey, we always had many pets in our home. My favorite furry friend was a cat who I named Tiffany, after the iconic movie starring Audrey Hepburn. I was always fascinated by animals and loved playing “doctor” to our many dogs, cats and rabbits, so I made it my goal to become a veterinarian.
I graduated college and was accepted into the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, which is a full-time, five-year program. Soon after graduating, I landed my first job at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital, the first American veterinary hospital in Egypt. I worked there and did post-graduate studies for eight wonderful years until I moved to the United States.
A new chapter of my life began in Pennsylvania, where I completed additional studies, earned my American veterinary license and found work at a veterinary clinic. Another move brought me to warm and wonderful Florida, where I proudly joined Lap of Love.
I know first-hand what a heart-wrenching experience it is it lose a pet. I look forward to helping pets and their families find comfort and serenity when they need it most.
Sue Mango, DVM
Ever since I was a little girl, my love for animals was evident and I wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I could remember. My home was always filled with a myriad of pets that I was fortunate to care for and love. After a rewarding management career, I decided to follow my veterinary passion by attending Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts. I returned back home to complete my clinical rotations at the University of Florida. I had always imagined working with all types of small animals but my clinical year converted me to a feline practitioner. I still do love all animals but cats are my true passion. As a pet parent, I have several rescued cats and one of them, Bagheera, is a member of Paws for Friendship, a program that visits nursing homes, assisted living and school reading programs with some amazing animals. It is such a rewarding experience and brings so much joy to everyone involved. Bagheera especially loves the attention!
It is a privilege to be invited into people’s homes to discuss end of life arrangements for their beloved pets. It is a difficult decision, but with Lap of Love, pet parents have someone to discuss their concerns, fears and decisions about end of life care. We are here to help the family and pet through the entire process and it is an honor to join you in this journey.
Dani McVety, DVM
"We decided to go with Lap of Love so we could be assured Phoebe's last time with us at home on the lake she loved with us and the other cats. Dr. Anne was so wonderful and caring. She made us feel comfortable and was so gentle. This is the first time Steve and I have had to put a pet down and did not know what to expect so Dr. Anne was a great comfort."
Heidi & Steve BitterBrandon, Florida
"If there something good about all this unexpected situation is Nil, she was so kind, patience and calm! She gave me my time to enjoy phoebe for the last time in my arms! I’m so grateful and blessed to have her in this moment, I feel like she is the only person who truly understands how I feel or how I felt in that moment! So yeah! Thank you Nil you are awesome! God bless your heart!"
Julie IrizarryOdessa, Florida
"Dr. Jade was amazing! I have done euthanasia in the vet office setting 4 times before. This was by far the best of a sad situation. Dr. Jade has such a peaceful spirit and Jake was very receptive of her. She has such a gentle touch which put me at ease. Her demeanor was what pet parents need at this time. Such supportive words and hugs. I am so greatful that Jake was respected with such love and spirit. She wished Jake “safe travels” which will stay with me forever."
Mary BensonWesley chapel, Florida
"I cannot say enough about the gentle, peaceful and dignified transition that Dr. Jade brought to our not-quite 16 year old Bichon Frise. Blossom was my childrens' lifelong pet, and letting her go was a difficult decision for us as a family. Dr. Jade gave us a thorough explanation of the process, was kind and loving to our dog as well as us, and helped all of us feel that we had made the right choice for Blossom. Having her transition in our home allowed us all to be more comfortable but especially for Blossom, who was always frightened at the vet's office. I would also like to thank Sarah, who completed my intake and was so comforting and kind in helping me understand the process and schedule the appointment. I couldn't recommend this service any higher, this was absolutely the best way for us to say good-bye to our Blossom. Thank you so much."
Shelly AshSt Petersburg, Florida
"On January 18th 2018 I said goodbye to my beloved 17 year old Pomeranian "Bear". Dr. Loren Gassler came to my home with so much love and compassion! She made the experience much less stressful than it could have been! As hard as it was to say goodbye she made me feel comfortable knowing that it was his time. I've had to put down animals in the past and it was never anything like this one! Thank you Lap of Love for your wonderful organization and all your wonderful compassionate Dr's and staff!"
Kat NelmsPinellas Park, Florida
"From the moment I called Lap of Love with Kristen and second with Dr. Erin, the experience over the phone was so real and inviting. I feel like I gained so much information of what Kaya was diagnosed with and what she was going through. And I didn't feel un-heard or like I was taking up their time. Both of them seemed like they truly cared and was concerned about the situation with Kaya especially in their voices.
Dr. Jade helped Kaya, me and my family in so many levels. With a calm in her spirit, and explained things in different perspectives, experiences with knowing my own indecisiveness of not knowing if its too soon and when its too late.
Kaya left physically in the most peaceful and comfortable way I ever could imagine. I knew in my heart I was not going to put her through a car ride or pump her with medication or see her in pain. Kaya was and is truly blessed to have you be apart of the transition to her next journey. You created a space that let her go in such peace and comfort. Nothing could ever compare to this.
From my family to yours, I thank you. And you are in my heart. I appreciate all the communications, links of resources, guidance, cards and heartfelt messages."
Elise TanakaPalm Harbor, Florida
Pet Life and Loss Support Services
Lap of Love's Pet Life & Loss Support Group
BluePearl Veterinary Specialist
Tampa Bay Vet Emergency Services
Tampa Bay Vet Specialist in Largo
Pinellas Animal Foundation
Bentley's House; pet loss group in Sarasota
Helping families in the following areas:
Proudly serving the Tampa/St Petersburg area including:
Extended Travel Areas (additional charge applies to these areas):
Preferred methods of payment are check (made to 'Lap of Love') or cash.
Most pet insurance companies cover Lap of Love services. Please have any paperwork ready for the veterinarian to complete so that you can submit it for reimbursement.
Lap of Love17804 US Highway 41Lutz, FL 33549
Fox 13 News: Veterinarian brings peace to pets with in-home euthanasia
Communities Digital News: Transitioning with Love: The Rainbow Bridge
Anderson McQueen Radio: Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Companion
See more HERE
This Lap of Love location is owned and operated by Dr. Dani McVety.