“At some point, we move from ensuring a quality of life to ensuring a quality of death.”
~ Dr. Mary Gardner
If you ask any of the Lap of Love doctors, we will all tell you that discussing when to say goodbye is the most important conversation a veterinarian ever has with the families that call upon us for help. Empathy, openness, non-judgementalism, and compassion are the heart of what we do. Talking about death is a skill and it is a privilege to walk families through that conversation.
“The greatest gift we can give our pets is the relief of pain and suffering;
and the greatest gift we can give the families that call us is the release of guilt.”
~ Dr. Dani McVety
The word “euthanasia” literally means “good death.” And as the only medical profession licensed to perform this most important gift, we take the upmost pride in the technical, medical, and soft skills associated with ending the life of a beloved family member.
A discussion with you about your concerns, thoughts, or questions surrounding euthanasia.
Mild sedation to help ease any discomfort; you deserve one last memory of your pet calm and comfortable.
Euthanasia, the final gift.
Memorial keepsakes to help mend the broken heart.
Clay paw print (made at your home)
Lock of fur, if desired
Pet Loss Booklet with your pet’s name and date of passing, which serves as a death certificate. Our booklet includes information on canine and feline grief other pets may experience, in addition to some beautiful poems and stories.
Transportation for cremation, if elected (see the Aftercare Pricing section on your veterinarian's page for more information).
Notification to your family veterinarian of your pet's passing; a professional courtesy so they can update their records.
The entire procedure will be explained once the veterinarian arrives, according to your interest level and comfort. Feel free to ask questions if needed. Everything will be done at the pace you and your pet dictate.
The actual procedure is quite simple and peaceful: except under extreme or emergent circumstances a sedation injection is given to ensure your pet is comfortable. Once you and your pet are ready, the final euthanasia medication is given, usually in a vein. It works very rapidly, only seconds in most cases. The veterinarian will then confirm that your pet has passed on.
After, you may continue to spend as much time as you need. A paw print will be made when you are ready, and additional hair may be clipped if you wish. If we are handling transportation for cremation, the doctor will excuse herself/himself for a few minutes to give you time alone, then return with a small basket or flat stretcher and soft blanket to transport your pet to the car.
Information on how and when your pet’s ashes will be ready to come home will be discussed by the doctor in detail. Additionally, information on where your local crematory spreads communal ashes or how to bury your pet properly at home are available.
(Also see Frequently Asked Questions)
You may call us (find your local Lap of Love veterinarian by searching for your zip code, or call 855-933-5683), or fill out a form to request an appointment (found on your local Lap of Love veterinarian's page).
Just like birth, death is difficult to predict; we are very used to short notice and same-day appointments. Of course, the most notice you can give us, the best chance we have of working around your schedule and ours. Remember that we want to make the process as peaceful as possible. Just ask any clinician that’s ever worked in a veterinary ER; emergency euthanasias are not always the most peaceful.
There is nothing specific you need to do to prepare, we will handle everything for you.
If you want your other pets to be there, absolutely. If rambunctious puppies or fearful kitties need to wait in another room until their brother or sister has passed, that’s ok too, they can say goodbye when the doctor steps out. Yes, pets grieve too; they grieve in their own way, and in-home care allows housemates to instinctually “know” what has happened. Animals seem to understand this circle of life better than humans do!
This is a very personal and family-centered decision. As veterinarians, many of us have human children as well, and are more than happy to share our experiences if you wish. For more information on this topic, please see our article on Children & Pet Euthanasia.
Remember that the decision to say goodbye is not something you must do on your own. Yes, some families will see the “look in their eye” or simply “know when it’s time,” but many of you will not, it will be much more unclear.
As veterinarians, we have dedicated our lives to helping pets and the people that love them, so reach out whenever you are ready to learn more, not just when “it’s time.”
“I trust you understand what few can; I leave an appointment with a trail of grieving people in my wake,
and I feel a glow of satisfaction and rightness and karmic return because I know that
I have done good and profound work.”
~ Dr. V., Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice