What to Expect
Before My Arrival
Think about any arrangements you would like to make before-hand, such as family or friends that would like to be present, any special family or religious tributes/ceremonies you would like to have arranged. Gather photos, poems or other mementos that will be part of the tribute. Plan to have other family members and pets in the house say goodbye if they will not be present.
Many people ask whether other pets and/or children should be present. Even the youngest child can view a pet’s body or be present during a euthanasia, as long as they are well prepared and supported by the adults in their life. It is often a child’s first experience with death, so openness, honesty and sensitivity are important. If parents are comfortable, children should be asked if they want to be present. In my experience, many do, but many want to be part of the good byes and then choose to leave for the actual procedure. Other pets in the household may also be present. It is not uncommon for another pet to act depressed or “lost” when their housemate is suddenly missing. It seems there is more understanding when they are able to see and smell the body of their friend. Dogs and cats have been known to search the house for days when not allowed to say goodbye.
Find a quiet place where you and your pet will feel most comfortable. You may choose a favorite room, a special place in the house, or even somewhere quiet outdoors. Essentially, any place that is comfortable for you and your pet is fine.
Once I Arrive
I will have you to sign a form giving me the authorization to perform Euthanasia and ensuring that your pet has not recently bitten anyone. We usually take care of the charges at this time as well. Payment may be made with cash or personal check, or credit card.
After the paperwork is completed and you are ready, I will give your pet a sedative injection uder the skin with a very small needle to help your pet relax and prevent any unnecessary stress, pain, or struggling during the final injection. Most pets don't react to the small needle, but occasionally a pet may act like it's uncomfortable. Your pet will gradually fall into a deep sleep. During this time, you should feel free to continue to comfort and talk to your pet.
Once your pet is in a state of deep sleep and you have said your final good-byes, I will inject an overdose of a very powerful anesthetic (a euthanasia solution) into a vein. This last injection will stop the heart and respiration, usually within a minute or two. Although your pet will be unconscious, you may continue to comfort and touch your friend throughout the entire procedure. Your pet will remain unconscious during this injection and will not feel any pain or discomfort.
Some things to be aware of…
In most cases, once the animal is sedated and even after death, the eyes usually remain open, even if someone tries to shut them. Although euthanasia solution induces rapid clinical death, more primitive areas of the brain can sometimes continue stimulating basic reflex activities. For example, the pet may breathe more rapidly, take a few very deep breaths, have muscle tremors or very rarely even have jerking-type motions. These sights can sometimes be disturbing to watch, but the pet remains unaware and does not feel any discomfort. In most cases, however, the process is quite smooth and pets die very quietly and gently.
Once I have confirmed that the heart and breathing have stopped, you may continue to spend as much time as you need with your pet. If you’ve elected to have me take care of the body, just let me know whenever you are ready. I will then take your pet's body for cremation
Remember, it is perfectly normal to cry, be sad, and experience all the emotions associated with losing an important family member. Everyone grieves differently, but you should be prepared to enlist the support of your family and friends during this difficult time. If you need additional help, please refer to the pet loss support resources on our website – and remember, you are not alone! If you have any questions, need help, or just want to talk, please feel free to call or e-mail me directly.
For many people, making a small “memorial table” with items that help you remember your pet’s happy days will help immensely, particularly for children. You may also write a small memorial note about your pet and send it to me, with a picture, for our “Memorial” page.