We understand how very difficult euthanasia is - from making the decision to completing the process - because we have all been there with our own pets.
Our primary goal is to help you, your family, and your pet make it through this transition as comfortably as possible. This involves not only helping you through the decision making process,but also arranging the actual euthanasia to minimize your stress and keep your pet comfortable.
The decision making process is, in most cases, a difficult experience. It is truly rare for a pets condition to become so severe acutely that there are no options. We have a handout at the office to help you through the decision making process, and our doctors are always willing to discuss your situation with you.
When the time comes to actually carry through with the euthanasia, there are several decisions you need to make that will direct how the event is handled. First is the decision about whether you wish to be with your pet during the euthanasia. This is a very personal decision, and there is no right or wrong answer. Some people stay with their pet, others will sit in our comfort room to say goodbye but not be present for the actual euthanasia, others wait for us to complete the euthanasia and then return to spend time with their pet. Some people do not feel that they can be present. That is fine - and if that is your decision, rest assured that we handle every pet with love, reassuring them throughout the procedure - which is peaceful and not painful at all.
If you choose to be with your pet, the steps are as follows:
- we will escort you to our Comfort Room, where you may stay with your pet as long as you wish, either before or after the euthanasia
- we will take your pet to the Treatment Room and place an intravenous catheter. If you wish, we will administer a mild tranquilizer.
- we will return your pet to the Comfort Room, and ask how much time you would like before the Doctor comes in
- the Doctor will come in, flush the IV catheter with saline solution, then administer the euthanasia solution. The euthanasia solution takes effect quickly. During the actual injection, most pets will show a brief increase in awareness, or will have increased respiration rate. The euthanasia solution stops brain function first, then stops the heart. The eyes remain open. There are sometimes involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, causing short, quick inhalations - but these are only reflex breaths. The urinary bladder may empty.
- after the Doctor verifies that the heart has stopped, she will leave the room so that you may spend time saying final goodbyes to your pet. When you are ready, you may leave through a side door. if you have chosen to have your pets' ashes returned, we will call you when they are returned.
The second decision is where you would like the euthanasia to occur. We will make housecalls, and have completed euthanasia in parks, yards, homes, and outside our office. No matter where the euthanasia happens, you can still choose to be present or not.
The final decision is the disposition of your pets body. Options range from taking the body home for burial to cremation with ash return in a specialized urn. There are also local funeral homes who offer full funeral services or ash scattering in a private meadow.
Pet Loss Support Group
Welcome to the Pet Loss Support Group, conducted by Nancy Kopp, professional bereavement counselor.
This group is for anyone has lost or is anticipating the loss of their beloved animal companion. Your loss does not have to be “fresh” for you to attend – all are welcome!
Meetings are the 1st Wednesday of each month, 7 – 8:30 pm. Please come, even if you arrive late. (except December – date to be announced). During COVID, meetings are on Zoom.
Location is Conference Room at Southwest Veterinary Hospital, 250 E Dry Creek Road, Ste 106, Littleton CO 80122.
RSVP to (303) 794-2697, BUT PLEASE ATTEND EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T HAD A CHANCE TO CALL – we will have enough seats.
There is no charge for this service – Nancy is donating her time to help fellow pet lovers.
We look forward to seeing you!
If you are able, please bring a photo of your pet. Nancy Kopp is a professional bereavement counselor who lives in the south metro area.
Her website is: nancykoppcounseling.com
Nancy has shared her life with pets for a very long time and has participated in the Prescription Pet Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
She and her husband currently share their home with Nala, an 11-year-old Samoyed.