Clarence, a giant schnauzer, was adopted by Penny Wagner almost eight years ago. It was a difficult time for her family.
Steve, her husband, had just lost their 21 year-old daughter in an accident. Their other child was soon off to college, and Steve returned to work. Penny was left alone in her grief. Clarence was born.
The beloved pet fell ill with advanced renal disease earlier this year. Due to COVID protocols, their veterinarian refused to allow them to remain with him at the clinic until his final days. They decided to bring him home to Albuquerque in New Mexico to be in his favorite laundry area.
Clarence and his wife, Clarence, were greeted by a vet from Pet Loss at Home. The vet took the Wagners time before giving Clarence and Cooper two injections to relax their 90-pound dog. They cuddled Cooper as they cried and also said goodbye to Cooper.
Wagner, who was crying, said that he would always hold a special place for him in his heart. “I believe he was comforted by knowing that he was at home, and that he was with his loved ones until the end.”
Since the pandemic, private services offering home euthanasia have seen increased demand since they were able to offer this service for pets. Home euthanasia may not be for everyone. It is more expensive and can be disruptive to pets and children.
Although most pet euthanasia still takes place in a hospital setting, some vets now offer home care as an option.
Wagner considered the human touch a gift. Diane Brisson (72), Pinellas Park Florida, also believes the same.
Brisson used Lap of Love to say goodbye to Champagne, her 12-year old Yorkie last December. Her mother never had Champagne, and she was the only dog that she ever enjoyed. Champagne became critically ill from pancreatitis, along with other organ failure. Brisson couldn’t bear to leave Champagne at the vet.
She said, “I couldn’t have asked for anything more tranquil.”
Lap of love allowed her to have a neighbor as support. As Champagne lay on Brisson’s lap, her neighbor snapped photos. It was the only piece she had brought with her from Massachusetts. The vet patiently waited until Brisson was ready for him to give up. After he died, the doctor put Champagne in a small basket with a white satin cushion and a lavender satin blanket to transport him to cremation.
I stayed with him for approximately 20-25 minutes, and then said, “OK, you’re going with nanny now.” Brisson cried as he recalled how he had promised to look after him and take care of his daughter up there.
Lap of Love sent Champagne’s ashes back to Brisson. She will scatter them at sea in Massachusetts with her own ashes, when she can.
Lap of Love was founded by Dani McVety in 2009 by a Tampa hospice veterinarian. Her ability to help people deal with grief was something she considered rare among vets.
She said that doctors often don’t feel comfortable doing this because they aren’t trained to.
Mary Gardner, her senior medical director, teaches a course in end-of life care at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.
When I started Lap Of Love, I thought it would be a part time job. McVety said, “I don’t think anyone of us realized that it could be a full time thing that there would be enough people who would need this help in any given area.”
Her company is present in 35 states, with more than 220 vets.
McVety stated that euthanasia prices vary depending on what services are requested in general veterinary practices. It is possible to get it for as low as $100. It may cost more at an emergency hospital. Lap of Love fees are similar to Pet Loss at Home. They vary depending on where you live. Lap of Love charges $300 for Tampa. Every client gets a clay pawprint.
The majority of clients pay the vet to cremate their pet. Others choose to drive or bury their pet at home.
The Wagners received a condolence note from the vet who helped Clarence. It contained marigold seeds and suggested that they plant them in his honor. They did and sent Clarence a photo of the flowers in bloom.
Since 2003, Pet Loss At Home has helped more than 35,000 families. It has about 75 doctors located in 50 major cities, including Seattle and San Francisco. Rob Twyning, a veterinarian and co-founder of the company, stated that the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in business.
Twyning in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin said, “Right now, the phone is ringing off-the-hook.” “We are overwhelmed with calls and can’t answer everyone.”
Pet Loss at home can cost anywhere from $300-$600, depending on where you live and how far you drive.
He said, “It’s all about comfort.” Your pet will be familiar with all the sounds and smells at home. The vet clinic is filled by other pets’ smells. Other noises like barking dogs can be heard in the vet clinic. The pet is usually elevated to the top of the shiny table. It’s usually not a veterinarian. It is a technician. You can work at home.
Twyning’s veterinarians are primarily trained to care for dogs and cats, but they have also handled parrots and snakes.
Linda Sheffield, 73, of Marietta, Georgia took a different path last year after her rescue dog Timmy fell ill with a collapsed lung. Although she consulted Nancy Mello, an animal communicator, she did not reveal that Timmy was already diagnosed and was currently on strong medication. Sheffield decided to put Timmy down after he showed no signs of illness during the four- or five video sessions.
Sheffield stated that Sheffield told her Timmy wouldn’t live long. She said that she was skeptical, but that he had repeatedly told her, “I can’t breath, I can’t get oxygen,” over and over. “I thought the medicine was working.”
Sheffield, an experienced dog rescuer who cares for senior dogs, offered Timmy one last ride in her car. She drove Timmy to her vet. While she was holding him on her lap, she administered the euthanasia drug in her car. She placed him on her lap and drove him to the crematorium.
Sheffield stated, “This was the vet he knew and who took care of him.” Sheffield said, “He loved going on car rides and he got the chance to be with me.”