End of Life
One of the most beautiful parts of having a pet is the human-animal bond that develops. For many people, a pet becomes part of their family, much like a human child. For anyone who has pushed their dog or cat down the sidewalk in a stroller, let their pet sleep in their bed (or even under the covers), stayed up late with their pet after a surgery or when that pet is feeling sick, then your relationship is on the level of family.
It is understood, although not often acknowledged, that the heartbreaking part of having a pet, is that their lives are so much shorter than ours. When a pet is brought into the home, they weave themselves into the fabric of your life and often will pass away before their human family counterparts. End of life care is a shared experience for all pet owners. Although all pets will transition away from this world in different ways, many pet owners will have to witness a decline in quality of life. They will have to make a difficult decision about choosing euthanasia for their pet.
The word euthanasia literally means “good death.” The meaning of the word is exactly why we perform the procedure – to prevent further pain and suffering at the end of life. There are a variety of reasons veterinarians perform euthanasia’s – poor quality of life, terminal medical conditions, unrelenting pain, inability to re-home a pet because of severe behavioral/safety concerns, caregiver burnout, the list goes on. Each pet and situation are different, and a veterinarian will often be able to help you decide if, based on your pet’s condition, they are a candidate for euthanasia.
Euthanasia is a tool we can use to end suffering when nothing else can be done to help the pet. Although many parents often feel guilty about choosing euthanasia for their pet, it is considered an act of compassion, mercy, and love.
Ultimately, each member of our veterinary team shares the same goal: to spare pets from prolonged suffering.
Whether you’re calling to schedule an appointment or arriving at the hospital on the day of the procedure, everyone from our veterinarians to our receptionists are at the ready to answer any questions which may arise. Each member of our team is committed to making sure parents have access to the knowledge they need to make the most informed decisions.
The veterinarian will walk you through the process and explain each step. Patients are sedated prior to the administration of the euthanasia solution to ensure they are comfortable. Families are invited to spend as much time as they need to say goodbye.
The veterinarian will get permission from you before they start the euthanasia to make sure you are ready (none of us ever are). Your pet will transition to be at peace in the comfort of the presence of their family.
The staff and doctors at Oswego Animal Hospital grieve with your family and will do anything we can to comfort you during this time.
If your family prefers a more comfortable setting, home visits are also available. At home, you’ll feel most comfortable and you’ll pass that emotion on to your pet. Euthanasia at home allows you and your family the privacy – and time – to say goodbye exactly how you’d like to. There will be tears, of course, but grieving at home in the place your pet loved the most is the best way to move forward.
It is okay to feel sad and overwhelmed. The day-to-day pain will lessen, but the memory will never fade.
If you need support, here are some resources for you and your family:
Cornell University, Pet Loss Support Hotline
Tuesdays and Thursdays 5 PM- 8 PM CST
Washington State University, Pet Loss Hotline
Monday through Thursday, 3 PM- 5 PM CST
Saturdays 9 AM- 11 AM
Lap of Love, Pet Loss Hotline
Monday through Friday, 9 AM- 8 PM
The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
If you are looking for a pet loss counselor:
Pet Loss Partners
You can also check the APLB Counselor Page for other counselors that may be open to doing phone/video consults.