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Compassionate Pet Euthanasia and Palliative Care

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No matter what we call it—"put to sleep", "put down", "help get to heaven"— making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet is extremely difficult. The process of losing a pet is different for everyone, and we at Fairgrounds Animal Hospital have the highest respect for that. We promise to do everything we can to help and support our clients during such painful times. Watching a beloved pet's health decline is an extremely hard thing to go through—it is losing your best friend. Our compassionate staff members will always do everything in our power to make this time less painful for pets, and for their families too. During the natural process of aging, or the very unfortunate circumstance where a pet becomes very ill and can't be cured, we place the highest importance and focus on pain management and patient comfort. We want to ensure our patients are as comfortable as possible in their final days, so they can spend as much quality time with their families as possible.

When a client has made the hardest of decisions—that quality of life is gone for their beloved pet, and it is time to say goodbye—it is natural to be concerned and unsure of what will happen next. We want to assure our clients that we will guide them every step of the way. On the day of a pet's euthanasia, the financial side of the process is taken care of beforehand so that there is no need to deal with anything else afterwards, because we know owners will be grieving and may want to leave discreetly. Owners who want to be present during the procedure are then taken into a quiet, private room with a comfortable area to sit with their dear one. Owners can then be given some time alone with their pet if desired, to say the things they want to say. After the pet's owner signals they are ready to start, a technician will place an IV catheter in one leg for the doctor to deliver the medication. The doctor will explain the physical process of euthanasia and what to expect, to prepare the owner. The doctor may administer a heavy sedative first to completely calm the pet, so there is no fear. Then, at the owner's signal, the euthanasia solution is given. We truly understand that this is a time of grieving, and one never knows how they will react to the experience. We promise to be there for owners compassionately and understand their pain—we love our patients and grieve along with their families. After the euthanasia is over, if owners need some time alone with their pet or with a comforting staff member before heading home, they will be able to spend as long as they need.

For care of the body, we have several options, just like for people. Some owners want to bury their pet's remains in a special place, and they take the body with them in a discreet container we provide. Some owners want to have their pet cremated and keep the ashes, and for that, we work with a local company we have trusted for years, who can provide cremation services and return a pet's ashes in either a cedar or decorative urn, with the option to have a personalized engraved plaque attached. Owners also have the option to have a kiln-fired clay print of their pet's paw made and returned along with the ashes.

At Fairgrounds Animal Hospital, our staff also wants to help owners in any way we can during such distressing times. We understand that constant trips to the doctors can be exhausting and compound the stress they feel trying to cope with the experience. Though we do provide a comforting and calm environment for euthanasia at our hospital, we completely understand families who desire another option. That is why we also offer at—home euthanasia. It allows a pet's final day to be at home where he or she belongs—with their family, in a familiar, cozy environment.

Our staff feels it is a wonderful gift that so many of our patients grow up and grow old with us. We are so grateful for our client's trust and loyalty, and we truly care for our patients as individuals. We sincerely empathize with the pain of losing a cherished pet, and realize that because the bonds between our pets and us are so strong, preparing for a pet to pass away and grieving the loss of a pet is extremely hard. We all know personally how painful the loss of a pet feels, and we've provided links to a few resources here for pet owners in hopes that any advice or information we can offer will help ease some of their pain. Even a small gesture, like lighting a candle, is a nice way to remember a beloved pet. Without question, our compassionate staff will be there for our clients through every stage of their pet's lives.