Frequently Asked Questions
We are here to help you through this difficult time and problem solve what to do. Have questions or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to call us at 480-584-1874 or fill out our Contact Form and we will follow up with you ASAP.
Allowing your pet to have a peaceful passing at home has multiple advantages. Dr. Kelly Collins will take care of your pets after care arrangements. You have the option to get your pet’s ashes back or not. This is a personal decision and there is not a right or wrong way to do it.
Dr. Kelly Collins is committed to helping your pet’s end of life transition be pain free and without stress or anxiety. Remaining in your family’s home during this difficult time allows for a peaceful, stress-free passing for your pet. Additionally, many of our pet owners appreciate the ability to grieve privately in the comfort, safety and peace of their own homes rather than in a public setting. There is also huge benefit to the other pets in the home as they will understand the process and be at peace given the ability to understand what has happened to their friend.
There is no better place than the warm, loving and familiar surroundings of their own home. Not only is it less stressful on your pet, it also allows you as the pet parent to have the privacy you need to cope with the decision of having to say goodbye. For this reason, we make every effort to take time and explain the process to you and your family and to create a quiet and unrushed experience within the privacy of your own home. Choosing our services also allows any pets in the house to understand what has occurred. It will prevent any potential anxiety of loss your other pets have when their friend just “disappears”. Animals are very intuitive and almost everyone, even young ones, will understand what has occurred. It is curious and special to witness how peaceful they are given the opportunity to be present.
Chances are, if you are visiting this website, you are questioning how to know when to make this decision. You don’t want to decide too early…or too late. The responsibility of making this decision is often unexpected, unwelcome and overwhelming. The time is drawing near and you want to be prepared and want to be confident in the timing of helping your pet pass peacefully avoiding pain and suffering. It is one of the most difficult decisions you will make for your cherished friend but also one of the most beautiful gifts you can give your pet. Most everyone wants to avoid pain and suffering at the end of life. As their owner, guardian, advocate, and caregiver, they depend on you for everything and are depending on you now to help them transition peacefully when they are at that point.
You will hear from different sources some incorrect information such as “you will know…”, “He will tell you…” or “when she is not eating anymore…” or “he can’t stand anymore…” These are NOT RELIABLE criteria and frequently lead to inadvertently causing prolonged pain and suffering. Animals are very resilient and they hide their suffering and pain instinctively. By the time they are showing symptoms owners recognize, by the time they are not eating, by the time “you can see it in their eyes…”, they are in final stages of suffering. One accurate statement you may hear is, “It is better to be a week early than a day late”. This is one to take to heart.
Our doctors can help you decide if the right time is now or if you have some more time. Sometimes it becomes clear during a phone call and sometimes it requires a “Quality of Life” visit with a vet which can be either your primary vet or with Dr. Kelly Collins at your home. We are here to help you figure out the best course of action for you and your family.
This is not a problem, but we must know ahead of our arrival. Dr. Kelly is very experienced with pets who may not appreciate seeing someone they do not know. Perhaps your pet is in pain and has become very sensitive to things. Dr. Kelly knows how to approach and diffuse these situation so both you and your pet can relax and be at peace during the process. Please let us know if your pet may be one of these special cases and she will be prepared to make things go smoothly. In most situations, you and the doctor will have some discussion about your concerns prior to arrival.
As your pet’s caregiver, you want your pet to have the best quality of life possible. You want as much time with your pet as possible but not at the expense of their well-being. It can be very hard for people to know when is the “right time”. Below are some Quality of Life parameters to help you assess how your pet is doing. Of course you can call us as well and we can walk you through the situation.
Quality of life is defined and assessed by a combination of your pet’s physical and mental wellbeing. At Pet’s at Rest, we feel these are the most important factors for you to consider regarding your pet’s end-of-life care:
Pain, Playing and Ability to Move Around – Does your pet have difficulty walking, getting up or down, standing, jumping or even going for a walk? Pain does not always refer to joint pain or moving around. It can present in other parts of the body too. Pain can be expressed with mood changes, not wanting to be petted, not wanting to play, not wanting to eat, a tense abdomen or other behaviors your pet has never exhibited. They may be on pain medications but there comes a point where that is not enough. It is not a normal process for a pet to just lie there in place. If your pet cannot or will not move it is time.
Breathing and Trembling – Observing how your companion is breathing can give you a lot of information. Does your pet have difficulty breathing; are they open-mouth breathing or using their abdomen to breathe in or out? Panting when not hot, or for no apparent reason is not normal and needs assessment. Some may position themselves in odd ways in attempts to alleviate difficulty in breathing. Sometimes animals have to stand to breathe. Breathing problems can abruptly turn into a nightmarish emergency, one that is difficult to see, and one you do not want your pet to go through. Shivering can often signal something is just not right, particularly with a pet that does not usually shiver. Typically it is an indication of pain and not chilliness. We recommend a complete evaluation as the end of life becomes closer, to prevent any suffering.
Eating and Drinking – Is your pet able to eat and/or drink easily and with desire? Typically end of life brings a lack of wanting to eat or drink. Their appetite can change or they may not be able to physically eat any longer. Does your companion lack interest is his or her favorite foods/treats? These changes may indicate it is time to prepare for an end of life decision. They might want to eat but be unable to do so without hand feeding. Some or all of these significantly decreases their quality of life. Dehydration is uncomfortable for anyone and a few cc/s of water here and there are not suffice to alleviate the dehydration. You have the opportunity to prevent your pet from going through the starvation/dehydration process prior to death. Typically, waiting until they have not eaten or drank for days, means it is past time.
Hygiene – Most pets have a strong desire to keep themselves clean and free of urine and feces. If there is a sudden change in this behavior, there are a few things to consider. Perhaps they have a UTI (urinary tract infection) or a disease process that is contributing to the soiling behavior. Perhaps it is too hard to get up and go outside to relieve themselves as desired. This is typically distressing for a pet. Although there are situations where a pet can be managed during incontinence, these situations usually require constant care and take a toll on the family and pet. Some of these issues effect the pets mental quality of life. It is not selfish for these type of concerns to lead to end-of-life discussion with a professional. During these conversations, frequently veterinarians can pick up on other clinical signs that may not be as obvious to owners.
Happiness and Sociability – Your pet’s happiness is very important, you can assess this by observing whether they wag their tail the way they have always done. Ask yourself and family some questions as follows. Do they spend time with you and your family? Do they enjoy your time, comfort and petting? Do they still greet you when you come home? Changes in attitude (depression, aggression or confusion) can signal the need to address end of life options. Not enjoying their usual activities is a sign that they may be suffering.
More Bad Days Than Good Days – Sometimes your pet might cycle with their symptoms and have good days and bad days. The goal, of course, is to have more good days than bad days. It is important to keep track of the good and bad days, so you have evidence when you need to make the tough decision to let them pass easily.
Your Well-Being – Although this can feel selfish, it is not! You and your family’s well-being is also an important consideration. There are times when it becomes important to look at the big picture and assess not only your pet but also your health, emotional well being, time commitment, effects on family (furry and human) and even finances. Our veterinary team knows and respects the fact that every pet owner, pet, and situation is extremely different so you will not feel judged.
If you have other pets especially if they are close to each other, this is one of the most important reasons to choose in-home euthanasia. Many pets will be confused and anxious if their friend just “disappears” and never comes home. They cannot process why their friend has left and hasn’t come home. Choosing our services also allows any pets in the house to understand what has occurred. It will prevent any potential anxiety of loss your other pets may experience. Animals are very intuitive and almost everyone, even young ones, will understand what has occurred. It is curious and special to witness how peaceful they are given the opportunity to be present.
We are experienced in how to handle other pets during the process…of course, we do not want them to be intrusive or overbearing, so some level of control needs to be maintained. The veterinarian will work with you and your pets to create a situation that honors all pets at the home and you.
Yes! Your pet will just view the situation as a new friend coming to visit. There will be no need to walk into a vet’s office. The car ride is avoided. There are no unfamiliar smells, sounds and experiences that can cause your pet to stress or be anxious, especially during a compromised state of health. You will not need to deal with other animals and people who you do not know well. Frequently pets are old, sick or weighing more than you can handle or unable to even stand up easily and walk. All of these situations are avoided when our veterinarian comes to your home. We are also experienced in pets who may not want to be touched or handled for a variety of reasons. Our goal is to eliminate anxiety, stress and fear so that your pet is comfortable, in their own home surrounded by their happiest memories. In-home euthanasia is a wonderful alternative to the veterinary clinic, or an emergency veterinarian practice. We are able to make this experience much more intimate, peaceful and compassionate for you and your pet.
We can be almost anywhere. Most typically, your pet is the most comfortable in his favorite sleeping spot in your house or where everyone hangs out…it can be wherever your pet decides to lay down that day. We can be in your home, outside, or even in a park. Often we are in your bedroom, on a bed, under a table, in a closet, and even in your lap. The most important thing is an environment where they are most comfortable at the moment and feel loved.
Our veterinarians work closely with each pet owner to create a safe, predictable and compassionate experience. You can select a location where your pet is most comfortable, be that indoors or outdoors, in a comfortable chair or bed. You are welcome to hold your pet in your lap or in your arms – whatever feels best for you and your pet. You can have friends and family present for emotional support, or you may wish to keep this a private, personal experience. You will have an opportunity to talk with the veterinarian that will be arriving prior to the visit. Most typically, our veterinarian is at your home from 20-30 minutes but occasionally things move along quicker or slower. We do not want to rush you or your pet through this process; we honor and respect the special bond you have with your pet but also do not want to be a “visitor” that stays to long. Our veterinarian will be sensitive to what is appropriate for your unique situation.
Most of the time, we will have decided how your pet will be handled prior to our visit. After confirming your pet’s passing, you will be given time to visit privately if you want that, although most people say their goodbyes prior to our arrival, and while their pet is falling asleep. Unless you are caring for your pet after passing, our vet will make all the arrangements and take your pet with us. We have a gurney with wheels to facilitate moving your pet to our vehicle if needed or we will carry your pet out if small enough. You can choose to have your pet’s ashes returned to you. Ashes can be returned to your full-service vet and picked up at Lasting Paws (located near 30th Avenue and the Interstate), or mailed (with tracking) to your home for a fee. Our vets will discuss the options and help you decide what you want. You will be able to call or text afterward to get updates as to where your pet is at during the process. Your pet will be handled with dignity and respect throughout the entire process.
We offer a full refund for all cancellations with a 4-hour minimum notice, prior to services being rendered and our veterinarian in route. If the veterinarian arrives and the situation is such that euthanasia is no longer the best option for a variety of reasons, you will be charged a $150.00 consultation fee and refunded the difference. If your pet has passed while one of our veterinarians is in route, there will be a $100 consultation fee and the standard after-care fees that have been chosen. There are no refunds for services rendered or for cancellations with less than 4 hours notice.
You are not alone and many people desire or need help processing the loss of their pet. Through Lasting Paws, once you are apart of our family, we offer free counseling services. Just ask us! There are many virtual Pet Loss Support Groups where individuals grieving the loss of an animal can connect online with others who have experienced the loss of their pet. Some have professional facilitators and others do not.
Yes. After making the appointment for the first pet, make a second appointment choosing the “Second Pet Services” option. The discount of $60 will be automatically applied to all euthanasia services and fees for distance do not apply.