When the time comes to help your beloved pet transition out of their life, we provide in-home euthanasia service. The word "euthanasia" has a greek origin that means “good death”. This type of end-of-life care happens at home, which allows your pet to spend their final moments in a place where they are comfortable, surrounded by people that they love and trust. The stress of getting into a car ride or being in an unfamiliar place can thus be avoided. Family and friends have the freedom to memorialize a precious life and share the grief openly. Although it's called "in-home" euthanasia, it can also be performed in the backyard, your pet's favorite park, or even at the beach, as long as it's somewhere quiet and comfortable for both you and your pet.
We provide in-home euthanasia service as a conclusion of hospice care and also as a separate service where hospice care may not be appropriate or desired. Although the decision of euthanasia is always personal, you do not have to make the decision alone. Dr. Ma can provide guidance and help you assess the quality of life of your pet, which is a crucial part of your decision-making process for euthanasia. Dr. Ma is available for a ten-minutes complimentary phone consultation if you need extra help in making the decision.
What to expect
Before the appointment
You may want to think about any family members or friends who would want to know about the plan of transition, so that they can choose to be present or choose to say goodbye ahead of time. Think about any special family or religious tributes/ceremonies you would like to have arranged. Think about where you would like the procedure to take place. If your pet is a cat or small dog, you can have him/her on your lap. In-home euthanasia does not limit to indoor. It also can be done at the backyard, park, beach, or anywhere that is quiet and comfortable for everyone. Gather photos, poems or other mementos that will be part of the tribute. If there is any disagreement regarding the procedure between family members, please settle the matters beforehand, as pets can sense the tension in the air and that may make them uncomfortable.
Since the sedation may make pets nauseous, it is better not to give them a huge meal 3-4 hours prior to the appointment, A small amount of special treat or easily digestible food or normal breakfast is fine. If it is possible, it would be ideal to have the elimination done 1-2 hours prior to the appointment. After the transition, urinary and fecal incontinence would happen due to muscle relaxation. Therefore, you may want to put comfortable towels or blankets (which are ok to be soiled) underneath your pets to prevent soiling onto yourself or onto the furniture/floor.
If you have decided to choose private cremation with the ashes return back to you, you can take time to think about what kind of urn you want or whether you would like to put sentiment onto the urn as memorial for your pet. You may also want to prepare the payment before the appointment. You can have the check (make it payable to "Compassion Pet Hospice") or cash or credit/debit card ready.
At the appointment
Any paperwork and charges will be taken care of at the beginning of the appointment, so that no one needs to worry about them later. Credit cards are accepted too without additional processing fee.
When you are ready, Dr. Ma will give your pet a sedative injection with a very tiny needle under the skin. Most of the time they do not feel it, but some animals may react to the injection. Sometimes, two injections will be needed based on your pet's medical condition. You pet will graudally fall asleep over a period of 5-15 minutes, and the only thing he/she will experience would be your loving presence and comfort along his/her side.
Once your pet is anesthetized and you have said your final goodbye, Dr. Ma will give the final injection into the body under a blanket. Your pet would not feel that injection at all. This injection is an overdose of anticonvulsant that would eventually stop the heart and the lungs. Unlike giving the injection into the vein, which would stop the heart within seconds, the intraperitoneal injection (given into the belly) would allow much slower transition. You pet will go into a deeper sleep gradually while the breathing and heart rate get slower over a period of 2-5 minutes (no matter how long it would take - your pet will pass under anesthesia), and then he/she will pass away peacefully. Dr. Ma will confirm the passing by listening to the heart.
You can spend as much time as you want with your pet before, during, and after the procedure. Everything will be explained in details and everything will be done at your pace. You do not have to stay for the final injection if you do not want to.
At the end of the appointment, Dr. Ma can make a simple clay paw print and clip some hair as keepsake if you prefer. Dr. Ma will take your pet with her if you elect to have the aftercare being handled by Compassion Pet Hospice. However, due to Dr. Ma's physical limitation, she's not able to move anything over 30 lbs by herself. She will appreciate your help in moving dog weighing over 30 lbs. If you do not feel comfortable doing that, please let her know ahead of time, and she will discuss with you about options available. We will work things out based on your need and your comfort level.
Please feel free to speak with Dr. Ma if you have any question or concern. It is her calling to provide help and support during these difficult times.