Hospice care for pets?

catFacing a tough situation, Terry emails:

I have a cat that is 18 years old. He's been with me since right after I moved to the Capital District. He's been a lively, healthy guy, 18 years is well past the typical feline expiration date already, but now his clock is reaching its final ticks, and as much as I wish I didn't have to, I know that sooner rather than later I will have to do my final job as a loving, responsible caretaker for him and have him put down.
My question is this: do any of your readers know of a vet that will makes "final house calls" and come to my home? I would like to give my little guy as much security and comfort as possible on his final day, vs. putting him into a plastic crate and driving him to a vet's office and a chrome examination table.
Thank you in advance - while I grew up with pets, this is the first time I've ever "owned" this responsibility, and it just feels awful.

We haven't heard about any clinics that offer this service -- but we had a question not too long about veterinarian care for cats, and a few places got multiple recommendations (Bloomingrove, Parkside). They might be a good place to start inquiring about an in-home visit.

We hope you have suggestions for Terry.

photo: Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar

Comments

I think "Just Cats" makes house calls. You would have to call them to see if they offer this kind of service. The people there are really nice and the vet there volunteers her time for worthy causes.

To echo Erin, "Just Cats" in Guilderland does offer this service. They are a lovely group of folks out there ... 518.869.5779

I hope you find someone to do this. My friend in Brooklyn years back had her vet come to her home to put her dog down and it was the best way for it to happen for everyone involved. I thought it was such a special and humane thing to do.

Karen and Andrea Walker, of Buddy's Place, were wonderful when the time was at hand for my dog, Buster. They have a working relationship with a number of area vets and I’m sure could provide recommendations for a final home visit. Also, if you choose the option, their after-care services (cremation, memorial, etc…) were compassionate and reasonable.

http://www.buddysplacepetcrematorium.com/

Thank you AOA for posting this question to your readership.

As it happens, I ended up taking my cat to a local emergency clinic late last night to be put down (Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic on Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham). My cat let me know it was finally time, and I wasn't going to prolong his suffering.

All in all, the vet (Dr. Lindsey) and staff were all supportive, professional and efficient. I feared the worst going in (cold exam room, stressful environment) and I could not have been more wrong.

They brought us into a private room quickly, Dr. Lindsey explained the options after examining my cat (euthanasia was without question the most humane and loving decision), explained the process once my decision was made, and allowed me to hold my cat as the injection was made via an IV in his front paw. It was over in under 5 seconds, painlessly and calmly - literally like my cat just went to sleep.

Don't get me wrong, all in all it is 5 seconds I will replay in my head for some time, and awful in its own way, but I fulfilled my final responsibility in caring for an animal I brought into my family 18 years ago.

This painful experience certainly makes me question whether I want to ever get another pet again, but Peter King, a sportswriter at Sports Illustrated really put it beautifully when he wrote in a post about putting his dog to sleep: "There is one thing I do know. The only way not to feel such intense sadness is to never feel intense love. And that is certainly no way to live."

Amen, and Pita, you are the best cat I could have ever had.


THANKS guys, for getting me all teary-eyed at the office.

I have a ten year-old cat, a seven year-old cat, and a one and and a half year old pup. Ever since they were babies I've long dreaded the inevitable "final decision." I love these critters like they're really a part of my family. Terry brings up a good point. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not cut out for animals, because their deaths are going to be so hard for me. But I can't imagine missing out on having them in my life.

Terry,
My condolences on your loss. I am happy you were able to find a caring, compassionate vet to help you at this difficult time.

UGH, I need a tissue after reading these comments! *sniff sniff* I'm going home to kiss my dog.

Terry,
I'm so very sorry, my heart goes out to you. I went through the same thing with my 13 year old dog last summer and I was absolutely devastated. I never thought I would want another dog but then I started missing the companionship. I looked into rescuing an adult dog and I found a 4 year old greyhound from a rescue group in Clifton Park. She's very sweet. I feel tons better that I am able to give a deserving pet a loving home.

Interesting question. More vets offices SHOULD make house calls of this nature. I applaud you for doing the humane thing, as hard as it is.

There is a new company that just started that does this: Cottonwood Creek Veterinary Services.

She (Rebecca Kryzak) is a travelling vet, as she saw a need for this kind of service in our area. She is both a large and small animal vet. A wonderful vet, and a wonderful person. I would highly recommend her. Check out their page on facebook if you are interested.

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