Euthanasia - Is Your Vet the Right Vet For You And Your Pet?


The research begins. You have decided that euthanasia is best for your pet. You don't want him to suffer any longer so you set your own emotional needs aside and do what's best for your pet.

You're done a tremendous amount of research. But all too often we neglect to research the vet who will be euthanizing our pet.

Out of habit, we tend to go to the vet who has cared for our pet for the past few years. Or we choose one based on convenience; they are open late and are 5 minutes from our house. Perhaps it is based on finances. Perhaps it is a vet who will come to our home.

My personal experience has shown me that having the right vet makes all the difference in the world. I have heard horror stories from people whose vet showed no emotion at all while euthanizing their pet. It was quick and clinical. They left the vet's office sobbing while he practically threw them out because he needed the room for his next patient. The children were on the verge of hysteria but this vet didn't so much as offer one single word of condolence.

Many years ago, I remember driving to a vet's office. We had just moved to a new town and I wanted to interview a new vet prior to actually needing one.  It was late in the day. There was an elderly gentleman walking his dog outside. He was clearly distressed on the verge of tears. The vet came out, knelt down, hugged the dog and said "I'm giving him something to calm him down. I don't want to euthanize him while he is so stressed."

I walked into the vet’s office for my scheduled meet and great and the staff was upset but trying hard to keep a smile on their face. I asked what was wrong and they just said it is a very difficult day.

They put us in a room and minutes later the vet appeared. She leaned down, hugged Jake and said "Jake I'm so happy you can to visit me today." I again asked what was wrong and she said they have to euthanize three dogs later after Jake leaves and the circumstances surrounding one is extremely emotional.

The first thing that came to mind was that when the time comes for our dogs to go to cross rainbow bridge, this is who I want to use if my dog needs to be euthanized.  She is a wonderful vet, kind, caring and what I saw that day from both her and her staff was pure compassion.

As days turned in months, and months turned into years, it was now my turn to have to make some difficult decisions. But choosing who would euthanize my pet was not a decision I needed to make. The compassion I had witnessed so many years before made this part of the decision easy.

When Jake's health went from bad to worse within minutes, we knew he had made the decision for us. It was time. We called ahead to let the vet know we were 10 minutes away. When we arrived two of the technicians were waiting for us with a stretcher. The waiting room was empty. They had cleared it and put everyone into rooms. I was so grateful for this. One of the reasons I had originally planned on having him euthanized at home was because of my inability to walk through a room full of strangers crying. Now I didn't have to.

Our original plan of having the vet coming to our home had to be quickly altered as Jake's condition worsened very quickly. His yelping in extreme pain let us know time was of the essence. But our wonderful vet and the caring staff made an extremely difficult day, a little more tolerable by doing whatever they could to make this more comfortable for us.

The vet clearly explained what would happen. I noticed a box of tissues had suddenly appeared next to us. We were asked if we would like to spend some time with Jake before proceeding. As Jake was passing, we were told exactly what was happening.

Afterwards we were told to stay in the room and to let them know when we were ready to leave. Again, when we left, the waiting room suddenly became empty.

We were told not to pay and to come back in a few days. They said, "Today was not a day to deal with finances."

The next day my vet called and spent 45 minutes on the phone with me. She answered all my questions and her knowledge, sympathy and compassion was just what I needed.

Make sure you are comfortable with the vet. You need to use a vet who you feel comfortable with. I also felt very confident leaving Jake there after he had passed. I just knew he would be treated with the dignity he deserved. They also made all the arrangements to have him cremated; something we had discussed beforehand.