The decision of euthanizing your pet is undoubtedly one of the most difficult ones you will ever have to face.  This experience will be made more peaceful and easier if you, your family and your pet are well prepared and if you create an environment that is conducive to having a peaceful experience. 

There is no doubt that you will be upset and vulnerable during the event.  It will be a painful, difficult time for you, your family and your pet.  However, it will be made much easier if you don’t experience untimely interruptions or unexpected “surprises”.  The following article will help you to get prepared and to minimize the possibilities that unforeseen circumstances will make things harder for you.

Being well prepared might turn this painful event into a meaningful, spiritual sendoff of your pet’s next journey and a celebration of your pet’s life instead of a stressful and painful moment.

First, when you make the appointment, you should make sure that you have all your questions answered about the procedure, the aftercare, etc...  You may not think of what questions to ask, so it is important to educate yourself on the procedure.  A full description of the procedure is on the Home page, and there is even a video you can watch which will help to prepare you.  Once you have read and watched the information, questions may arise that you may want to ask the doctor or staff.  If this is the case, we are always happy to answer all your questions and concerns.  Don’t hesitate to call us at 714-454-4080 (contact).

It is important that you have all your questions answered regarding the cost of the procedure.  Don’t be afraid to ask:  it is an important part of being prepared and we will be happy to give you a quote.  The cost depends on the size of your pet, the type of aftercare you choose, where you are located and whether the visit is done during regular operating hours with an appointment or outside of regular hours, on an evening, week-end or even in the middle of the night.  We will be happy to give you a specific quote depending on your needs and preferences.

Something important to consider is how you would like to have the aftercare handled.  Will you prefer to have a private cremation with the return of your pet’s ashes?  A communal cremation with ashes spread out at sea or over a garden?  Will you prefer to handle the aftercare yourself and take your pet to a pet cemetery or (depending on the city ordinances) bury him or her in your backyard?  See “Aftercare” page for details.

Next, you may want to fill out the forms ahead of time so that you don’t have to be bothered with this technicality during the time of the event.  You may download them by visiting the “Forms” page on this website.  Then, you may print them, fill them out and keep them to hand out to the doctor at the time of the appointment.  We also offer the opportunity to fill out and submit the foms electronically.  At the time of the euthanasia, we will begin the visit with verifying that all the forms have been filled out correctly.  We will then ensure that the payment is completed prior to beginning the euthanasia procedure as it may be more difficult for you to deal with finances after, when you will likely be upset and may be experiencing heavy grief.

Part of preparing yourself is to decide who will be present.  What family members are able to and/or want to attend?  Who will be of good emotional support for you and your pet?  Will you feel comfortable being present for the procedure?  Or perhaps for part of the procedure or maybe none at all.  Consider your children’s presence too (see “Should children be present?”).  What about the other pets in the family (see “Should other pets in the family be present?”)?  Will you feel comfortable helping the doctor carry your pet to the doctor’s vehicle or will you require an assistant (see “Will an assistant be needed?”)?   These are all considerations that you may want to resolve ahead of time in order to make things smoother and more peaceful.

Parking for the doctor’s vehicle will be important to plan for particularly if you live in an area where you have to rely on street parking or if visitor parking is limited in a HOA community.  Remember that your pet’s remains will need to be taken to the doctor’s vehicle and that it may make things difficult if parking is not readily available.  Also, please note that an additional fee may be applicable if the doctor has to park in a distant or remote location from your home.

Another aspect to consider is the atmosphere and ambiance of the setting.  Where will you, your family and your pet be most comfortable?  Will it be outside under your pet’s favorite tree, inside on his bed, on the couch?  Will you want to have the lights dimmed, candles burning, soft music playing?  Or perhaps you will find yourself and your pet most comfortable in “the usual” lighting, and ambiance of your home.  Will you want the procedure to be done at a park, at a friend’s home?  These are all different possibilities depending on what you, your family and your pet will feel most comfortable with.  It is important to note that we wish to make this event as non-clinical as possible.  No special lighting is required for the doctor and the doctor will feel comfortable working in any location of your choosing where your pet is comfortable and reasonable access to your pet is granted.  It is important to note that the euthanasia will go more peacefully for your pet in a quiet, soft environment.  It is expected and normal that you will experience sadness and grief.  However, a noisy, loud environment and agitated people will make this much more difficult for your pet.

Here are some of our recommendations to minimize untimely interruptions and possible inappropriate disturbances for you and your pet:  Turn off your phones (home and cell), turn off the television and place a “do not disturb” sign on the front door.   This will help to protect the privacy of your family at a time where you will all be a bit more vulnerable than normal.  In addition, you may want to make sure that this is not "gardener day", especially if your pet gets upset with the gardener's noises.  If the visit is unavoidably on gardener's day, you may want to talk to the gardener and request that they come at a time that will not interfere with your peace and privacy in this difficult time.  If you wish to have music playing, soft, low-volume music is recommended.

Another important thing to consider is whether or not you would like to have something read or said before, during or after the euthanasia.  Would you like to have prayers said?  Would you like to express your thanks to your pet for his or her life and the joy he or she has brought?  Is there a special poem you would like to read?  Dr Forslund is an ordained minister in addition to being a trained grief and loss counselor and licensed veterinarian and is able to help you make this event a meaningful spiritual experience.  However, absolutely no ritual will be pushed off on you and you will be completely free to have the event be as simple, uncomplicated, and matter-of-fact as you like.  Our purpose is to make this as easy as possible for you and your family and very peaceful for your pet.  We will respect, honor and facilitate your wishes and beliefs in this difficult time.

If your pet is a cat who is particularly scared of strangers, please read this article: Protocol for Scared or Fractious cats.

After your pet has passed away, there will likely be a little (or a lot) of urine leakage and there may or may not be feces leaking out.  This is normal.  However, you may want to plan on having some old towels or a pee pad readily available to slide under your pet after his or her passing.  This will help to preserve your couch or carpet from stains and odors.  

Will you want to keep your pet's collar and tags?  If you do, it will be important for you to remember to remove them from your pet before or after he has passed away and before the doctor takes his remains away for the aftercare.  Collars and tags are not removed prior to the cremation and if you do not take them off, your pet will be cremated with his collar and tags.

After you and your family have spent as much time as you need to say your final goodbyes and after all the pets in your family have had a moment to realize what occurred and to have their own closure, we will move your pet into the doctor’s vehicle for the aftercare.  If your pet is over 35lbs, it is important for you to consider whether or not you will feel comfortable helping the doctor to lift your pet and transport his or her remains to the doctor’s vehicle.  If you do not feel physically or emotionally able to do this, it will be important to either plan on having a family member, friend or neighbor be there to help out or advise us that an assistant will be needed.  Please note that an assistant fee will be applicable and that a 24 hours notice is required to ensure the availability of an assistant.    

Your pet will be placed on a stretcher and taken to the doctor’s vehicle (or, if you prefer, you may carry your pet in your arms).   Will you want to have your pet be wrapped in a special blanket or would you prefer for us to use one of our own blankets?  Home Pet Euthanasia has many blankets and towels and it is not required for you to provide a blanket to place over your pet at the time of the departure.  However, if you do have a special blanket you would like your pet to leave in, you are welcome to place one on your pet.  Please note that blankets leaving with your pet will not be returned.  Blankets will either be cremated with your pet (at your specific request), re-used by Home Pet Euthanasia, donated to a goodwill service or an animal hospital or may be discarded (depending on the condition of the blanket and the leakage of bodily fluids).  

Here is a summary of the important points to consider:

-Educate yourself on the procedure
-Ensure that all your questions are answered to your satisfaction
-Ask for a quote.
-Have all the forms filled out ahead of time if you wish (“Forms” page)
-Plan the aftercare
-Consider who you will want to be present (family, friends, children, other pets, etc...)
-Will you feel comfortable helping to carry your pet to the doctor’s vehicle after the euthanasia?  If not, plan on friend or neighbor assistance or ask doctor to bring assistant
-Parking for doctor
-Choose a location for the euthanasia, ambiance, lighting, music, etc...
-Handle untimely/inappropriate interruptions (phones, doorbell, gardener, TV, etc...)
-Plan special ceremonies, rituals, prayers, poems, etc... if you wish (it is totally OK not to have any special ceremony)
-Have towels or pee pads available for post mortem leakage if your pet will be laying on carpet, bed or couch
-If there is a special blanket you would like your pet wrapped in when his remains are taken, plan on having it readily available or let the doctor know if you would like us to use one of our own.  Blankets sent with your pet will not be returned.

The above will help you greatly in planning a peaceful, smooth transition for your pet and will make this difficult event easier for you and your family.  Please do not hesitate to call us or email us with any questions or concerns.  WE ARE HERE TO HELP.