We provide essential services to help you and your pet:
At Home Euthanasia Service Aftercare Grief Support At Home Pet Hospice Care
We are considering euthanasia for our pet at our home - how does that work? Euthanasia literally means "good death"; a death with dignity and without suffering. We make the experience of putting your pet to sleep supportive and gentle. When we use the phrase, ‘putting a dog to sleep’ or 'putting a cat to sleep,' we are referring to a caring and compassionate euthanasia of your pet. Your pet is put to sleep quietly and painlessly. He or she first enters a deep sleep (sedation via an injection given under the skin) followed by a gentle passing (by an intravenous injection of a specially prepared painless, fatal anesthetic). Most people appreciate having this service performed in the comfort of their own home.
If you are considering euthanasia we will help you with this very important decision. Euthanasia can be considered at any time you believe your pet may be terminal and in some degree of suffering. If he or she is struggling to enjoy daily life, no longer responding to medications and treatments or if you feel that you can no longer provide the kind or level of care needed to keep your companion comfortable - we should talk about how we can help you.
TenderHeart works with you to provide compassionate relief of pain and suffering from terminal illness for your pet.
We strive to give pets a comfortable, intimate end-of-life experience in their familiar home environment.
Our care focuses on providing pain management and physical comfort for your pet in the last days/weeks of life.
Families are given time to adjust to their pet's progressive disease and say goodbye in their own way and time.
We provide educational support and emotional comfort for the family before, during and after the transition.
During the home visit for euthanasia you can take your time in saying your goodbyes, sitting with the family and with your pet in your own home. Dr. Melissa strives to be a comforting presence during the experience. Some may wish to have a special ceremony associated with the pet's passing and that is fine. An end of life service can be a poignant time to reflect on the many happy moments you and your loved ones spent with your cherished companion.
What about aftercare - cremation, home burial and other options? Wewill assist you with the respectful handling of your pet's body after death. Options include home burial (where legally allowed) and private and mass cremation. We can transport the body to a local cremation service for private cremation and make arrangements to have the remains returned to our office or your regular veterinarian's office.
Losing a pet can be so hard - how can you help us?
The experience of losing a pet or putting your pet to sleep is emotionally difficult for many of us and almost unbearable for others. The loss can be so great, so isolating and heart breaking. When we lose a pet we all suffer some degree of heart ache and for a while at least we are all "tenderhearts" in need of support. As each of us has a unique relationship with a beloved pet so too will each of us grieve, in our own way, their passing.
We will be there for you - before, during and even after you say goodbye to your beloved pet. We hope to provide you with the support and resources you need in the process of saying goodbye and moving toward eventual grief integration.
Local counselor Katie Bachman at Durango Grief Counseling 759-9981
Suggested websites and resources for pet loss support:
What is pet hospice care? Pet hospice is a form of veterinary care designed to help bring comfort and tranquility to your pet in the final period of life. Hospice care for terminally ill dogs and cats focuses on providing comfort, not a cure. Hospice care shifts from diagnostics, aggressive curative therapies and surgery, to the use of pain relieving medications and other supportive therapies aimed specifically at providing maximum comfort. Pet hospice is based on the idea that death, like birth is a natural part of life. Pet hospice is chosen when a family decides that curative therapies (which may be stressful, painful or costly) are no longer in the best interests of their pet. With a home-based hospice approach the dying process can be experienced with dignity by the pet and the family, as the pet rests comfortably at home - with its loving family. TenderHeart provides services for end of life care only. We do not provide any diagnostic or surgical services. We can work in conjunction with your regular veterinarian or we can work directly with you on end of life care services for your pet.
Is hospice care right for my pet and my family? At home hospice care can be very rewarding but it can also be very challenging, and may not always be right for your pet and family. Sometimes a pet's condition is so serious (especially major trauma) that hospice care options are very limited and a decision may need to be made quickly to humanely euthanize a patient to prevent unnecessary suffering. Most serious emergency patients are not hospice candidates. Hospice care is generally most suitable for aged patients and for those suffering from a progressive terminal illness. Once a terminal illness has been diagnosed it is time to discuss how everyone in the family will want to proceed. In order to determine if pet hospice is right for your family you should learn who wants to help, who can dedicate time to the pet’s care, and what financial resources are available. It is also important to consider early on whether you will choose euthanasia when the time is right, or if you would like assistance during the natural dying process of the pet. We can help you with this important discussion.
When should I (we) consider hospice care? Pet owners should know that they can consider a hospice approach anytime a beloved pet might be suffering with little hope for improvement. When discussing your pet's condition with your regular veterinarian it is very important to have an open, frank and heartfelt conversation that includes hospice care and/or euthanasia as an option going forward. It is important to explore all your options as soon as possible after your companion has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or when it starts to appear to you that age or disease are progressing to a point where you feel a need to consider changing course. Remember, this is your decision. We encourage you to have this important conversation with your regular veterinarian and we stand ready to assist you and your veterinarian in end of life discussions and care.
We are considering natural death for our pet - is that possible? It can be a profound and beautiful experience to guide your pet along the transition between life and death. If you desire a natural death for your pet, advanced hospice care is critical to prevent suffering by managing pain and meeting all of the pet’s needs right up to the end. Much as we would all like natural death to come peacefully and quickly, death for pets is often neither. The level of hospice care required for humane treatment is often very involved, costly and requires great dedication from everyone in the home. Although we stand ready to support you on this path we want you to understand how difficult it might be and not feel badly if you have to choose euthanasia for your pet. Even with the very best of intentions (and initial efforts) it is often not possible for many people to continue to care for their pet through a lengthy natural death, as the degree of care giving required and the time involved may be very significant and often overwhelming.
How do we proceed? The first step is for us to meet and discuss you pet's condition as well as your concerns, needs, beliefs and desires. Usually this is done at your home. Dr. Melissa will perform a thorough physical examination and review pertinent medical records. Based on results of Dr. Melissa's professional assessment of your pet's condition and our discussions together, a customized hospice plan for your pet will be developed. If desired, she will also help you prepare for the coming transition and inherent emotional challenges. Please contact us by using the contact page on this website or call (970) 403-8877.
Hopefully you have the benefit of a trusted relationship with a local veterinarian. They are your first level of support and are invaluable in determining the medical status of your pet and helping you understand your options. Oftentimes however, it is difficult for a busy full-service veterinarian to make house calls and provide the kind of support needed for at-home end of life care. We are happy to be of assistance to you and your veterinarian.
"There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given." (S. Clothier)