Bereavement and Euthanasia
Deciding that it is time to say goodbye to your much loved pet is never easy. Once that decision has been made, it is important that it is achieved in the kindest and most peaceful way possible for all involved.
We can perform euthanasia either in the comfort of your own home or in our special Blue Room – a quiet, non-clinical room providing all the comforts and privacy of home, along with the medical support of the surgery. There you can spend as long as you like with your pet before, during and after euthanasia.
If your pet is being put to sleep at the practice, on arrival you will be shown to the Blue Room so that you do not have to wait in reception. There will be a nice comfy bed for your pet and chairs for you, or they can sit on your knee or wherever they feel most comfortable.
The vet will explain the procedure to you and ask you to sign a consent form. In most cases we like to give a sedative injection so that your pet gradually falls asleep over 5-10 minutes. The calmness of the blue room atmosphere is felt by your pet, who is likely to find the situation much less threatening and intimidating than being in a consult room. Some people prefer to leave once their pet has fallen asleep; others prefer to stay with them. Once your pet is sleepy we give a second injection of anaesthetic. Most pets are already asleep by this point and do not notice the injection.
With smaller pets and chickens, it is more usual to use a small amount of gas anaesthetic before administering the injection. This makes the euthanasia much less stressful for them.
After your pet has been put to sleep, you may stay as long as you wish. If you would like someone with you as company, then that is fine. If you wish to be on your own, that is also fine. You leave when you are ready, without having to face a room full of people.
We are very flexible in our approach and we can personalise everything according to your wishes. You may not wish to stop with your pet whilst the injection is administered, or you may simply want to leave your pet with us. It is always your decision.
What about afterwards?
There are options once your pet has been put to sleep.
Whilst some people prefer to bury their pet at home, the majority of our clients choose to have their pet cremated with the ashes scattered at the crematorium. We also offer individual cremation, with the return of your pet’s ashes. There are a wide variety of options for caskets and memorial items for ashes including traditional or carved caskets, urns, scatter boxes/tubes, photo frames, jewellery, pebbles, or an ornamental dog, cat or rabbit. We primarily use the services of Pet Cremation Services (www.pcsonline.org.uk) , although we also on occasion also use Sleepy Meadow who are based in Sandbach, and Green Pastures who are based in Uttoxeter if that is your preference. We can assure you that when a pet is cremated individually it is their ashes that are returned.
If your pet is euthanised at home we will be able to bring your pet back to the practice with us if that is what you would like.
If your pet dies at home we can arrange cremation for you, either by you bringing your pet to us or by arranging collection from your house by the crematorium staff. We can also give you details for the crematorium if you would like to take them there yourself.
In the Blue House grounds we also have our Garden of Remembrance, allowing a space for quiet contemplation of our beloved pets, and of the pleasures they have brought us.
Making the decision
When is the time right – how do I know?
One thing which always creates emotional dilemmas for pet owners is knowing whether or not ‘the time has come’, particularly when a pet’s decline is gradual. We will always try and help you make the right decision at the right time, and appreciate that there may be many considerations involved in making that decision. Your pet’s quality of life and prognosis will always be at the forefront of our advice but other factors will of course also need to be considered. These can include your own physical and mental health, financial factors, your pet’s continence (or otherwise) and family problems.
The situation in every family is unique, and this is why we are always happy to spend time with you talking through any issues that are of concern.
We do understand that different people have different views, and we will always respect these.
We are always available to talk to you both before and after having to make this difficult decision to say goodbye to a much loved pet.
Some people may find it useful to look at the website www.theralphsite.com, which is a not-for-profit website that provides support to pet owners before and after the loss of a beloved companion. Another site is www.compassionunderstood.com, a site written by veterinary professionals and pet loss experts.
If you wish to talk to someone independent then The Blue Cross charity runs a Pet Bereavement Support Service which can be contacted on 0800 096 6606 (UK and Northern Ireland). The support line is open from 8.30am - 8.30pm every day. All calls are free and confidential from a UK landline. If calling from a mobile phone, some phone networks may charge. Alternatively you can also email the Pet Bereavement Support Service on firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are certain circumstances where a post mortem may be desired or advisable. A post mortem can’t always determine the cause of death, but it can be useful. This is especially the case with multi-pet situations - such as is often the case with chickens - where knowing the cause of illness could save the rest of the group. If you would like a post mortem then please ask at the time of euthanasia. Your pet’s body will be treated respectfully before being cremated according to your wishes. We would never consider doing this without full owner consent.
Donating your pet to science
Should you wish your pet's body to 'go to science' we are always grateful, as it enables us to practice complex surgical techniques, or to teach skills to veterinary and nursing students. Any pets used in this manner will always be handled very respectfully, before being cremated. We would never consider doing this without owner consent.