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The final trip - or not?

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I don't want to take over at topic so I thought I would start a new one.

 

I just read the 2 threads "How do you say Goodbye?" and "the end is near" (sorry, not the exact titles) And I apologize if this topic is too macabre, but I have been thinking about what is the best way to say 'Goodbye'.

 

In the past, I have taken my pets into the vet when the time came. Once, the pet was already at the vet's because she was so sick. I have never liked transporting them to a place they don't like anyway (and it is particularly stressful for cats who don't normally ride in cars). As a result, I have been considering switching to a mobile vet because they could come to my house. I use 2 vets now, and I know that one will not come to my house and not sure about the other one, but have my doubts. (I will have to ask.)

 

So my question is: would you prefer to have the vet come to your house or are you OK with bringing your pet in to the vet's office? Do you think it is better from the dog's point of view and comfort to stay at home? Other input?

 

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a TV show about a police dog who of course LOVED his job - analogous to BCs loving their job. I forget if he became sick or retired, but he could no longer work - his best joy in life. When the time came to euth, his handler put on his uniform as normal and loaded the dog in the car as if he was going to work. Apparently, the dog was so happy to be going to work. And the vet visited the dog in the car.

 

This story really touched me and started me thinking about the best way (if I can phrase it that way) to arrange an exit for a dog (or cat). I agree with spoiling them towards the end. but can we make it less stressful? i.e. no trip to the vet. I really, really hate that trip.

 

I want to be prepared since I have a 12.5 year old dog, who is doing fine, and a cat of the same age who is also fine at the moment, but one never knows.

 

Hope this doesn't ruin your day, but I want to change the way I handle this situation in the future and would like to know how other people handle it.

 

Jovi

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Just my 2 cent's worth: I think it is better to have the companion animal in a place that is familiar and comfortable for him or her, and so a mobile vet is best. That having been said, I would caution anyone to be very, very careful what mobile vet you use. If you do not know the person, then make sure you get someone who is recommended by someone you trust. I did not think of that, and I did not have someone lined up ahead of time. I just got someone from the internet who was free that day and I regretted it. He arrived almost an hour late, and wasted time asking stupid questions, and handled things all wrong. I will always feel terrible about it, and about how my beloved died, and I think that a trip to the vet, even though that seemed like the worst idea, might have even been better. In the future, if I have a chance to know that it might be coming up, I will be much more careful in how I choose that person, or else I will take the animal to my vet, whom I trust.

D'Elle

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I had a vet once that would prescribed a sedative for the dog so that the dog was asleep when we would get to the vet office. The vet would then come out to the car if you would like. Hard to find a small town vet like him anymore.

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When my Brandy needed to take that final journey, I had my own vet come to my house. I held her on her blanket, in her favourite sleeping spot and she died in my arms.

 

Last year, with my Jazz, we took him to the vet's office - and although the vet was kind and gentle and I got to hold my boy, it was stressful for both of us.

 

If it's at all possible, I would have my vet come to my home rather than take the trip to the office

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My dogs LOVE going to the vet. I made sure I took them lots and lots when they were growing up, for no reason other than to see the clinic staff, and get cookies and lots of snuggly attention. My vets have always been very accommodating in that respect. The dogs have always loved going there, so when their times come, they will make one last trip to the vet clinic, and get cookies in the waiting room as usual, and a cookie from the vet when they get up on the table, also as usual, and they'll likely pass thumping their tails against the table, just they like do any other time they go to the vet.

 

The hardest bit, when I euthanized Briggs, was coming home without him. I think the other dogs were confused about where he'd gone - certainly Piper was very clingy for a week or two afterward. I do sometimes wonder if it would have been kinder to give them a chance to see he was dead. I wonder, the next time around, if I should bring the other dogs in to see their packmate is gone. I really don't know.

 

RDM

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It really depends on the pet. If they don't mind going to the vet and like car rides, I think going into an office is just fine. Ask your vet during an office visit about their house call policy. Many vets will come to the home of their clients if they know the pet isn't hard to handle. There may be an extra charge for the house call, but it is worth it to make the last moments as peaceful as possible.

 

One thing that really struck me about the whole when to PTS decision was a documentary I watched on HBO last week. (How to Die in Oregon) It was about legalized assisted suicide in Oregon. The general consensus from those who were ill was that they would rather die when they are still healthy and enjoying life than go through even a day of pain. If humans who can understand the value of more time to spend with loved ones still choose a peaceful but early death over a later but painful death, wouldn't most pets also choose that option if they could?

 

The most common regret that vets hear from clients is that they waited too long to make the decision, which resulted in their pet suffering. The moment I have a terminal diagnosis on my own pets I sit down and decide on clear guidelines about when to say goodbye. In the future I think I will let them go even sooner.

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Our dogs have always loved riding in the car, so we've been able to just drive our dogs down, then the vet comes out to the car and administers a sedative. Our dogs don't fear the vets themselves, just the office, so seeing the vet at the car was simply saying "hello," to them. Then the vet would go back inside and leave us with the dog until the sedative took affect. For the dog, it's just getting sleepy in the safe, familiar old truck.

 

Once that's done, the vet can come back out take care of the rest, without us ever getting the dog out of the vehicle. It's never easy, but for our three old girls we had to let go, over the past 2 years, that worked well. We don't have a mobile vet, so having the vet come out to the truck was a good second best.

 

~ Gloria

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Depends on the circumstance...I have done it both ways.

 

I liked having the vet come to the house. It was easier on the dog who didn't care that much for the vet, easier for me to not have to be at a strange place and deal with my grief in front of strangers, easier to allow the dogs at home to see the body and know that she didn't come back because she was dead, easier to handle her body. The vet I had at the time was a nice, nice woman and charged me $40 for the house call and euthanasia vs. the normal $25 in office fee.

 

That said, if I was already at the vet I wouldn't take him home again (what happened with Ross) and if the vet didn't make house calls I would elect the tranquilizers first route others have described.

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I think I would prefer the vet to come to our home, but she doesn't do that--however, I have a very good, kind-hearted vet, as gentle and thorough as the day is long. I have taken my pup in to the office and they made an otherwise distressful situation as comfortable as they possibly could for both of us.

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I think it depends, as many have pointed out, on how comfortable you and your pet are at home, at the vet's, or in the car at the vet's - and if the vet makes house calls for euthanasia.

 

It's always a difficult situation for you, no matter what you choose - but you need to choose what you (and your pet) will be most comfortable with. And, also, what will benefit your other animals.

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Like RDM, I work hard from the beginning to make the vet's office a good place to go, not somewhere to be scared of. I take at least one dog w/me when I run errands early in the morning so if I need to pick up HW meds, flea products, etc., I just take the dog in w/me; the dog gets a cookie and petting from the receptionist and nothing "bad" happens. As puppies, I take them in a couple times a month just to get a weight (my vet's office is really cooperative about my socializing the dogs) and again nothing bad happens. Even Rocky, who is a foster failure and who required extensive, painful treatment when rescued, now trots happily into the vet's office.

 

The point of all of this is that when the time comes, I take my dogs to the vet's office to be pts. It's a familiar environment where they know everyone and they have a painless transisition from this world to the Rainbow Bridge. The hardest part for me is calling the vet's office to schedule the euthanesia.

 

One other thing - I've never regretted euth'ing pet maybe a little earlier than absolutely necessary but one of my biggest regrets was not euth'ing a cat soon enough.

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Good to think about the where and when ahead, and my only offering would be to talk about your general leanings concerning euthanasia with your current (and hopefully, trusted) veterinarian well ahead of the time when it becomes more a current issue. I work for a small animal vet, and have friends who are also vets, if this is something I can plan for (not a Luke situation), I'd do it where they are happiest, the last one was Eve, she liked to go to work. Not hard. Calvin was really, really sick, but I took him from work to the truck, just outside, and I like to think he thought he was going home. Him I wish I had done sooner. I am trying desperately to not let them go on a day that they have very few ahead of them naturally, better a day too soon than too late. That's so hard.

 

My point was, your current vet may be perfectly used to making special house calls, taking the body with him for cremation, as is the case here more often than not, and then you might not have to contact someone new.

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Not to highjack the thread, but just to point out, that not everyone's vet is close by. My vet for two of my dogs is 75 km from home. The other vet, for Zachary, is 26 km from home and 102 km from where I work so much as I'd like their vet experience to be positive, in my case, it's easier said than done.

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Thanks to everyone for their replies.

 

I like the idea of a sedative at home to make the trip to the vet easier.

 

After reading the replies, I realized that I had transferred my negative feelings about "the final trip" to all animals, when in reality, I was upset about my experience with two of my cats last year. (One was expected as he was 20 years old, but the other was only 12 and developed congestive heart failure only 4 months after a clean annual check-up.) Cats definitely do not want to leave home, and mine wailed all the way into the vet's office. I admit, the vet and technician were very understanding, but it is still difficult.

 

I feel better about bringing my dog into the vet for euth (again, not expecting to do this since they are both in excellent health) since one dog does love the vet. So I will have to work on controlling my demeanor when it becomes necessary so as not to signal to the dog, if possible. the other dog has always been anxious regardless of the situation so a sedative may be best for her.

 

I feel better about thinking about this ahead of time.

 

Jovi

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Lucy was put to sleep at home. I think that was the best for her...I was at work and she had gotten much worse that day. I didn't make her wait for me. For her, being at home was the right thing, but I'm glad I wasn't around to see it.

 

Matty liked going to the vet. When it was time to say good bye to her, she really perked up about going for a car ride and going into the vet, which made it harder for me but it was nice knowing she was still happy. Our vet has a special room where (if the owner chooses to stay with the pet) they can dim the lights and they have one of those fake fireplaces. All this is for the humans of course, but I have to say it did help me relax a bit and made things a bit easier.

 

I couldn't imagine coming home without my best friend...we always bring them home and bury them in the yard.

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I wish my vet made house calls! I am about to make this trip, and while I don't mind so much about strangers seeing me in tears (they are, after all, fellow pet people and understand the value of a much-loved animal) I do not want to make that trip home alone, with Whisper in a box.

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Seeing as I'm friends with my vets (fellow agility competitor), I am fairly certain that if I requested it to be done at my house, I could have it done that way. To be honest, I've never thought about it. It's one of those things I tend to live in denial about.

 

I have such great respect for those who are able to make this decision at times where the animal is not in crisis. To date, the only animal I have had to make this decision for was my old horse. He became very ill one morning and in a matter of hours it was obvious what the choice had to be (he was 28 and surgery was not recommended).

 

I hope I have the strength when it comes time to make the decision for my dogs. I have always felt that my dad waited too long with his last two dogs. As many have said on this thread, I feel it is better to let them go before they are extremely ill or in pain -- But it's easier said than done. :(

 

I'm not worried about crying in front of my vets. Believe me, they've seen it already. :) I don't cry much in life, but I'm a huge baby about my animals.

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I have only had to make to make this decision once, my old lady had been going strong for a big dog approaching 15. One day she got up and did not eat, we went out to her favorite place for a walk and she just lay down, my husband picked her up and put her in the truck. She never walked again we carried her in the house and put her on her bed, it was after office hours and she did not appear to be in any pain, just done with living. We both rather hoped that she would pass that night but being a tough old bird she was still with us. We certainly did not want to go the the E-vet and be in a strange stressful place with strange people.

My husband many years ago had watched part of a documentary that has stayed with him, one moment someone was rubbing a cute mutts nose ( this was before we were married and well before we could have a dog due to our gypsy lifestyle, but we really wanted one) and the next there was shot of a stainless examining table and out came a needle, next shot was the dog being thrown in a dumpster pilled with dogs. He has always vowed that his dogs would never die on a table, so when we got to the vets I asked if they would come out to the truck, they were happy to oblige, Jester had always loved the trucks, maybe a good walk was coming. We also took Brody with us, so we would not come home with out her and there would be no mystery.

Although our vet is less than 20 miles away in Rhode Island that is an eternity so a house call was out of the question, I do not think they often go out to a car, but my vet was happy to to accomadate our request.

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