One thing I hear, especially from older clients, is that they had a euthanasia that didn't go very smoothly 30 years ago. In my euthanasia appointments, I have the opportunity to explain we're using different medications now and it's a different process than it was back then. It can be really powerful and almost healing to reframe their experience of saying goodbye to a pet.
Before I did in-home euthanasia, I would routinely take the pet to the treatment area to place the IV. But one of the things that I learned in mobile practice is that physically keeping the pet and the owner together is so important for the pet owner. Now even in the clinic setting, I rarely separate the pet from the owner.
I’ll either go in by myself and place an IV or I'll have a technician come with me and we'll do it together. It involves getting in some creative positions and tight spaces. It's something a lot of us probably wouldn't be comfortable with right off the bat but it's not rocket science! It is something everybody can learn with practice. For some owners that makes a huge difference to have the pet physically there. Sure, it can be a little awkward sometimes, but I wouldn't dream of separating them.
Making the euthanasia appointment as good as it possibly can be, whether that's by giving the client our full attention or turning the lights off in the surrounding areas so that they have a little bit of peace and quiet. Just saying the pet's name or putting your hand on their shoulder, whatever it is, doing whatever we can to help that person through what might be one of the hardest days of their life is something many of us were not trained to do. But we’re in this profession because we want to help animals and help people and this is a way that we really can do that.
—Veterinarian, splits time between veterinary clinic and mobile euthanasia practice in Virginia, in practice 10 years