End of Life Services
Our pets remind us that time is limited, but love is not; losing a pet can, for many people, be as traumatic as losing a human family member. Our animal companions become family members, and we often form deep and lasting bonds with them. It’s natural to have feelings of grief, depression, anger, or guilt, and it can take time to get through them. Please remember that there is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed by whatever you’re experiencing; it is all part of the grieving process that everyone goes through, and the experience varies for each person.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME
Deciding to euthanize your companion animal may be one of the most difficult decisions you ever make. Often, well-loved pets are euthanized to minimize unnecessary suffering. The quality of animals’ lives is defined by their overall physical and mental well-being, not just one aspect of their lives. The chart below attempts to consider all aspects of your pet’s life. It is important to remember that all pets are different. What may be considered a poor quality of life for one may be different for another. Higher numbers on this chart equal a better quality of life.
This chart may help you to better visualize the general well-being of your pet. In some cases, even one item on the left-hand side of the chart (for example: pain) may indicate a poor quality of life, even if many of the other items are still positive. Some items or symptoms on the list may be expected side effects of the treatments that your pet is undergoing. It is important to discuss these symptoms and side effects with your veterinarian.
Many people have questions about what happens when you euthanize a pet. Our veterinarians and support staff will do everything we can to help ease you, your family, and your beloved pet through this difficult time. When you arrive for your appointment, one of our staff members will escort you to our Comfort Room, and will review the euthanasia authorization form with you. Your veterinarian will meet with you in the Comfort Room to confirm your wishes, and will answer any questions you may have before proceeding with euthanasia. We encourage and welcome you and your family to stay with your pet during the procedure, but if you feel unable to do so for any reason, you may leave at this time.
The actual process of euthanasia is dependent on each individual pet and their current physical condition. We will sometimes place an intravenous catheter in your pet’s leg prior to giving the euthanasia injection; catheter placement will be done by one of our veterinary technicians, on a treatment table outside the Comfort Room. We will bring your pet back to the Comfort Room after the catheter is in place. If your pet’s veterinarian determines that an IV catheter is not necessary, we will just give a single injection.
The injection used is a medication specifically for euthanasia, and causes your pet to “fall asleep” relatively quickly. Shortly thereafter, the heart and breathing will stop. The entire process typically only takes a few seconds, but again, this may vary somewhat depending on the condition of the patient. The veterinarian will then use a stethoscope to confirm that the animal has passed. Afterwards, you may wish to spend a few more minutes alone with your pet.
We will make a clay impression of your pet's paw print for you as a special remembrance.
We use Butler Funeral Homes for our cremation services. What are your options?
Private Cremation – Your pet will be placed in the cremation chamber individually and with no other companion animals. The cremated remains will then be returned to you in a temporary container or permanent container of your choice. The remains are yours to keep and cherish.
Communal Cremation – Your pet will be placed in the cremation chamber with several pets. Cremated remains will not be given to the owner. Following communal cremation, dignified disposition will take place at a local, privately owned site.
PET LOSS SUPPORT
While dealing with grief is a very personal process – one that everyone handles differently – that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. The Companion Animal Related Emotions (CARE) Pet Loss Helpline is a confidential telephone service offered through the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. People who are either grieving the loss of a companion animal or are anticipating a loss are encouraged to call. If you need a compassionate, understanding person to talk to, we are here to listen and to support you.
They accept calls from 1 to 6 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You may call at any time and leave a message, and your call will be returned as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.