Behind the Scenes at Tranquility Veterinary Services

Uncertainty feels horrible. We humans hate not knowing something. Pet euthanasia is a landmine of uncertainty. How do I know if it's time? Should my kids be present? Do I want my pet's ashes returned? Should we do it at home or with our pet's regular veterinarian? What will the process be like? 

I can't make these decisions for you, but I can help make it a less scary process. Today we're taking a "behind the scenes" look at what an in-home euthanasia visit is like, so you can be more prepared for your appointment, or can use this information to decide if an in-home euthanasia makes sense for your family. 

 Some of the contents from my medical bag: At the top, I have alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, my tackle box of medical supplies, a headlamp in case the lights are too low for me to see you pet's veins, a soft e-collar for feisty cats or dogs (I also have a full set of muzzles in the car if needed. Thankfully I rarely need these), needles and syringes, clippers, pee pads, a stethoscope, information about specialty urns if desired, consent forms, and material to make a clay paw impression.  

Some of the contents from my medical bag: At the top, I have alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, my tackle box of medical supplies, a headlamp in case the lights are too low for me to see you pet's veins, a soft e-collar for feisty cats or dogs (I also have a full set of muzzles in the car if needed. Thankfully I rarely need these), needles and syringes, clippers, pee pads, a stethoscope, information about specialty urns if desired, consent forms, and material to make a clay paw impression.  

Appointments can be scheduled online or by phone. The online schedule does not have all the possible appointments in it, so definitely call if you're looking for another time. On the phone, I'll ask you for a bit of background on your pet, get your contact information, talk to you about cremation options, and answer any questions you might have. I'll give you a total cost for the appointment, so you can write a check ahead of time if you choose. Some families prefer to get that out of the way so we're not fussing with a credit card reader during your appointment. 

At the time of your appointment, I will arrive at your home with a medical bag, but no white doctor's coat because it makes most pets nervous. Before starting, we'll complete paperwork, collect payment for services, and go over details of the process to you know what to expect.

Next, your pet will be given a sedative injection to put them in a dream-like state of semi- or unconsciousness. This first injection may burn or sting slightly but results in much decreased pain and anxiety very quickly. Once your pet is fully sedated, and you are ready, the final medications as another injection. The final medications take your pet from a state of being unconscious to a very deep state of anesthesia which results in the brain function completely stopping and death.

 Transportation: This is my hatchback with the seats down for a larger dog. A stretcher will be used for pets over about 30 pounds. I am able to move dogs on my own with this because it has wheels on one side, but is easier with two people. For smaller pets, the back seats may be up, making a cozy area for blankets and the basket.

Transportation: This is my hatchback with the seats down for a larger dog. A stretcher will be used for pets over about 30 pounds. I am able to move dogs on my own with this because it has wheels on one side, but is easier with two people. For smaller pets, the back seats may be up, making a cozy area for blankets and the basket.

 From left to right: Medical bag, basket for transportation of cats and smaller dogs, some of the blankets used for covering pets during transportation

From left to right: Medical bag, basket for transportation of cats and smaller dogs, some of the blankets used for covering pets during transportation

After your pet has passed, I will give you whenever time and space you need to say your final goodbyes. When you are ready, I will transport your pet for aftercare using a basket or stretcher (pictures above). Your assistance will be requested for larger pets, although the stretcher has wheels and I can use it alone if needed.

After your appointment, I will call your veterinarian to let them know that your pet has passed away, so you don't receive annual reminders. If you're having you pet's ashes returned, the ashes will be delivered by the USPS within about a week. An adult must be present to sign for the package, so sometimes we ship to an office address instead.

It's normal to feel overwhelmed and uncertain right now.  I hope this helps remove some of the unknown as you're making decisions and dealing with a difficult time. If you have questions about parts of the process or appointment that I didn't address, give me a call or send me an email and I would be happy to chat with you.

Clare Rathjens