The novel coronavirus has disrupted all our lives in many ways and it can add an extra layer of worry for anyone who is contemplating the impending loss of a beloved friend and family member. My goal has always been to provide the most gentle, loving, supported death possible, to allow pets to remain in their safe space while also preserving their connection to the people they trust most in the world. We can stay true to that goal, if together we decide on a workable plan ahead of time. We can preserve that sense of being fully-present for your pet, while also doing our part to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Location, ventilation, proximity and masking are all part of the plan.
Location is important because first and foremost we want your pet to feel comfortable and safe and we want you to be comfortable at their side. However, where possible we should choose the location which provides the best possible ventilation, or do what we can to enhance the ventilation. (When the ventilation is excellent we will not need to be as reliant on masking and distancing.) Outdoor appointments make this simple. For indoor appointments it helps if we can improve the ventilation by cracking open a window or door.
Masking is important because we will be spending some time in proximity. I need to be beside your pet to do my work, and you likely wish to be close to your pet, to give comfort and to receive comfort. If we are outside there may be a brief moment when we both need to be beside your pet at the same time, and for that moment we will both need to wear masks. Once I step back you can remove your mask and your pet will again be able to see your familiar face. If we are inside I will wear my mask at all times but, depending on the ventilation, there may be an opportunity for you to remove your mask if you wish once I have delivered the sedative, so your pet can see your face while they gradually relax and fall asleep. Once your pet will no longer notice I will ask you to replace your mask.
Getting this right involves some advance planning and collaboration. Our plan should take into account your wishes, your pet’s personality, your pet’s condition, the various settings available to us, your wishes for after care etc. The more I understand, the better I can help you. The more you understand, about what is possible and about what to expect, the better you can let go of worry, leave the details to me, and be a source of comfort for your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are appointments available?
Appointments are available from Monday through Friday.
What is your availability?
My availability depends on the number of prior bookings for other pets so it is generally best to book a few days in advance.
How do I book an appointment?
To request an appointment please submit a contact form (below). Then I will contact you.
When can I expect to hear from you?
During the workday I am usually already busy helping other pets but I will email you during a break or at the end of the day to learn about your wishes with respect to day and time, and to arrange a time for a phone call. A 15 minute telephone consultation is included at no additional fee as part of the intake process when booking an appointment for Veterinary Aid-in-Dying.
What is the cost of your service?
There is one fee for veterinary aid-in dying anywhere within a 30 minute drive of Kingston, from Napanee to Gananoque and north to Sydenham/Inverary/Battersea. The fee is $475 + HST. Outside of this travel zone, there is a travel fee calculated at $240/hr.
If you wish for after-care, I am able to make all arrangements for cremation. The fee will depend on your pet’s body weight and whether or not you wish to have their ashes returned to you.
Do you ever make same day appointments?
I book my appointments in advance and am usually booked at least a couple of days in advance. I also need time to gather information, answer questions and concerns, and discuss a plan to meet your pet’s individual needs if I am to do my best for you and your pet. For these reasons, I rarely book same day appointments. The exception would be if I am already familiar with the pet and the circumstances and you are already familiar with the service that I offer.
Do you ever make emergency appointments for existing clients?
I can not promise to be available if your pet’s condition suddenly changes and they are in need of immediate assistance however, for clients who have already had a detailed discussion with me about their pet’s situation (either through a quality of life consultation or as part of pre-booking an appointment for Veterinary aid-in-dying) if you reach out to me by email (and I see it in time) I will let you know if there is any way I can help.
What to expect at the appointment
If your pet is a dog
The goal is for this to be a serene and peaceful time for your dog, while they drift away in their safe space, feeling comfortable and connected to you. I will first give them a sedative so I can be certain that nothing I do will worry them – like touching a paw or turning on clippers. This is in the form of a tiny needle in the loose skin over their shoulders. It is much like getting a vaccine only with an even tinier needle. Often we can use a super-yummy treat to distract them so they don’t even notice the needle. It will be reassuring for your dog if you are at their head petting them or offering a treat while I briefly step in to give the sedative.
I will then step back and you can sit with your dog while the sedative takes effect – usually about 5 to 10 minutes. After your dog has fallen asleep, is no longer trying to follow you with their eyes, I will again step in and prepare to administer the euthanasia solution. At any point if your dog seems aware of anything I am doing we will pause and let them get deeper with the sedative. Every dog gets whatever time they need so they are completely at peace.
If your pet is a cat
My chosen technique works beautifully for cats who feel safe in their person’s arms or for cats who are comfortable being gently hugged to your chest for about 5 seconds while I give them a needle. (I will send you a picture illustrating the best position for holding your cat.) When a cat feels safe being held like this they almost never even notice the needle and as they gradually absorb the medication they will slowly drift away in the comfort of your arms, or on your lap, or in their chosen bed. I will explain more about this technique and what to expect during our phone call.
Preparing for the appointment
Step 1: Please fill in the contact form if you wish to initiate the process. But before you start please consider one thing – how urgent is your pet’s need? If your pet needs immediate relief from pain or distress then finding immediate relief is the greatest kindness. Please don’t wait for a home visit if your pet needs help now. It may be a few days before I can be of service.
Step 2: I will contact you to schedule a fifteen minute telephone call to gather additional relevant information. Together we can determine if the service I am able to offer at this time is an acceptable option for your pet and your family.
Step 3: Handle all paperwork in advance.
i) I will send you an authorisation form for Veterinary aid-in-dying. I will require you to confirm via email that you have read the form and that you are authorising me to proceed on the specified date.
ii) If you are requesting private cremation with your pet’s ashes returned I will ask you to choose an urn in advance at www.gatewaypetmemorial.com and inform me of your choice.
iii) I will send you an invoice in advance of our scheduled appointment with all the information you need to pay by e-transfer. I can also take cash or a cheque at the actual appointment if that is easier for you.