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.
Ideally we will have a chance to speak on the phone so I have a clear picture of the sort of help that is needed, and so I can answer any questions you may have. However, coordinating times to talk can be tricky, so email can serve as a good introductory step, or allow us to arrange a mutually good time to talk. You can leave me a message at any time, even in the middle of the night. I am not an emergency service so my phone ringer is not on and you will not wake me, but if I see your message first thing in the morning I can try to reach you before I begin my day. If you do leave me a voicemail message during the day I may not have the opportunity to call you back until I have finished my appointments. Therefore I may not have a chance to reach you by phone until that evening or the next morning. Email can help here too. Providing me with your email address means that even if I am not able to talk right away I have the option to send a quick email back and let you know my availability to talk later. We may sometimes use this opportunity to answer preliminary questions or start the conversation about what appointment times I have available in the coming days.