End of Life Planning
End of Life
The end of a pet’s life is a sad and difficult time. We recognize that the final moments in the clinic are not the easiest time to make final plans for your pet. We are providing this section for our clients to be able to, in their own homes and on their own time schedule, explore options and gather information on the process of euthanasia and the events which surround it. We welcome any and all questions in person, over the phone or by email as well.
Download: Planning for your appointment
What is the Process?
The process begins by scheduling a specific time for euthanasia. This allows the family and our staff adequate space and time with the pet, without needing to wait or be rushed. Upon arrival, the family and pet are ushered immediately into a private room, where a comfortable hand made fleece blanket or soft pad is available for the pet to rest upon. A team member will assist in preparing a brief form with signature consent for euthanasia. At this time, the option for what to do with the pet following the euthanasia must be decided (see below for more details). Next, certified veterinary technicians will place an IV catheter into the pet’s vein, usually in a front leg. The doctor will then come into the room, and give a gentle injection of medication into the IV to cause the end of life. The doctor will verify that the pet has passed with a stethoscope. Before the doctor gives the injection, as well as after death has occurred, families are given any time desired to be with the pet. When the family is ready to depart, the clinic team will escort them from the room. We then keep the pet at our clinic until our own cremation service picks up, or we respectfully prepare the body for being taken home discreetly. We are available whenever needed for future support or help for the family in the grieving process. We encourage families to discuss any individual needs or unique requests or situations regarding the process of euthanasia with our team. Our goal is to make this as easy a time as possible, so let us know how we can help.
We do offer housecall (in-home) euthanasia for our existing clients. This is scheduled individually.
How do we cope with or recognize the signs of grieving in myself, my family or my other pets?
The grief process is different for every family. Keep in mind that other pets in the household will also go through a grieving process. Signs of this may be increased or decreased social interaction, lack of appetite, or lethargy. Please let us know if your family or other pets need any assistance. We do offer a selection of books on pet loss that families may keep. Some books are geared for children, and others for adults or families as a whole.
What about my pet’s remains?
Deciding what to do with a pet’s remains is one of the most personal decisions a family must make. The most commonly selected option is cremation. We have a cooperatively owned dedicated animal cremation service that has years of experience and dedication. Pets are kept in our clinic until the service picks them up. Families can choose to have their pet’s ashes returned to them, or not returned to them. A rigorous and respectful tracking process is used with each pet, to ensure the integrity of the cremation and ash handling. Families can pick up the pet’s ashes at our clinic, usually one or two weeks following the euthanasia. A certificate accompanies each pet’s ashes. Standard individual pet cremation includes the ashes being returned in a sturdy cardboard box. A wide variety of pet urns is also available to choose from. Today’s pet urns range from traditional styles, to photo urns, to urns that mimic rocks that can be kept in a garden or yard. Please check our link to view urn choices.
We do offer several other ways to commemorate beloved pets. We provide clipped locks of fur and clay pawprints for families who desire this. Families must bake the clay paw prints at home to create a forever memory. Our team at South Hyland consists of those who love and dedicate their careers to pets. As such, we have all been through the process of euthanasia with our own pets at one time or another. Please know that you are in the company of kindred spirits in this difficult time. We are honored to be allowed to guide your family and provide the important final care of euthanasia.
Are there Pet Loss and Grief Support Groups?
Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service and Blue Pearl Veterinary Referral Center now offer a support group for individuals grieving the loss of a companion animal. Dealing with the loss of a beloved animal companion is difficult and often overwhelming. This group exists to offer a safe and confidential environment for you to share your story and connect with others who understand your loss. The group meets twice per month on the first Tuesday and third Thursday. Tuesday groups are held in Eden Prairie and Thursday groups in Blaine. The group begins promptly at 7:00 pm and concludes at 8:00 pm. Group sessions are offered free of charge. The group is facilitate by Rena Ledin, MSW, LGSW. Rena is a licensed Social Worker with a special interest in the human-animal bond. Rena has experience facilitating support groups and facilitating counseling sessions with individuals grieving the loss of their companion animal. For further information or to RSVP, please contact Kym at 952-746-5752.