As pets get older, the human-animal bond often becomes stronger. Many books, articles and even cards describe the love and devotion that animal companions have for their owners, but sometimes overlook the dedication that pet owners have for their animal family members. We at Deepwood are committed to the highest standard of dignified, compassionate treatment and end of life palliative care for pets with severe chronic and terminal conditions.
We recognize that saying goodbye to a beloved pet and family member is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, and will strive to support you in every step of the process. As part of a thorough consultation, our veterinarians will address your beliefs, needs and goals for your pet, while answering any conditions that we can about your pet’s condition. We will work with you to develop a comprehensive individualized care plan to address your pet’s palliative care needs with regards to comfort and pain management (including wound care), nutritional and hydration needs, mobility support, and end-of-life.
If you are in need of guidance in evaluating your pet’s quality of life, please do not hesitate to ask for help. We also recommend these charts designed by Dr. Alice Villalobos of Pawspice, a pet oncology and hospice care group:
At Deepwood, we recognize that deciding to humanely euthanize a pet is an extremely difficult decision, fraught with grief and emotional difficulty. We will do our utmost to provide you with as much information as we can about your pet’s health and potential treatment options (be they palliative or otherwise), so that you can rest assured knowing that you are making an informed choice. We will provide both you and your pet with support and comfort, to make your remaining time together as peaceful as possible. When the time comes to say farewell, we will provide you and your pet with a quiet, private place to say your goodbyes, and if you would like to be with your pet as they pass, we will facilitate that as well.
After euthaniasia, owners may take their pet home with them for burial, or can opt for cremation. We also make available a clay pawprint of your pet if you so choose.
We know that the wounds left behind by a pet’s passing can take a long time to heal, and grief is different for everyone. If you are grieving for a pet, whether the loss is recent or long ago, please let us know if we can help. We also hope that the following resources will be of aid to you:
- Pet Support Meetings at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter
- The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
- Tufts Veterinary School Pet Loss Support Hotline (free of charge)
- Penn Vet Grief Support Hotline (free of charge)
- People, Animals, Love Pet Loss Hotline (free of charge)
- Pet Grief & Pet Love
- Pet Loss Grief Support