Our Services: Euthanasia at Home, Disposition, and Memorialization of Your Pet

Dr. Ann Brandenburg-Schroeder, whose veterinary practice Beside Still Water exclusively offers help when your pet is dying, will come to your home for your pet’s euthanasia. From your first phone call with her you will receive information, support and assistance in making difficult decisions and arrangements pertaining to death, disposition and memorializing your beloved companion animal. With you she will explore the unique circumstances of your pet’s situation.

If the time is at hand, an appointment can be set for her to assist you in providing a peaceful death—euthanasia —for your animal in your home where the pet feels safe and comfortable. She will discuss options for disposition, the care of the body after death. She can make suggestions for memorializing, reminding you of steps that may need to be taken prior to death. If the time of death is not imminent, she may suggest hospice/interim palliative and supportive comfort care or pain management and make appropriate referrals to those who can help.


Euthanasia: What is it and how is it different at home?

Euthanasia means peaceful death and is sometimes referred to as “putting an animal to sleep” or “putting an animal down”. There is an element of truth in these euphemisms in that the drugs we employ to assist an animal to die are anesthetic agents, ultimately given as an overdose leading to a coma in which death comes peacefully after first having alleviated pain, caused relaxation and sedation before inducing a deep anesthetic sleep.

The precise drugs that are chosen and the route by which they are given will depend on many variables such as species and size, condition of health, temperament, other drugs the pet may be taking, and so on. The choice is made after learning particulars about your pet from you. Dr. ABS will always keep you apprised of what you might expect at every step, with each injection when more than one is given. Remember that the goal is for everyone, persons and fur-persons alike, to be at ease.

Euthanasia at home allows us to employ drugs specially suited to the needs of our patients in their own environment. It is possible that more or different injections may be used in the home setting than in a clinic. At home we like to use as little restraint as is necessary. Adequate time is allowed for each phase of the process to flow gently into the next. Planning at least an hour for the appointment will allow time for your pet to meet somebody new, for us to do a little paperwork, and for each drug to have maximal effect. If you wish more time with your pet during the visit, you will not be rushed. We have planned our schedule accordingly.

You may choose to be present at all times or to excuse yourself at any time you wish. We recommend that other pets in the family be given the option to join us, being free to take their leave or stay as they choose. Just as the animal who is dying knows it, so his companions sense it too. Animals grieve for their lost companions. Recognizing that the spirit of their compadre is no longer in that body seems to help them begin their grieving process.

What is most different about euthanasia in the home is the relaxed setting for a very private and intimate time in your lives together. You should feel free to include anyone who you or your pet wishes to have present. Children can be included in any way that seems appropriate for their age and maturity, subject ultimately to your judgment.


Disposition: What are the choices?

Disposition refers to care of the body after death. Whatever choice you make, you can be assured that your animal will be handled gently, respectfully, and honestly. All your wishes and requests will be honored.

Burial and cremation are the two basic options for disposition. Burial can be private or at a pet cemetery. Burial at landfill is not an option offered by Beside Still Water.

We provide referrals to area pet cemeteries with whom you can make your own arrangements. Questions regarding private burial should be directed to your municipality, county, or homeowners’ association. Private burial sites must always be safe from disturbance by other animals with at least two feet of earth over the body, and be well away from water and buried lines. A burial box or casket is recommended. We have a selection of burial boxes. Caskets are available through cemeteries and crematories. We are happy to provide referrals for both.

Cremation can be communal or private. Communal refers to several animals cremated simultaneously; commingling of their cremains precludes their return to individual owners. Private (or individual) cremation signifies that each animal is kept separate during the cremation and processing so that the cremains you receive are those of your animal, all of your animal, and only your animal. Cremains can be returned simply in a box if they are to be scattered or buried. You may provide an urn you have purchased in advance or select one from the crematory. Your presence at cremation is welcome at several area crematories if scheduled in advance.

We can assist you in making these arrangements in various ways:

  • Dr. ABS can carry the pet to the crematory making the arrangements for the cremation and the return of cremains. This service is available whenever the appointment for services occurs including evenings and weekends. This can be coordinated with prearrangement for your attendance at cremation on a later day.
  • You may deal directly with the crematory and carry the pet there at your convenience or arrange with them to have the pet picked up; this service is usually available during regular business hours. We can provide you with referrals to several area crematories.   

The body has been the faithful home for a beautiful spirit all the years of the life. Whatever your choice, humble or elaborate, for the care of your pet’s body, it will be handled with respect and dignity befitting the one who lived there.


Memorializing: What is the best way to revere this special life?

The remembrance a life is as unique as the life and the deep bond you have shared. If possible we like to help you think about this in advance. You may want to arrange for pictures, take a last trip, a walk to a special place, visit with old friends, have a special dinner, or think what you might send along to the crematory or cemetery.

Here are some ideas from people we have assisted with their loved ones.

  • Tie up a lock of hair (we always bring ribbons)
  • Take a paw print (we have Sculpey but you may want to cast a garden paver)
  • Keep some of those whiskers that tickled you awake
  • Make a shadow box with toys and collar
  • Make a pillow from neckerchiefs stuffed with fur
  • Have a stone or plaque inscribed for the garden
  • Plant flowers or bulbs that will bloom on the anniversary
  • Donate food or belongings to a shelter
  • Contribute to an appropriate animal cause (Suggestions are MAF, DDFL, Argus Institute)
  • Draw or paint a picture
  • Write a letter, a story or a poem
  • Share your precious stories, especially the ones that make you smile

Call Us If You Have Need.
303 237 0817