As a pet parent, the hardest thing you have to do is say goodbye to your beloved friend and family member. It is hard to know what to do and when it is time.

We understand. We have lost our pets, too. We believe it is loving and responsible—our duty as pet parents—to make end-of-life care as painless as possible, and death as peaceful as we can.

When the time comes, we are here to help you and your pet. We know you have questions and difficult decisions to make. We will help you know what to do medically to provide the best end-of-life care. We are here to help you make the best decisions.

End-of-life care is important. Our goal is to ease your concerns and, above all, keep your pet from pain and suffering.

Hospice Care: Keeping Your Pet Comfortable

There are times a pet is diagnosed with a terminal illness but not yet ready to leave this world. As in human medicine, this is called hospice care.

The hospice stage is difficult for pet parents. You are confronting a terminal diagnosis, starting to grieve the inevitable loss of your pet, and anxiously wondering what to do. This is when good hospice care makes an incredible difference.

The first priority of hospice care is to keep your pet as comfortable and pain-free as possible. We can recommend a variety of effective pain management options, including medications to lessen discomfort, ease nausea, stimulate appetite, and calm sick pets. Sometimes we can even prescribe medications for current patients without a vet visit to avoid any additional stress on your pet.

Our veterinarians and vet nurses are always available to discuss your pet’s comfort level and thoroughly address your concerns. We will listen, and help you make good decisions about your pet’s quality of life.

Quality of Life: Considering a Good Death

We give our pets a good life because we love them. The last loving thing we can give our pets is a good death.

We never want our pets to suffer.  Still, making the final end-of-life decision is hard.

At Animal Hospital at Brier Creek, we love you and your pet like family. We understand death is hard to talk about and even harder to face. We believe talking about it helps you make the best decision for your pet at the right time.

It helps our pet parents to discuss quality of life. You know your pet best. When it is time, your AHBC veterinarian will talk to you about quality of life and euthanasia in person and/or over the phone.

We have helped many AHBC pet parents say goodbye to their pets, some of whom we have known their entire lives. AHBC team members have said goodbye to our pets under many difficult and different circumstances. We can help you prepare for euthanasia, and we have resources to help you through the grieving process.

When It Is Time: The Euthanasia Process

Remember: You have made this decision because it is the best thing for your pet. When it is time, we will help you say goodbye peacefully.

Before a pet presents for euthanasia, we set up our special Comfort Room. The Comfort Room is quiet. It has plenty of tissues, water, blankets: anything you and your pet need. You can take as much time as you need in the Comfort Room, and stay as long as you like.

When a pet presents for euthanasia, a pet parent must sign certain legal forms and offer payment. We do this first as a matter of legal record and to avoid the trauma of doing it later.

Euthanasia is a peaceful process. Your vet will administer a sedative injection to calm your pet. In certain circumstances, we will insert an IV catheter into your pet’s arm or leg for more direct access to a vein.

The sedative, administered either under the skin or through the IV catheter, will make your pet sleepy, comfortable, and relaxed. At this point, your pet will be sedated. Your pet will likely not respond to verbal cues or touch, but your pet is not in any pain and will know you are there.

Your vet will then administer the euthanasia solution in a vein, causing the heart to stop beating. This is painless and gentle. Once your pet is gone, we will close the eyes if you like, as natural reflexes keep the eyes open.  

You may spend as much time as as you want with your pet both before and after the euthanasia. You may leave AHBC through the side door if you like, to avoid having to leave through the lobby.

We always send home literature on coping with the loss of a pet, as well as a list of books and websites to help you process your grief and start to heal.  

We offer private cremation and burial services through Faithful Friends Pet Cremation Services. If you like, we will make a clay paw print and frame a hair clipping with the “Rainbow Bridge” poem.

‘Rainbow Bridge’ Poem

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends, so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.

Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They are run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together…