Messages of Gratitude
I don’t have enough superlative words to describe our experience with Dr. Sondra Elson last Thursday morning as she helped our 91/2 year old male Bouvier Des Flanders named Bentley across the bridge. I found Compassionate Heart online and from the first call to lovingly placing his remains in her car Dr.Elson was the best. Our other euthanasias have been beautifully handled but having this one with Sondra at home was above and beyond any of the others. If you have a question she will answer it for you and she prepares you for any eventuality occurring in the process. We could not be more pleased or more grateful. And at the end she so gently wrapped our boy in a snuggly towel tucking him in so lovingly before we carefully placed him in her vehicle. We are dog owners and end of life processes come with that choice to have them. I can only hope that the next time we are as blessed as we were to have Dr. Sondra Elson and Compassionate Heart in that phase of the journey. Thank you to her and them!
I want to thank Sondra Elson DVM for coming to our home last minute
and thoroughly educating us on our tough decision to put our dog
down and am so glad we went with her. She was so compassionate and was so respectful to Jefe and our families’ wishes to help him go in peace. I would recommend her services to any one put in that tough position of euthanizing a family pet. I wish she did more than this service. I would take my other fur babies to her. We are so lucky for people like Sondra that have such a big heart to help in these
tough life steps.
Thank you again,
I’m in the process of making end-of-life plans for my cat with heart disease. My cat, Theo, doesn’t need euthanasia today, but the time is coming soon and I want to do everything I can to plan for a peaceful, painless transition for him. Dr. Harris has been very generous with her time and answered all of my detailed questions. I feel an enormous sense of relief knowing that all of the details for the end of Theo’s life are planned for. Now that Dr Harris knows me and knows my cat, I feel Theo and I we can focus on enjoying the time we have left together.
I am writing to say thank you for the kindness that Sondra showed us and our pet in this very difficult time. We had our pup for over 11 years and it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make to let go. My husband and I both had never had to make a decision like this prior but Sondra made the process as easy as a situation like this could ever be. She treated us and our Diesel with the utmost care and respect from the beginning of the process to the end. Diesel felt instantly comfortable with her and that meant so much to us. Thank you again for making a heart breaking situation a little bit less stressful.
Hi Dr. Alicia,
Joanne and I are so thankful for your help ending our time here with Heidi just before Christmas. We appreciate so much you traveling so far on short notice to be with us. Your empathy, compassion, and willingness to go at our pace made the difficulty of parting with our girl a lot easier. You enabled Heidi to have the peaceful and dignified transition we wanted for her. Joanne says you are an angel here on earth and I agree. You are doing important, difficult work and I am hoping you get a lot satisfaction from it. Thank you for choosing to make a difference in the world this way.
Frank and Joanne
My heart hurts..I had to say goodbye to my sweet, sweet Rose today at home. The tears are still falling, but I knew it was time to help her to rest. We adopted her 7 years ago and we lovingly nicknamed her squirrel because of the way she would tear through the house as if telling the dogs catch me if ya can! Rose and I have a special bond like none other.. those of you animal lovers will understand…I will miss her next to me every night purring and rubbing her head on mine as we would snuggle in for bed. I will miss her purring as her head rested on my arm each and every night in bed up to her last night with me. I will miss her loud meows as we “talked” while she sat on my desk on my papers while I worked or pawing at the screen on my computer trying to catch the mouse pointer, stealing my socks and any small item wrapped in cellophane from the kitchen. Fortune cookies were her favorite to steal 🙂 I will miss her standing at my bedroom door at bedtime waiting and meowing at me as if to say hurry up it’s time for bed! Most of all I will miss her sweet face next to mine. I think of you very moment as if are by my side, I miss your love.
I had heard and read good things, but was still extremely touched by the whole experience of Dr. Sondra’s visit, last Thursday morning as we laid my 15-year-old Boston Terrier Trudy to rest. Dr. Sondra helped to make such a heartbreaking experience much more tolerable with her compassion, affection, expertise and professionalism.
I have four more dogs who hopefully won’t be leaving me anytime soon; but when and if the time comes, I would do it all over again with Compassionate Heart.
Thank you so very much,
Dear Dr. Alicia,
On behalf of my family, I am writing to you to express our sincere appreciation and deep respect for Dr. Sondra Elson. From the first few minutes that we spoke on the phone, Dr. Sondra, with her extensive professional knowledge, sincere kindness and patience, gently assisted us in making the correct decision in our dog, Jasmine’s, end-of-life care.
Her quiet, tender, considerate approach in Jasmine’s euthanasia care made this heart-wrenching experience…. easier.
Dr. Sondra is an invaluable asset to your business and to the veterinary profession.
I will continue to share my experience with Dr. Sondra at Compassionate Heart with fellow friends, neighbors and with local our military and civilian veterinarians.
Jeannie, Michael and family
Genuine, heart-felt tenderness is what Dr. Elson brought to Sherman, our beloved dog of 15 yrs on Saturday, Sept 10th at sunset. Flooding all of us with kindness as she came into our home, Dr. Elson greeted Sherman gently as he lay on his dog bed in our family room. Compassionately, she explained in detail what to expect as merciful medicine was administered to Sherman to assist him from earth to heaven. Finally free from pain and filled with peace, Sherman passed away in a dignified manner. The last thing he saw was his family’s tear-stained faces as all of us sobbed and gathered around him. He did not feel alone. He was not on an icy exam table. True to his character, even in his last breath Sherman brought his family lovingly together.
Home euthanasia was the only option we considered for Sherman. Going to the Vet’s office for any reason frightened him; home is where he belonged. With resignation, he surrendered himself to a compassionate parting. As heart-wrenching as this was, it was the most honorable way to thank our loyal friend who never failed us and had dedicated his life to loving us.
Chris and Laura and family
I work in a veterinary clinic, euthanasia is very much part of the services offered. When I chose to contact Dr. Sondra Elson for an ‘at home’ euthanasia I was immediately impressed.
The appointment was made and Dr. Sondra Elson was available to see Jeffrey, our eighteen year old cat. As Dr. Elson sat on the floor of our living area, Jeffrey still managed to greet her with a purr and a rub of his face on her hand, even though he was quite weak. Dr. Elson explained her procedure and took time to learn more about Jeffrey and his life that he had spent with us, and his travels.
Compassionate care was delivered, a seamless journey to a peaceful place. Dr. Elson was very interested in her patient and took time afterwards to research a little more about Jeffrey’s condition. Without any doubt I would not hesitate to consider in home euthanasia with Compassionate Heart.
For our Jeffrey the car ride would have made him uncomfortable and sick; we did the best for him, and Dr. Elson went above and beyond her call of duty.
Thank you so much to Dr. Elson for her love and care of our beloved Jeffrey.
Best Wishes Always for Your True Compassion
Where do I begin! It’s hard! But I need to tell you about a very special brave soul that helped us help our puppy cross the bridge and to say that Dr. Alicia Harris is a special soul doesn’t do her justice! We have been conversing for over a year and approximately 3 months now as our
vet advised us our Dallas had a mass on her spleen and would probably only live for 3 months! Well that was November 2014. At the time we were in such shock that we couldn’t even fathom losing our beloved Dallas like this and so fast. We had heard about Compassionate Heart from a friend. So to try and make a very long story short, for the next year we kept in touch with Dr. Alicia and until this Saturday Dallas just wasn’t ready to go. Everyone said “you’ll know you’ll know” and we did. We had to wait till Dr got back into town and as soon as she could she came, even 3 hours earlier than scheduled! Which was 3 hours less for our baby to suffer.
With grace, dignity and love she explained every step of the way and made it so peaceful for our Dallas! Dr says she went so peacefully and in my heart I know she did she was ready! I just want to thank you again Dr Alicia and the lord our God brought You to us! You are a very special person and I am so thankful we had you!!!!
Janet, Ed and Shane
From the moment I spoke with Sondra I knew she was the lady we needed. I had actually arranged another pet service to help us but immediately cancelled them.
Our most loved German Shepherd had a hip that completely failed. She had no good quality of life left in her. Deciding to be unselfish and allow a pet to pass on is a tragic decision to make. We were devastated!
Dr. Sondra Elson arrived at our motor home (as we were on vacation). She was the kindest most loving person I’ve met. We did a circle of prayer around our girl, Sadie.
Dr. Sondra gave our girl a shot to totally relax her before the final injection. Our baby went so peacefully. She and our family were in tears. She is the sweetest and most compassionate vet I’ve ever met.
The day after Sadie passed, Sondra pulled up and gave us a beautiful card that I will cherish forever!
If anyone needs a service in the San Diego area….don’t hesitate to call Compassionate Heart. Look them up on the web.
Thank you so much for making a tragic time easier!
Londa & Will
Hi Dr. Alicia,
I just wanted to write to tell you how much we appreciate the Compassionate Heart service, and especially Sondra. It wasn’t an easy decision for us to put to rest our baby girl Coco, but it was time. Sondra took the whole experience to another level of comfort. You can never be prepared, but with her level of compassion, knowledge, and just her demeanor, made it so much more bearable. This is the only way in our opinion to take care of things. It is so much more comfortable for everyone, especially the pet, to be in the comfort of their own home instead of a cold and sterile vet office. The way Sondra did everything really made us feel comforted. Thank you so very much. We would recommend her to anyone anytime. xoxo
Jacquelyn and Michael
My name is Natalie Madsen, I recently was helped by Sondra Elson to put my sweet baby Nelly to sleep. Though it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I felt really comforted after I met Sondra.
I have had my Nelly since I was 10 years old. Let me tell you, with her as a companion it was the best 11 years of my life. She literally would go everywhere with me, hardly anybody even knows me without knowing my dog as well.
My Nelly had developed a tumor on her tummy that seemed to grow like wildfire everyday. A hole developed in the tumor that looked infected. I took her in to a vet office to see what I could do, and my options were to keep her on antibiotics to keep the hole closed, do surgery with low chances of her surviving the operation, or put her to sleep. None of the options seemed ideal with her being my childhood dog and all. But the numerous attempts at antibiotics didn’t seem to help it, and I did not want to put her through a painful surgery.
I wasn’t really sure how to go about putting my Nelly to sleep. She had a lot of anxiety when she would go into a vet office, no matter how sweet and amazing they were to her she would throw a bit of a fit. So the thought of taking her into a facility where I know both her and I would not feel comfortable especially in the situation we were going to be in without any of our family around due to us all living in different states, made be feel extremely uneasy about the situation.
It was brought to my attention by a family member that there are at home services for euthanasia. So I looked into it a little more and found Compassionate heart. I called the number, and spoke to Sondra. I felt bad because I was really emotional on the phone, but she was super patient and caring with me. When she came over my Nelly immediately waged her tail and greeted Sondra as if she knew she was the angel about to set her free. Sondra went into detail about the steps of euthanasia, and answered all of my questions. She told me a little bit about her background and I found out we had a bit of the same experience. I was able to have my little Nelly lay in the comfort of my arms on my chest through the entire process. Surprisingly I didn’t feel scared or uneasy like I thought I was going to feel, and it was because Sondra calmly explained to me what was going to happen with each step. So there were no surprises.
I never thought I would be able to get myself to say goodbye to my best friend Nelly. But I know the decision I made was the best one for her to pass in the comfort of her own home with no distress. I could not be more grateful for Sondra, and the experience I had with Compassionate Heart. You guys are truly amazing.
I am sorry I wrote such a long Novel I just really wanted to let you guys know how amazing your services really are.
We wanted to say Thank You to Sondra Elson for her help when it was time for Myla our 15 year old golden lab to pass over to the other side.
We very much appreciate Sondra’s kind and considerate way with Myla and us.
Would recommend Sondra to anyone who asks…..having the vet come to your house allows for less stress on the pet and on the owners.
Being in a familiar environment made all the difference for Myla. She went quietly and I am sure is in a happy place.
Thank you again Sondra, and take care—
Erin and Jack
La Mesa, CA
Hi Dr. Alicia,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you SO very much for your help with Jack. We are still missing our boy very much, and yet, we feel at peace with our decision. He is no longer struggling. He is no longer in pain. He is no longer trying to be stoic for us. He is free. And he is at peace.
I felt a connection with you from the moment I looked at your website, but talking to you and meeting you in person just solidified that. I am really good at “reading” people and getting a feel for who is genuine and who is not. I can tell that you are just a beautiful, loving and caring soul. A person who truly loves animals and knowing that their lives are so very special. And I think Jack felt the same thing the minute he came to greet you. I think he knew that he would be in good hands and that you would help him transition pain free and as peacefully as possible. Although letting a loved one go is painful, you somehow managed to make it a sad, but beautiful moment. I knew what I wanted for Jack and you gave me all of that and then some.
From the bottom of my heart…. thank you Dr. Alicia.
It has been just over one month since Dr. Sondra came to our home and released our beloved pet Sparkie back into the universe. A mere thank you just isn’t enough. Reading some of the testimonials I see the pain & feel the loss all those people before us have shared. The common thread of course is the Compassionate Heart. What a perfect name! What a wonderful person in Dr. Sondra.
Our daughter (dog) Sparkie was a family pet, in the fact that she lived with members of our family. First my sister in Northern California, then with us in San Diego. She was beside my father until he passed. She has sat by my side through sickness and injuries. If you were part of our extended family she could smell it and would welcome you to our home. She was a real beauty, people would comment on how beautiful she was every time she was out for a walk. Of course we knew she was getting old and a bad leg injury as a puppy was getting to her in old age. Her ability to walk,go upstairs, the worst was when she couldn’t jump on our bed in the morning and steal my husband’s spot when he got up. She loved doing that in the a.m. or pushing me out when she thought it was time I should be up. So many memories.
My husband went online and found Compassionate Heart. He said “It’s THE ONE please call, it is a woman, I want a woman to be with us okay?” I wanted the same thing for our girl, she loved to hang with the ladies. I called the next day and as others have said the voice of an angel answered. She listened she told me of second thoughts I would have (I did ), and we talked about services. I didn’t want her ashes commingled; I wanted to take her home to the meadow. Dr. Sondra listened and understood.
The afternoon she came to our home my husband and sons were there. She came right in and sat on the floor with our dog. She explained everything that might happen so we would be prepared. I knew our baby girl was in pain, I could see it in her eyes. When Dr. Sondra gave her the tranquilizer Sparkie looked right into my eyes and I could tell she was released from her pain. She was relieved,and looked at us lovingly and grateful. I knew we had made the right decision. My husband, myself, our sons (Sparkie’s pack as my husband says), held hands, held her, cried, kissed, petted, and loved her to the very last heartbeat. She was wrapped in the blankets she loved so much. My sons carried her to Dr. Sondra’s car and we all hugged. We knew her spirit had passed, her body gone, but she will always be with us. That night was a blue moon, the last one for a few years. How fitting it was there to guide our girl on her journey home.
Sparkie has found ways to send us love, the first message came the very next day. I went to get my 20 year old up, and as I opened his door there was a large, not known to me, dog. Her name, Fiona, just a year old, big, clumsy dog, I had a puppy at my house all day. I laughed, I cried, she comforted me, I thanked Sparkie and the universe for that blessing. Dr. Sondra and I talked about it when she called to check on us, to see how we were doing.
We go day by day, we miss her so much. I find myself thinking she is upstairs then I remember she is gone. This October I will take her ashes home to the meadow, but I know her true home is in our hearts. Thank you Dr. Sondra, may you always be safe in everything you do, because we need you here. You are an angel sent to help our four legged family members go with grace and love, and have a compassionate heart for us who remain.
Grateful to you always,
Betty and Steve
And all of Sparkie’s extended family
I would like to share with you our experience regarding Dr. Sondra Elson and the kindness and help she provided to me and my family when the time came to say goodbye to our beloved 12 1/2 yr. old Golden Retriever Marigold aka”Goldie” I had heard from a friend that having your pet pass peacefully at home was was a much kinder and gentler experience than taking her to the Vet where she was always terrified. I found Dr. Sondra and my compassionate heart on line and decided to call her to find out more. Not knowing me from Adam, she spent at least a half hour on the phone with me and reassured me that when the time came she would be there for us and handle everything. After a couple of weeks Goldie’s health declined to the point that my wife and I tearfully knew it was time. We made an appt. for the next afternoon and spent one more night with Goldie. Dr. Sondra came the next afternoon and calmly and reassuringly went thru the process with us before saying goodbye. She was not in a hurry and Goldie was in her home where she was comfortable. When Dr. Sondra ever so gently put her to sleep there were tears to be sure. We all sat around Goldie for at least 10-15 minutes gently petting her after she passed. We gently put her on a stretcher and Dr. Sondra very gently and ever so respectfully wrapped her in a fuzzy blanket with dog paws on it. My son and I carried her to Dr Sondra’s car and said our goodbyes. If there is such a thing as a beautiful goodbye this was it. Goldie is finally at peace and tho we are saddened, the manner in which she left for dog heaven made it immensely easier. I would tell anyone in this situation to arrange this type of farewell to their family member. Dr Sondra is a beautiful person and I am thankful that she decided to help people and their pets in this manner.
With thankfulness and respect,
Rex was our second family dog. He was our “devil” dog as a puppy and even at 10 years old he had a lot of puppy moments. We loved him because he was our “attached” dog. He never left our side. When our first dog Harley died he comforted us. He gave us love and was always happy to see us even at the end. He loved going to the cottage and swimming. He hated when the kids were too far out in the lake because while he could swim well when they were too far he felt left out. He curled up by our feet on the bed for the first few years and then right by our bedside the last of his years. He loved the kids and was tolerable of the other pets. He was an amazing friend despite all his counter surfing at the worst times. We will miss him but are excited to know he is running with Harley and we will see him again. Dr. Alicia made Rex’s “transition” simple. Without her caring and compassion we never would have made it through. She was at our house talking with us for a long time before the time came to help Rex. She explained things thoroughly and Rex was at peace through the entire process. I slept well knowing that he went home under her care instead of wondering what happened to him if we just “dropped” him off at the local clinic. Thanks Dr. Alicia for helping us through a tough process. And we know that even though you met Rex once, you also felt his soul and fell in love with him. That meant the world to us.
Matt and Jessy
Dear Dr. Harris,
Many, many thanks for your kindness and thoughtfulness over the past year and half, and especially, at the very end of Bug’s life. I cannot tell you what a comfort it has been to be able to talk to you about whether it was the right time or not, and to have you be available last Thursday to assist my girl in her passing. She was a fierce and loyal friend, and I will miss her just as fiercely.
Our deep appreciation. It is so difficult to lose such a long-time companion and friend. We appreciate your help and your understanding.
We want to share with you how much we appreciated Dr. Sondra Elson who came to our home to help us say goodbye to our beloved tuxedo kitty. He had many health issues and in the last few months they became more acute. We knew it was time to allow him to make his transition. A friend recommended Dr. Elson and we called her. She was professional and gracious as she described the services that she offered. She was also available on weekends. We made an appointment with her and when she arrived she immediately put us at ease. Dr. Elson shared the process with us and when we were ready we went to our kitty’s favorite chair. Our last memory is of our kitty sleeping and we were able to pet him and say goodbye. We were able to cry and grieve during this difficult time.
Dr. Elson was both professional and gentle with us and our kitty. She took such care to make sure he was comfortable and safe. We are forever grateful to her for her compassionate heart.
Thank you for your wonderful organization. It is much appreciated.
Linda and David
We recently had to use the services of Compassionate Heart. My daughter has taken care of a number of stray cats over the years. She has spent a great deal of time, love and money to care for them. One in particular had become very ill with cancer and continued to come around our home. She made her way into the garage the other day and we realized it was time to make the most difficult call. We spoke with Dr Sondra Elson at Compassionate Heart and she indicated that she could come to our house that day. She explained everything to me on the phone and presented a number of different options regarding the procedure. This was a very difficult decision to make but Dr Elson felt it to be the right one. She was extremely supportive and genuinely compassionate. She listened to my stories about “Mom” cat and the offspring that she had delivered. She allowed me the time to recite a poem while the procedure was being performed. As hard as this was , Dr Elson guided us through it in a humane peaceful way and assisted the “Mom” cat to a gentle end. A few days later we received one of the kindest handwritten sympathy notes from Dr Elson. Dr Elson indeed has a compassionate heart.
Thank you for your gentle and caring kindness as we made the decision to allow Shingo to pass in peace. I cannot express how your understanding and caring heart made this decision easier on our hearts. Shingo was a wonderful companion to us for 14 years and it was a difficult decision for us. The way you talked and interacted with us and her, put peace in our hearts. Thank you. People like you are true angels on earth.
We are sad not to have her in our life any longer, but we take great comfort her last minutes were pain free and gentle. Thank you. We are truly forever grateful.
Dear Dr. Alicia,
Dr. Elson is by far one of the most kind, caring, soft spoken and intelligent doctor/vet I have ever had the opportunity to interact with in my long 52 years on this earth.
The process was the hardest emotionally to deal with, but she made everything seem right. This was my first and last dog. There could never be another as this special pup came all the way to the US w me from So Korea at the age of 3 months. He was the biggest, most gentle giant anyone could ever have the pleasure of meeting. His weight topping more that 189lbs, he was no dog, he was a human in a dog suit. And when Dr. Elson delivered him to the other side where my Dad was waiting for him…he let go.
I would trust Dr Elson w my own life. I only pray there is someone like her, compassionate to the final moment, in my life when I too must pass over.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and my “Big Dog’s” Heart. I an giving my highest rating to Dr. Elson which is not contained in the format.
That is the rating of a 10+. The highest I know.
Attached please find a beautiful pic of my gentle giant & Thank you again 🙂
Dear Dr. Harris,
We are so very grateful for your assistance and support during Samantha’s last days. Thank you for your professionalism, compassion, and kindness. Because of you, she was able to pass away peacefully and stress free in the comfort of our home, surrounded by love. We are so thankful that you reassured us that it was the right time to euthanize her and that you gave us all the time we needed to say goodbye to our little darling. You took such good care of her and us! We miss her everyday, remembering how sweet and special she was for nineteen years. We deeply appreciate that you made an extremely difficult situation much easier. We would highly recommend you and Compassionate Heart without hesitation.
Gayle and Steve
I wanted each and every single person who might come on your website to know what I really felt being in your loving and caring company. You are an angel sent from above to help people much like myself who dread what I had to do. I think we, as pet owners, always hope that our pets die in there sleep. To have a dog like Opie for 18 long years, was a kind blessing allowed to myself and my four loving and caring children. Opie was bought at Pet Smart in Orlando Florida as his owner before me was stuck inside a car wreck and died, as the medics were trying to help her. He was a puppy of the age of sixth months barked his head off….until the day he passed away at my home with you by my side.
I had to do this on my own as that was the way it was to be. I loved my sweet and loving Opie as I loved my own children. He was spoiled and loved by us all. When I saw he could no longer stand up to go pee and poop, I knew I had to help him out of this world and in to heaven to play with his sister Katie who died at the young age of 10 years old.
I was a single Mother raising small children when I got Opie. He was named after the Andy Griffith show. That is what his owner before me named him. I kept that name as it so fit him.
Opie protected me till the day he passed away like no other dog has done for me, and my now grown children. I will miss him every single day of what is left of this life I have left to live. I searched and searched for a month or so until I came upon your webpage. I read each and every single word of what you felt at the young age of 14. I knew you where the Doctor to help me send Opie to a better place. I was so correct. You have a wonderful gift and I shall always remember what you did for myself and my sweet loving caring Dog Opie!! This world is a brighter and much caring place with you in it shall you keep helping those like myself always. We as pet owners can only imagine how it is for you to do and feel this way and help others. When you helped Opie find peace and not hurt anymore I knew, you had been sent to me for a reason. How you pet him and talked to him with me was loving and caring. My life will never be the same as I lost a part of my heart with the passing of my dog Opie.. I sit around and think I hope he forgives me for ending his pain and that he is playing ball up in heaven, with Katie..
San Diego, CA
It’s been over a week now since we said goodbye to Kitty, and it’s still, understandably, very hard for us.
We wanted to let you know, however, how much comfort we draw from what you did for us all. Your calmness, empathy, and integrity gave grace and peace to this difficult time.
We send our sincere thanks to you for making Kitty’s transition such a gentle kindness. Now, we can look back with no regrets, just gratitude and happy memories.
Julia & Bookie
As much as I tried to “wish away” the fact Bear was dying, I couldn’t. My husband and I made the painful decision that it was time. Bear was a big friendly cat. We called him “Cat of Peace” because he loved everyone, never met a lap he didn’t want to sit in and purred so loud you could hear him across the room. We felt his peaceful and loving life deserved a peaceful and loving death. We called Compassionate Heart and talked with Dr. Sondra Elson. I felt like I was calling a human Hospice service and received the highest quality Hospice care. Dr. Elson allowed Bear to come to her. There was no rush. Everything took place at our pace. While I held Bear and talked with him about all the good times we had together, Dr. Elson gave him a tranquilizer. He felt nothing but the warmth of my body and my stroking his fur. Afterwards, I became her patient. Dr. Elson was as kind and as gentle with me as she had been with Bear. No one wants to see the life of their pet end, but I am so happy it happened at home. I am grateful for the services of Dr. Elson and would highly recommend her and Compassionate Heart to any one facing this decision.
Donna & Bernie
Lemon Grove, CA
“When it came time for my beautiful German Shepherd Dog, Honey, to transition, I considered what I should do. My previous experiences at times like these, at various vet offices, was traumatic, impersonal, and sometimes my pets were even treated rough! I couldn’t imagine going through that again, especially with my darling doggie, Honey, who I love so much and had been my best friend for 12 years. I researched online and found Compassionate Heart. I called Dr. Sondra Elson so upset, and she was very caring, calming and professional. Dr. Elson explained everything over the phone, and was also extremely flexible with appointment times. When she arrived, I was very upset, and Dr. Elson’s caring manner helped me be more calm. Dr. Elson was very loving and gentle with Honey, and there was no struggle or panic. To be able let my Honey’s last moments be calm and peaceful meant everything. Honey transitioned without pain or panic. Her last moments were filled with gentle hands and caring, loving voices.
Dr. Elson called me the next day to see how I was doing, and 2 weeks later, actually came by to HAND deliver Honey’s ashes and paw-print to me, and was kind enough to spend time reminiscing with me about Honey.
As people have mentioned, it is more expensive, but NOT that much more. And it is totally worth it to not have to drag your pet to the vet, who mostly just treats it as another money-making appointment, and puts you and your pet through all the trauma that goes with that.
Dr. Elson DOES have a VERY Compassionate Heart, and 100% lives up to the name. I also couldn’t give her a higher recommendation. I was and am very grateful I had the choice to give my loving pet a peaceful and caring departure with Compassionate Heart.
Thank you so much, Dr. Elson,
Dear Dr’s Lucy and Alicia,
I would like to express our gratitude for your service and more importantly, your compassion, during this difficult time in our lives. Chicago was a much-loved member of our family and although we will miss her, we take comfort knowing that her passing was made all the more comfortable by being at home, surrounded by her family. Thank you…
With sincere appreciation,
Jeff, Pamela, Mandy and Alyson – and Guinness
Dr. Lucy helped us on Saturday with a very difficult decision (putting our dog down). She was amazing. Her compassion and genuine sympathy was very comforting. Dr. Lucy explained every step and what to expect. She did not rush us or the process. I cannot say enough about how great she was. We are so grateful that you offer such a service. Dr. Lucy responded to our request the same day – and for that we were so appreciative. Our dog (Bea) was done and we could not bare to see her struggle any longer (she had lymphoma). Again, thank you, Dr. Lucy and Compassionate Heart for offering the in-home service, it was so much better for everyone, and Bea did not have to experience the fear of going to the vet — one last time. She was able to go peacefully in the comfort of her own home.
Hi Dr. Elson,
We just wanted to thank you again for giving us the opportunity to
release Minnie in the most comfortable way for her. Minnie had a very
blessed life and being able to transition peacefully, at home in her
“comfort zone”, was certainly one of those many blessings. We too were
blessed to be able to let our beloved girl go in this way. It
certainly eases the pain of her loss.
As I mentioned in our phone conversation on Sunday, I am including
some pictures of Minnie enjoying life in her youth and her old age.
These pictures really help remind me of the full and rich life that
Minnie enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them.
Thank You so very much for your kind service. It meant the world to
Sam, Christine, Dave and Minnie
El Cajon, CA
Dear Dr. Elson,
I wanted to send you a personal note thanking you for your very kind phone call and condolence note with regard to my precious Bootsie. The Bereavement Information was most reassuring to me as the guilt set in immediately. Always questioning the timing.
It meant so very much to me that you called the next day inquiring about how I was doing. My husband and I were just devastated to lose him!! As you know, I agonized over and over about whether he was ready to go. It seemed like he was doing so well and then things would turn worse. As I mentioned to you, it was because of him that I discovered I had mets from breast cancer. I always called him “my angel” and loved him beyond words. When he would crawl up in my lap and put his head on my chest and paw on my arm, I felt I had experienced the most incredible love! He was always the “lover”. Always grooming the other cats and wrestling with his older brother, Toby. The Bootsie stories are many and are always filled with tenderness.
Your thoughtfulness and generosity with your time were so cherished by my husband and me. Also, I so appreciated your suggestion of another medication for his nausea. I do wish I had given it a longer time to work.
Please know that we appreciate the kindness you have shown to us and our prayers are with you!!
Lori and Robert and Bootsie
San Diego, CA
Dear Dr. Elson,
We were so glad to find someone to assist our 20-year old cat Tux pass on after he suffered a stroke. We have had unpleasant experiences in vet offices before and wanted to avoid that this time. And this time, with Tux, it was all that we could have hoped for. He was able to pass away on the couch with us right there with him. And the service provided by Dr. Elson was nothing less than phenomenal! It was a comfortable experience and Dr. Elson delivered his ashes to us personally. The entire process was as pleasant and comfortable as anyone could ever hope for. Thank you Dr. Elson for your compassionate care for our beloved Tux.
Tammy and Jeff
Imperial Beach, CA
Hi Dr. Elson,
Thanks for a peaceful and beautiful passing for our lovely dog Bailey. It certainly was the best experience we’ve ever had before, or even hoped for. You did an excellent job. To see Bailey lovingly cradled in my daughters arms in our front yard as she left us seemed so organic and right, rather than the sterile anxiety producing vet’s office she would have otherwise experienced. We appreciate your help and accommodations made for late evening. You have my highest professional respect and personal appreciation. Thanks again for coming to our aid.
Hi Dr. Elson,
I just wanted to thank you again for all that you did to help me with Belmont’s trip to the other side. The attachment is the flier I have posted at police headquarters, and I sent a similar one out over Facebook (which is only my second ever post there!), as did another k-9 loving friend of mine. I will be grateful forever for all of your help.
I am writing on behalf of Dr. Sondra Elson…I contacted two at home euthanasia services. It was important to us to send our dog off as a family at home. Because my three children are all adults now with full time jobs and living on their own, finding a vet that could come to us in the evening was crucial. The first service I called said they would work with our schedule but then tried to get us to move up our time to work for their schedule. The receptionist told me the vet would be only able to stay 40 minutes because they needed to be in another part of the city. I decided that was not my vision on how this experience should go so I looked for another service.
Dr. Sondra answered my call directly. Her voice was warm and comforting but professional. I asked if 7pm was too late for her to come. Her response was “of course I can come at that time”. Her response was so comforting to me. I felt immediately like this was going to be just fine. She asked questions about our situation, asking about each person that would be present and what the relationship was to our dog. She explained in detail what the process would be and gave plenty of time for questions. I was concerned about our other dog and although we knew we wanted to have her with us when the time came, we wanted to know Dr. Sondra’s opinion if she thought it would be okay. She expressed positive feedback while explaining her primary concern was for her “patient dog”. She explained she wanted this to peaceful and sometimes other pets can become agitated or possessive and if that happened she would ask for our other pet to leave the room but encouraged us to have her return afterwards. Dr. Sondra checked in with our own vet before coming over so was aware of our dog’s condition before arriving.
Our family decided to each light a candle and speak to our dog and family. Dr Sondra arrived on time which happened to be in the midst of our vigil. She came in quietly and was so sweet to wait for us to finish. When we finished she was very gentle and explained to everyone the process. She was gentle and kind and very sensitive to our family. She told us afterwards how she appreciated being there for our vigil. That it made her feel connected to our beloved doggie. She made a paw print for us and we hugged her before she left. It was a beautiful experience for all of my family and our other dog who stayed through out the process. She climbed into bed with her sister dog afterwards and snuggled her for a long time. It was perfect. Before she left Dr Sondra left a few pamphlets about grief and one in particular about how loss can effect the remaining pets in the family. I think the information was useful to my kids. Dr. Sondra was at our home for about one hour. Dr. Sondra called the next day to check in with us and to ask how our remaining dog was doing as well as all of us. She again expressed how special our candle lite vigil had been. We never felt rushed. We felt Dr. Sondra was compassionate while not being patronizing. She was there to provide her service but she did so gently with out imposing a clinical sense to it at all. Of course the fact that she has her own boston terrier endeared her to us even more. Compassionate heart program is really a wonderful service. We all felt we received personalized and expert care. I had dreaded the idea of taking our dog to a vets office . We were able to send our sweet beloved dog off in our way, surrounded by her family, in her own bed at home. Thank you Dr. Sondra, you truly were a gift to our family.
San Diego, CA
Hi Dr. Elson,
Thank you so much for calling and checking on us…I feel much better that Dino is not suffering anymore even though it is so hard to let them go…
I was so impressed with the way you handled this whole thing..you are the perfect person for this job..don’t know how you can do it….I admire you for that…
Camy and Bella are doing fine…maybe a little sad..but I am giving them lots of attention…
Thank you for all your great support and help..
Dear Dr. Elson,
On behalf of my husband, son, and myself, we thank you for your compassion and kindness during a most difficult time in our lives. I knew what to expect from experience, albeit a bad experience as I explained to you. I felt totally at ease with you the moment I heard your voice on the telephone. My husband and son had never experienced euthanasia of a pet and didn’t know what to expect. Although they were very upset, they felt at ease and very comfortable because of how you carefully explained every step of the process. Our beloved Heidi appeared to be at ease and comfortable as well which was a blessing and makes us feel good knowing we made this easier for her.
We are thankful there are doctors like yourself available to handle these difficult life processes with such grace and extreme care.
Thank you again from all of us.
Dr. Lucy and Dr. Alicia,
YOU ARE ANGELS!
My Best Friend of 15 years, and myself, needed you….and you were there!
Thank you for your calm manner and patience, your help to guide me, and being available each time I called. Your kindness went a long way!
You brought with you an aura of peace so welcoming. Sam was very relaxed in your presence. Your gentle touch, your peaceful demeanor, and your “no-rush” attitude was a blessing to us!
You both had a short, but profound presence in my life. I am truly grateful to have been the receiver of your gifts of compassion. You gave Sam a peaceful, dignified end. I will always remember you both!
Jacquelyn & Sam
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words in regards to the passing of our cat, Bow. Truly, you helped make a difficult decision a little easier to bear, and we will always be thankful that you were there. Thank you,
Susan & Greg
Dear Lucy and Alicia,
Thank you for your kind and “Compassionate Hearts” and helping us through the terribly sad experience of letting our beloved Amos go. You do your job in such a loving way – I cannot ever begin to tell you the comfort that brought us. We knew our loved one was in good hands, and we feel so fortunate to have had you to help us. Thank you. With Love & Sincerely,
Betty & Mary
I so admire the work that you do. You are doing such a kind service to help others during such a difficult time. You have a sweet kind spirit and will be blessed as you bless those of us that need you. Thanks again,
Ellie & Family
Dear Dr. Harris,
A note of sincere thanks for your kindness. Choosing who would be the one to sit at my side as I said goodbye to my dearest friend was a painfully difficult decision…until I spoke with you.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to have found you. The anguish of trusting my beloved dog in the arms of a stranger melted away when you walked through our door.
Your poise and calming manner during a heart wrenching situation proved to be a blessing.
I watched your hands as you pet Elvis, and I know she too, was grateful for your presence. My angst turned to calm, and rather than surrendering to fear and sorrow
during our final time together, I was steady and present. The way we she
would have wanted me to be. I did not want her last vision of me to be anything other than what it was. Because of you, we were allowed our time, and our privacy. I can speak for us both in saying we felt safe, and genuinely cared for.
I will never forget the service you provided us Dr. Harris. Your skill, compassion, and generous heart made my dogs transition from “here” to “there” a beautiful one. I will be forever thankful to you for the remainder of my lifetime, that the memory of
saying goodbye to Elvis, while bittersweet, will be a cherished one.
We’d like to again thank Dr. Hanus for her assistance with the passing of our beloved dog of 14 years, Maxie, today. It was comforting to have it done by such a compassionate, kind, and knowledgeable doctor. Thank you for being the light during such a dark time, we will be forever grateful.
Dear Dr. Alicia and Dr. Lucy,
On 11/9/13, I found it necessary to assist our beloved Bella to a peaceful eternity. Being she was a hundred pounds and unable to walk, I searched for at-home services. From the moment I called, Dr. Alicia showed care and compassion for my situation – she felt my pain. I expressed I’d like someone to come soon and take Bella quickly as she was suffering. She sent Dr. Lucy who was the most perfect angel to walk in the door that day. Dr. Lucy was so gentle and intuitive, assessing Bella and the family’s needs, then tending to Bella. Bella was very sick and welcomed relief. While I had to say goodbye to my 13-year-old girl who we loved so much, I was at peace with the process. We were treated so respectfully throughout, our pain was shared, and everything was done with such care and reverence. Dr. Lucy hugged me before leaving, expressing her condolences.
The next day, Dr. Alicia called to check on us and assure me I had made the right decision for Bella. A few days later, we received a wonderful note in the mail from Dr. Lucy expressing her condolences. I can’t rave enough about the services provided by these visiting angel veterinarians. At a very difficult time, having made a very difficult decision to let go of our beloved pet, they made it so much easier to be at peace with, and much less stressful for our Bella. May God bless you, and may you continue your important work. “Compassionate Hearts” are what you truly have.
Dear Dr. Harris:
I write to express my deepest thanks to you for your professionalism, your attention to detail and, most of all, the kindness and compassion you showed me and my friend. You have made a very difficult time to be more bearable and I will be forever grateful to you.
Dr. Alicia Harris,
I just wanted to express my gratitude for your service on Tuesday. I could not have asked for a more peaceful passing for Samantha (unless it was on her own in her sleep). Your compassion and sincerity of the care you express was very comforting. I am so very sad to be without my constant companion but I am at peace with her transition. Thank you again for doing what you do. I will let all of my pet owning friends know of your service and I wanted you to know there is a new review posted on the “yelp” website.
Thank you so much,
Andrew & Martha
Words cannot express how thankful I was to have you come last week. You made Storm’s passing something peaceful instead of something dramatic and scary. As pet owners we all know this day will one day come but you can never be ready for it. You were so kind and thoughtful and helped make his transition easier.
I had Storm since he was a kitten and he was my best friend and shadow as wherever I was, so was he for the past almost 16 years. I don’t think I could spoil or give anymore love to one little creature than I did to him. He had the best of everything. I find myself wanting to look for him in his usual spots and still cannot believe he is gone. It has been really hard for me to accept that. I am hopeful I will see him once again some day but for now I am still just so sad he is gone.
Thank you again for all that you did for us, I will forever be grateful.
I’m attaching some pictures of Storm so you can see how beautiful he really was.
All my best,
I am finally able to write to you without tears in my eyes to thank you for making one of the most difficult days of our lives bearable. Mallory is and will always be the love of my life. She was a rascal as a puppy, she ate our couch! But when she matured out of the rascally stage she was the most gentle, loving soul you would want to meet. I could go on and on with stories about her, I am only sorry that you did not get to meet her at a different time in her life.
You are such a loving, compassionate, serene person – you have a gift and Al and I are grateful that you have chosen this as your calling. I can only imagine all the other families that you have touched feel the same way. To meet families in this situation and setting and help them feel somewhat at ease with the difficult decision to let go of a loved one … I don’t know how you do it, but will be forever grateful.
I have attached one of my favorite pictures of Mal – she absolutely loved being out on the boat and swimming in the lake. She would get so excited when we prepared for a day on the lake she would jump in the car and not get out until we arrived at the dock! Silly baby thought we may leave her behind.
Thank you again Alicia –
All our best,
Laura & Al
Our family thanks you for your kind help with Simone’s passing. Your calmness, understanding and knowledge were impeccable during those difficult moments. We don’t know where we would be without your help, or the compassion Dr. Nelson and Dr. Duffy provided. I honestly would not want to have known she had cancer any sooner or later than I did, which was only this past Monday. When it comes to the passing of family, I do believe that choosing the time of passing reduces suffering and pain for all involved. The peace you bring is a blessing and we are glad we found you when we did.
The Prus Family
I cannot begin to thank you enough for the loving, caring and compassionate way you helped us with Misty! I am 70 and could not have gotten thru this without you. You were recommended by a relative that explained what a wonderful person you were and how you treated them and helped them thru their dealing with their sick pet. You were as good if not better than all the praise they had for you. God bless you and continued success in your practice.
Larry and Renee
I just wanted to thank you again for helping Fuffins. Your understanding and compassion was truly a blessing from God during this time. Although this was the most difficult decision I have had to make for one of my pets, I know in my heart it is what she would have wanted. I can’t thank you enough for helping her go in such a peaceful way in our home. I hope you don’t mind, but I included your website and services on my Facebook page. I wanted to make sure that my friends and family know there is a wonderful person out there that will help their pets go home. I’ve attached a photo of Fuffins….during her better days.
With much gratitude,
Julie & Family
My cousin, Judi, just shared with me the compassionate care you provided for our beloved Maddie. Thank you for all you did. Your vocation is a calling and the world is fortunate to have you.
Frank, animal lover
Dear Dr. Harris,
Thank you for helping us with Andy, and ultimately helping Andy pass in the most humane way possible. Thank you for helping me. I agonized about making that final decision, something Marge left mostly to me since I am the dog’s primary “mom”, I vowed to not let Andy suffer or enter a crisis period, you confirmed this to me without prompting. The weight I bore was enormous, he still acted vital and I could not imagine life without him, yet I knew we were on a very slippery slope (this became clear after sleep was being replaced by swallowing difficulties) That weight was greatly lifted when you volunteered the wisdom of not waiting till crisis was upon he & us. Thank you, Thank you.
My last weim, Zeke, was put down at home 12 yrs ago, … that experience left us with doubts & uneasiness on top of the normal pain of the process-these combined left a feeling of being somewhat traumatized. My fears of this happening again were quickly relieved the moment you walked in, met Andy, and began talking to us. Thank God…..and you.
Our hearts are heavy with grief, we miss Andy beyond words. I loved him with every cell in my body, he was a big person whom I had the privilege of taking care of. I/we are glad he was in your hands for his last days here.
Denise & Marge
Dan and I would like to thank you for your expertise, your guidance, and most of all – your tender care in helping us get through one of the most difficult times of our lives. Our house is very empty without our Taylor. She was such a joy – everyday. Our family and friends have been sympathetic and supportive. Dan has installed an old-fashioned-looking lamp pole in our front yard which he has designated as a memorial to Taylor – the “light” of our lives. It was a pleasure meeting you, Alicia — and again, thank you.
With much respect and in friendship,
Dan and Pat
Dear Doctor Harris,
Thank you for making a very difficult, emotional experience – as easy as possible. We loved our dog and his passing was dignified and compassionate.
The Dobias Family
Now that Jerry and I have settled down to a life without our beloved Kadar, we both agreed to let you know how very impressed we were with your tender and efficient handling of our precious dog. You are a perfect match for your chosen profession. Everything about you speaks for quality and genuine caring. It is rare for someone so young as yourself to be able to handle the animals and the owners in their homes and at a most painful and awkward time. Home euthanasia is a needed service. You qualify to serve as the role model for the rest of the docs.
Thank you again for your loving services.
Barbara & Jerry
I just wanted to wish you a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. I think of you often and continue to have nothing but joy in my heart for Hugo’s final moments on earth. In fact, I decided not to visit the cemetery yet because I don’t want anything to change how perfect the experience has been. Not that I expect anything to go wrong, but I guess I am at peace (and know that Hugo is too) and who can hope for more? If anyone is ever doubting if it’s the right time to say goodbye, please feel free to share my story of how it was about Hugo’s dignity, not what was convenient for us, and how well he hid his pain from us so that we didn’t realize until he received the sedative and his body returned to normal. I couldn’t have done this without you and you gave Hugo the greatest gift – to fall asleep in his own bed, in his own home, in the lap of the one who loved him most.
Your friend always,
Dear Dr. Harris,
Thank you so much for the care, concern and compassion you showed when we had you put our beloved 21 year old Pumpkin to rest.
I wasn’t sure I could bear to be with her at the end but you were so kind and so gentle that the experience was a peaceful one.
Not only does your love of animals show in your eyes, your hands and your words, you are wonderful with humans, too.
Thank you again,
Barbara and Lee
Dear Dr. Alicia Harris,
I know we already said thank you for helping us take care of Bosco but we want you to know just how much everything you did for him meant to us. That morning, Bosco was in a lot of pain and we didn’t want him to suffer any longer than he had to. You said there must have been an angel looking over him because you had a cancellation that same morning. I think you are an angel for everything you did for Bosco and what you continue to do for others. You eased Bosco’s pain without the added anxiety of going to the vet’s office. Having him in his own home for the euthanasia made a world of difference. Bosco seemed so at peace when he passed. We still miss him terribly and wish this never had to happen to him but since it did, we are extremely grateful that you were there for him and for us.
Jill and Tom
I can’t thank you enough for what you did for Kai Noi, Me, and Subtle. Though I hurt tremendously from the loss, there is a part of me that is at peace that could only have come from such a powerful gift.
Dear Dr. Harris,
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful care you gave to our beloved Max. You made what is normally a horrible experience very peaceful. I’ve told so many friends and family about your kind, gentle nature with Max and how nice it was for him to leave his family in that way. Also, thank you for his paw print – it has a very special place in the garden!
Debbie and Steve