Our GUEST BLOGGER is Jesse Beaumont, the husband of Dr. Margaret Finley, a Scottish veterinarian who recently began providing in-home euthanasia services in her community. He describes the growing acceptance of end-of-life care for companion animals at home in the UK.
Many people underestimate the tremendous strength of the bond between people and their pets, and what a devastating impact the loss of that pet can be when the time comes to say goodbye. Within veterinary medicine, the continued drive towards clinical excellence and scientific discovery means that sometimes the respect deserved by that human/animal bond is overlooked.
In recent years, for this very reason, there has been a growing industry around the provision of dedicated, in-home end of life care services in the United States. Why should people have to go through the anxiety, stress and logistical difficulties of taking their dying companion to the often sterile, anonymous and public environment of a vet practice, when they can have a much more comforting, peaceful, personal and dignified goodbye in the comfort of their own home? To allow for this there are now dozens of such businesses scattered around the country in every state.
Dr. Alicia Harris, founder of Compassionate Heart, says that “Our beloved companion animals give us their entire hearts and more. Allowing them to transition in the privacy and comfort of home is the least we can do for them. It’s truly a gift.”
Meanwhile, the advance of this compassionate and crucial side of veterinary medicine has spread across the Atlantic to the UK where Peaceful Passing (www.peacefulpassing.co.uk), Vets2Home (www.vets2home.co.uk) and Home Visit Vet (www.homevisitvet.co.uk) are offering similar services to parts of the UK in Edinburgh and the south of England respectively.
Asked about local response to the establishment of such a service in Edinburgh, Dr. Margaret Finlay at Peaceful Passing replies, “Response to the launch of Peaceful Passing has been extremely positive with hundreds of supportive messages flooding in within the first few weeks. Once pet owners become or are aware of this option, there is likely to be a significant demand for this service in the UK as well as in the USA. Together with the other vets providing this sort of invaluable service, I believe this difficult event should be calm, unhurried, peaceful and pain free. A time to say goodbye to your pet in a compassionate, gentle and dignified way.”
In the words of the internationally loved British vet James Herriot;
“…to me there has always been a comfort in the knowledge
that the last thing these helpless animals knew
was the sound of a friendly voice and the touch of a gentle hand.”
– James Herriot, All things Wise and Wonderful
Saying goodbye to a friend is never easy, but with the provision of such services and growing awareness in the pet owning public of their availability, a much kinder and supportive option is becoming a real possibility now. It seems inevitable that such services become more widespread around the world in the near future.