Quality of Life and Pet Loss

Any pet lover knows that the joys and pleasures of living with an animal companion cannot be measured. Unfortunately, we also know that our animals live shorter lives than we do and that ultimately we will be faced with their loss. Making the decision about when to say goodbye can be the hardest decision you ever have to make during your life-long relationship with your beloved companion. Here are a few articles that can help answer some questions that you might have and in that way, make it slightly easier for you.

People with chronic or painful illnesses only have the option of being kept as comfortable as possible until they pass away naturally. Veterinarians and pet owners have the ability to help our beloved companions avoid the pain and debilitation that frequently occurs before a natural death. There are many phrases that are used such as “put to sleep” or “put down,” but the term “euthanasia” literally means “easy death.” Euthanasia allows us to provide a peaceful, painless, “easy death” and bypass pain and suffering.

If you need to discuss whether the time is drawing near for your pet and he or she has not been recently examined, it is best to make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian here at Animal Hospital of North Asheville so that you and your veterinarian can fully discuss your options. Otherwise, if you have questions about the process, call our office and talk to one of our compassionate Client Care Team members who will answer any questions that you might have or have someone who can return your call.  We try to accommodate any scheduling needs that you and your family have when setting up a time for euthanasia.  We will always find a time during the day if you suddenly feel that your pet can’t wait, but it is best to call us a few days in advance if at all possible. Click here to learn more about The Final Farewell: Euthanasia at Animal Hospital of North Asheville     

Truly understanding quality of life in our animal companions is an especially difficult task due to their inability to verbally communicate with us. We have all wished our companions could verbalize what they were experiencing whether this was related to understanding which toys they would prefer or whether or not they are in pain. Because they can not communicate directly with us, we are obligated to make certain assumptions related to our perception of what they are experiencing. In the field of veterinary medicine, we are working to better understand Quality of Life from a scientific standpoint based on the latest research in animal cognition, emotional processing, and relational capacities. It is our hope that this ongoing process will allow us to continue to serve our pet companions and their caregivers with the very best care and compassion.

Quality of life is a term that encompasses the physical, emotional and relational aspects of an animal’s well-being. Quality of life can be understood best when aspects of daily life are investigated individually for signs of dysfunction or compromise. What follows are specific areas of every-day life and possible ways to evaluate them. Taken individually or evaluated collectively, this investigation can provide insight into our animal companion’s well-being. Although there can be overlap between each category it is helpful to view them separately.  Click here to learn more about Understanding Quality of Life in Companion Animals.

Beth Marchitelli, DVM is a veterinarian with 4 Paws Farewell which provides home hospice and home euthanasia for pets. Our veterinarians work closely with 4 Paws Farewell when clients desire home visits concerning the end of life issues.  More information about the services of 4 Paws Farewell can found here:  http://4pawsfarewell.com/.

4 Paws Farewell was established to help pet families navigate the difficult process of end-of-life decision making and care. They offer quality of life consultations, veterinary hospice and palliative care services, and home euthanasia. They are committed to providing our pet companions with the very best care and comfort during their final days. They provide services to Asheville, NC and surrounding areas within fifty minutes of downtown Asheville.

Pet Loss and Grief Support Group at AHNA 

Losing a pet friend and companion can be heartbreaking. Whether it is a sudden or planned goodbye, it is an emotional time.  We understand the strength and specialness of the animal-human bond. On the first and third Monday of each month at 7:00pm, we are hosting a Pet Loss Grief Support Group presented by Four Seasons Compassion for Life. This group is for anyone who is grieving the loss of an animal companion and needs further support.