Saying goodbye at home
When Merlin, a Labrador/Doberman mix, was nearing the end of his life, the family that had loved him for 14 years resolved that he would draw his final breath at home.
When the time came, Marie Commiskey's son and two daughters, who had grown up with Merlin, gathered at her Littleton, Colo., home — one flew in from Seattle— to bid farewell. They went on a picnic (Merlin got to have hotdogs, his favorite), then they returned home, lit candles, settled next to the old dog, and Merlin went peacefully, surrounded by love. "This, for us, was the only way to do it," says Commiskey, a portrait photographer.
A new type of veterinarian specialists — home euthanasia vets — has begun taking root in different areas of the country.
They travel to the pet's home at whatever time they're asked and administer the injection according to preferences stated by the owner — sometimes with friends and family gathered around, sometimes under a favorite tree, sometimes alone with the pet because the owner doesn't want to be in the room during the final seconds.
Some pet owners who opt for this approach have pets that hate going to the vet's office, and this is a way to spare them that anxiety in their last moments. But many simply want the animal to die in familiar surroundings. Most of us would like to die at home and animals are no different.
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