Hospice Care

Veterinary hospice focuses on caring, not curing.

Pleasant Paws Hospice Care.

We understand that serious illness profoundly impacts not only the patient but also family and loved ones. Our staff members serve as teachers, enabling the family to care for their pet’s medical and emotional needs at home. We focus on giving pets a pain-free, caring, intimate end-of-life experience in their familiar home environment. Our care focuses on providing pain control and physical comfort to the pet while also offering educational support and emotional comfort for the family (until natural death occurs or euthanasia is chosen). We make a pet’s death a kinder, more comforting experience for both the pet and his or her family and allow families to say goodbye in the comfort of their own home.

Determining if hospice care is right for your pet can be a challenge for pet parents. The best way to come to a decision is to schedule an in-home consultation with our doctor and nurse. As a team, we can sit down and discuss your pet’s diagnosis, prognosis, current condition, and quality of life. Let us guide you with these troubling concerns to formulate a plan that works best for you and your pet.

· In-Home Hospice Consultation – $80

· Travel fees (based on distance of your home from our clinic):

<5 miles – $40
5 – 10 miles – $50
10 – 20 miles – $55
20 – 30 miles – $60
30 – 40 miles – $65
An additional tool you may use to aid in this decision is a Quality of Life Assessment. Please see the following link to download and print the assessment. It is recommended that everyone involved in the pet’s care take the assessment individually, then come together as a group to discuss your results.

Pet Quality of Life Assessment – What Level of Care is Right for My Pet?

Once a terminal illness has been diagnosed, and the need for hospice care has been determined, it is time to discuss how each family member wishes to proceed. Find out who can dedicate time to the pet’s care and what your resources are. It is also important to learn early on whether you will assist in the natural dying process or choose euthanasia when the time is right. As your hospice provider, we will aid you in this important decision.

Hospice-Assisted Natural Death – If you wait for a natural death, hospice care is critical to prevent suffering by managing pain. We want to meet the pet’s needs right up to the end. This level of hospice care is very involved and will take great dedication from everyone in the home. It can be a very enriching time as you guide your pet along the transition between life and death.

Planned Euthanasia – If you choose euthanasia, your pet can be made comfortable, and your family informed on what signs to look for to indicate the time for euthanasia has come. The duration of hospice care will be reduced, but the level of care will remain high. Euthanasia can be chosen at any time you believe your pet is no longer responding to their medications and treatments.

Assessing life quality is perhaps the most important and challenging part of caring for an aging or terminally ill pet. To make matters more difficult, a pet’s quality of life can change rapidly, sometimes weekly or even daily. As a pet parent, recognizing when current therapies are no longer adequate can be extremely stressful. As your hospice provider, we will help you judge your pet’s condition and educate you on signs to watch for as disease progresses.

Below are some helpful quality of life assessment resources:

·         How Do I Know When It’s Time? (Ohio State University)

·         Pet Quality of Life Scale: (HHHHHMM Scale by Dr. Alice Villalobos)

·         Pet Hospice Journal – Quality of Life Scale and Daily Diary (Lap of Love)

·         Canine Acute Pain Scale (Colorado State University)

·         Feline Acute Pain Scale (Colorado State University)

We strongly encourage you to seek emotional support during your pet’s hospice journey. Caring for a dying pet takes an emotional toll on the caregiver(s). Your own emotional needs are just as important as the needs of your pet. A pet parent who does not invest in good self-care will be less able to care for the pet’s needs adequately.

Support can be found through many sources:

· Certified mental health professionals

· Spiritual and religious leaders

· Support groups

· Family and friends

Whatever support or coping methods you use, please make a point to start caring for yourself early and often. The emotional journey begins well before the loss occurs and continues long after. Truthfully, if you are currently considering end-of-life services for your pet, your journey has already begun.

Grief Counseling and Therapy

Many pet parents are best supported through their grief journey by seeking the advice of a mental health professional. Experienced counselors, therapists, and social workers can provide structured care and a safe environment in which to explore emotions and begin the healing process. Counseling is strongly recommended as a means to cope with the stress of caring for a dying pet as well, not only for the grief process following the death itself.

We are proud to recommend the following local mental health care providers:

Kay E. Whitehead MSW, LCSW, FT

kaywhitehead.com

317-626-3626

Nancy Eisenman MSW, LCSW and associates (Counseling for adults, families, and children)

Peace Counseling Group

317-605-7015

Confidential and Secure Online Counseling available

Local Support Groups – sponsored by Rose Pet Memorial Center

Some pet parents can feel isolated in their grief, particularly if their friends, family, and co-workers do not have pets. Non-pet-owners can seem unsympathetic to the pain of pet loss: “It’s just a dog,” “It’s just a cat.” Pet loss support groups are an excellent way to connect with others who understand the sadness associated with saying goodbye to a pet who is more than just an animal but is, in fact, a beloved part of the family. Sharing your experiences with others who have had similar struggles and who share your love of animals can be particularly comforting.

Support groups are open to both pet parents who have lost a pet and those who are anticipating the loss of a pet. Groups meet for an hour on the first week of each month at two Indianapolis locations. Each meeting will have a facilitator. All information discussed is kept confidential. There is no charge to attend.

For support group details, please visit Rose Pet Memorial Center’s website:

Rose Pet Memorial Center Support Groups Info

Online Resources

For those who cannot or do not wish to attend face-to-face support groups, online support groups and communities are an option:

· Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement

· HealGrief.org

· RainbowBridge.com

*NOTE: The views expressed by any representative, member, or affiliate of any support group or association, belong solely to the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pleasant Paws Vet Care or its staff.

Pet Loss and Children

Saying goodbye to a pet can be particularly difficult for kids. Pets and children often seem to have a very special bond – roughhousing, sneaking snacks before dinner, and just generally getting into all kinds of mischief together. Many children grow up with the family pet by their side, never knowing life without them. What’s more, the loss of a pet is often a child’s first experience with death. Dealing with emotions, life, grief, and anger at a tender young age is challenging, to say the least. Fortunately, there are resources available to help parents support their kids through the grieving process. Below are just two examples:

· “I Miss My Pet: A workbook for children about pet loss” by Katie Nurmi©

· A Special Place for Charlee: A Child’s Companion Through Pet Loss by Debby Morehead – ISBN:096540490-0

Below are links to our preferred pet memorialization providers. These dedicated professionals can help you commemorate your pet’s life with specialty urns, gravestone markers, cremation jewelry, and more.

·         Rose Pet Memorial Center

·         Pet Angel Memorial Center