What to Expect
Your experience with Sweet Dreams will begin when you call to get help with your decision or to make an appointment. We will be here for you every step of the way. The first staff member you will have contact with is one of our receptionists, whose deep compassion and extensive experience will help guide you to the right decision. They are amazing to talk to and will be able to answer all of your questions. They will also be able to help you schedule your appointment, when you are ready.
Please scroll down to learn what to expect with:
- The actual appointment
- Children and euthansia
- Other pets and euthanasia
We are often asked whether or not children should be present for euthanasia. Our answer is always the same, it is a very personal decision and everyone has different schools of thought. For more help on deciding if your children should be present, please contact your pediatrician. If that is not an option, you may find the information below helpful. Please click the link below to open a detailed handout on how to discuss euthanasia with your child, as well as information to help you decide if you child should be present.
Other Family Pets:
You have made the decision to euthanize your pet at home, so he/she can be the most comfortable and so that you and your family can be right by his or her side. This is your time to say thank you for the good years. To make sure they feel loved. To provide them with the security that you are there for them. This will give your dog great comfort. You are the one they have relied on for years and you are there for them now. This is also your time to grieve the loss of your family member. Now, I did not know this when I first started Sweet Dreams, but when other dogs are present, especially younger and much healthier dogs, they will likely be interested in the new people in your home. They may want to play, or maybe just check out what we are doing, they may even sense your grief and want to comfort you. None of these actions show bad behavior, but they will distract you from spending those priceless moments with the one you are saying goodbye to. Whether you are telling them to leave you alone, just settle down, or if you believe they are in our way, we want your last moments with your pet to be focused on your pet. You will not get these moments back. It is our job to help you create these last moments exactly how you want them, and I can assure you other dogs present will not bother us at all. We will support your decision. I just present my experiences so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Should you decide to put your healthy dogs in another room, we absolutely recommend allowing them to say goodbye to your pet before we take the body with us. There will be time for this after he/she has passed.
On a slightly different note, dogs are very in-tune to the health of the other dogs in the “pack”. It is quite likely that your other dogs already know that one of the members is ill. You may have noticed different behaviors toward the sick dog. This is very common. Dogs also will grieve the loss. Over the next few days, allow them to grieve with you, spend some extra time with them. This is a hard time for the entire family, pets included.
The Veterinary Team
The veterinary team consists of a licensed Veterinary Medical Doctor and a Veterinary Technician. Approximately 20-30 minutes prior to your appointment, you will receive a phone call letting you know that we are on our way to you and we will give you a GPS estimated arrival time. We respect that this is not a routine visit and we do not want you to wonder where we are. We do our very best to arrive right on time, however since we can not promise that, we can promise to keep you well informed of our estimated arrival time. We dress in scrubs (no white coats) and we will arrive in an Honda mini-van with no markings, so we will not attract attention.
Prior to the procedure
After introductions, the veterinarian and technician will be more than happy to address any of your questions or concerns. Your particular wishes for the appointment can be brought up at this time. Our knowledgable staff can answer any of your questions as we go through the procedure, so please ask, as it is important that you are comfortable with your decision and with what is happening with your pet.
Every pet will receive sedation/anesthesia prior to euthanasia. We have several types of sedation and anesthesia since every pet is different. Pain medications are a part of our protocol as well, so your pet will be comfortable. Heavy sedation/anesthesia will help them gently fall asleep. They will be pain-free and very comfortable in your arms.
The sedation will be administered by an intramuscular injection. This injection may cause minor discomfort, but it will only last moments and is completely gone by the time the injection is done. This is the only momentary discomfort felt by your pet during the entire appointment. **If your pet is still eating and enjoying food, you can certainly offer him or her an amazing treat at the time of this injection! This is a great trick and for a food motivated dog, it can distract them enough so they don't even feel the injection.
Your pet will be under anesthesia at the time of euthanasia. This means that your dog or cat could have surgery and not be aware of what is happening. We do not proceed to euthanasia until your pet is ready and asleep. Once your pet is completely asleep, an intravenous (IV) catheter will first be placed. This will allow the next step, which is injection of the euthanasia solution. Your pet will not feel this injection.
After the injection
Your pet will pass away within a minute of starting the IV injection. The vet will listen to your pets' heart after the injection and will let you know when your pet has passed. However, you will likely already know.
Guidance in helping you make the right decision for your pet, which is not always euthanasia.