Friday, May 6, 2011
Medical Reports: Saying Goodbye
When to put our pets to sleep is the hardest decision a pet owner to make. In a special assignment report, 7's Craig Stevens shows us how one local doctor has made saying goodbye easier for the pet and their owners.
WSVN -- Niko Thomas spent the last 13 years with two of the best friends she could ask for her golden retrievers Mickey and Meg.
Niko Thomas: "All they want to do is make you smile."
The 34-year-old says the dogs were there for many of her life's triumphs and painful trials.
Niko Thomas: "College, going through nursing school, the loss of my father."
But last month, one of the dogs Meg suddenly started having seizures and her health quickly declined.
Niko Thomas: "You don't ever want to let go, but when you start to see them suffer, your heart just breaks and you realize it's that time."
Even though Niko knew she had to put Meg to sleep, she couldn't bare the thought of leaving her longtime friend at the vet's office.
Niko Thomas: "I didn't want them to be in that strange and cold environment."
After a lot of research she found veterinarian Mary Gardner. Mary recently left her general practice to start a business where she could help make a pet's last days easier on them and their owners.
Mary Gardner: "So many people in my clinic asked me to come to their home so I really saw a need for it in the area."
Mary offers two different services hospice care where she focuses on making the pet's last days comfortable and then putting animals to sleep.
Mary Gardner: "It's the worst decision for people to make, knowing when to euthanize their pet, and say goodbye because they don't want to do it too soon, but they also don't want to wait and let their pet suffer."
Mary works with pet owners to decide when the time is right and she says being at their home makes things less stressful on everyone.
Mary Gardner: "Being at home already sets the stage for them not being anxious. Also, they feed off our emotion and then the owner is emotionally upset they know it. Being at home decreases the owners stress too."
She gives people as much time as they need to say goodbye and will come when ever she's needed. She helped Niko let go of Meg the way she wanted to.
Niko Thomas: "Just laid with her with her toys and let her fall asleep peacefully. I couldn't have asked for anything better."
Sadly it wasn't the only goodbye, Niko has endured this month just weeks after letting meg go mickey suddenly started having seizures too and took a turn for the worst.
Niko Thomas: "Mary will be coming tonight and my last dog will be going."
But she knows having Mary there will make it a warm goodbye for them both.
Niko Thomas: "They've lived a happy good life and I want to give them a happy peaceful closure."
A week later she now has both of her dog's ashes and a way to hold on to her long time friends.
Mary Gardner: "They are forever in my heart and I know they are up above and watching."
Mary's services don't cost much more than what it would cost at the vet's office, the service costs around $250.