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Farewell My Friend

FAQ

What is home euthanasia?

Euthanasia is a greek word meaning “good death” and is a humane way to help an animal die peacefully and pain free. Farewell My Friend seeks to ensure an even more peaceful passing by allowing your pet to make this transition at home, surrounded by loved ones. Having helped many pets who were suffering from cancer, chronic pain or serious illness, Dr Cameron is a firm believer that euthanasia is the final and most caring gift we can give our pets when they have lost their quality of life.

Why doesn’t my regular vet provide a home euthanasia service?

Most general and referral practices are not able to provide home euthanasia to their clients. With scheduled surgeries and consultation appointments, together with caring for in-hospital patients, most clinics cannot spare one of their veterinarians to leave the hospital to provide this service especially at short notice.

Who comes to my home?

Because Dr Cameron operates Farewell My Friend as a sole veterinarian practice, you can be certain that he will be the one attending your home. Dr Cameron is very experienced in sole in-home euthanasia and does not require a vet nurse assistant. Nor will he require your assistance during the procedure either, but he is also happy for you to help if this is your wish.

Why choose an in-home euthanasia for your pet? Why is in-home euthanasia better?

More and more people are learning about the beautiful option of in-home euthanasia for their pets. No one ever says they want to spend their final moments in a hospital. The comfort of your own home is what it is all about. For your pet, few places feel as safe and comfortable as their home. Often, visits to a veterinary clinic are accompanied by stress and anxiety. Most people prefer that their pet’s last moments are as free from stress and anxiety as possible, and remaining in your family’s home during this difficult time allows for a peaceful, stress free passing for your pet.

For you as a person who likely also will be experiencing great stress, anxiety and pain, home is the safest and most comfortable place to be. Being able to grieve in the privacy of your own home is far preferable to waiting in a busy veterinary clinic.

Some people report that having the euthanasia performed in-home made such a difference that they didn’t have to try to forget their pet’s last day and that it made this most difficult decision and experience one that they can remember as a special moment and a good memory, rather than one that would diminish the memory of their family pet.

For many there is a special spot on the couch or a favorite corner that their pet is the most happy. If you have a cat or small dog, the procedure can often be done with your pet in your lap. Euthanasia can also take place outdoors in the yard or under a favorite tree – Dr Cameron has even performed euthanasia at a dog patient’s favorite beach. You are welcome to express your religious or spiritual beliefs freely and Farewell My Friend can accommodate almost any request.

The many benefits of in-home euthanasia include:

  • The presence of family and friends
  • Allowing your pet to rest at home / no upsetting car ride ( especially for cats)
  • Allows the presence of other pets
  • Grieving in private
  • The ability to set a calming atmosphere i.e. candles, music, pictures, flowers etc
  • Location selection is very personalized / inside or outside
  • Religious freedoms
  • Home burial convenience
  • Privacy afterwards, on your terms

In-home pet euthanasia opens up many wonderful possibilities for you, your family, and your beloved pet. Together you can decide when the time is right.

How will I know it’s the right time?

Making the decision to euthanase one’s pet is painful, heartbreaking and often the hardest choice that a pet owner will be faced with regarding their pet.

Throughout the past 29 years, Dr Cameron has helped hundreds of families and individuals through this decision making process. There are no right or wrong answers and there is no “perfect” time. In fact, what Dr Cameron has learnt through experience is that everyone is different and what might be “right” for one person is completely different for another.

So many of us hope for the morning when we wake up and find that our pet has made the difficult decision for us and passed quietly in the night, but this is unfortunately a relatively rare occurrence.

Dr Cameron hopes the information below will help you decide for yourself when the time is right for you and your pet without extending your pet’s life beyond a point where he or she no longer experiences an acceptable quality of life.

This will probably be the most heartbreaking but also the most loving and selfless decision you will ever have to make for your pet.

How do you make the decision to euthanase?

Because our pets cannot clearly express to us their level of pain or discomfort, it can sometimes be difficult to know when to help them move on. This decision is very individual, and best determined by you and your family, though some advice from a veterinary professional can also be very helpful. Dr Cameron is often asked to perform quality of life assessments with the aim of providing a qualified and unbiased assessment of your pet’s individual situation. He will advise on what can and cannot be done and work through the quality of life criteria with you, but in the end, the final decision is of course yours to make. It is very important that you do what feels right for you and your family and Dr Cameron will be supportive and non-judgmental in helping you with your decision.

The following is a list of changes you may notice in your companion that need to be considered when assessing overall quality of life:

  • Dramatic changes in appetite or drinking
  • Loss of interest in activities that once brought joy to them – not interested in playing
  • Confusion, mental distress, increased vocalization, depression, aggression
  • Unable to stand on their own, falling down stairs, collapse
  • Becoming urinary and/or faecal incontinent( accidents in the house) or the inability to toilet without falling down
  • Seems to have more “bad days” than “good days”
  • No longer greeting you at the door
  • Lack of grooming (cats and some dogs)
  • Isolating themselves in the home or back yard
  • Chronic or acute pain – animals rarely cry out in pain, rather, they shift their weight, pant more, appear unsettled, lick joints etc
  • Breathing becomes more of an effort

Who should be present?

This is best answered by those who know and love your pet. You may have as many friends or family members present as you would like. Some people prefer to keep it a small, intimate experience, while others prefer the support of a larger group of people. Witnessing the transition form life to death is a powerful experience, and often helps begin the healing process. If children are present, Dr Cameron will explain the procedure in a way they will understand. Other pets can be present, as long as everyone is comfortable.

Should my children be present for my pet’s euthanasia?

Honesty is what kids deserve while discussing when to euthanase a family pet. When children know how and why their pet passed, it eliminates years of asking questions. Include your children in family discussions: focus on how lucky we are to be able to relieve our pet’s suffering through euthanasia. The entire family should be there, supporting the pet and each other. Most kids need and want to say goodbye but if they don’t want to be present for the actual euthanasia procedure then this decision should be respected. It can be very helpful in the grieving process for children (and adults) to witness just how peaceful and painless home euthanasia can be, but usually most parents make arrangements for very young children to be out of the house during the actual procedure. That said, even very young children can be present while their pet passes – the family can cry and grieve together and start the healing process. Trust yourself to know what to do with your kids – your instincts will usually be right. There are many good books available on pet loss specifically for children.

What about other household pets attending the euthanasia?

It may be a good idea to let other pets in the household see your pet has passed away, especially if they seemed to have a close relationship. In fact, many families have chosen in-home euthanasia in part so that other pet family members may be present. The only time it may not be advisable for the other pet(s) to be there is if they are the kind of pet that would be disruptive during the procedure, but most will settle down after the initial excitement of having a new person come into their home abates. Some owners prefer to have the other pet(s) separated until after the euthanasia process is complete.

What sorts of preparations need to be made beforehand?

There is very little that you need to do before Dr Cameron’s arrival. It is good to decide where and how you would like the procedure to take place. Outside in a favorite garden or sleeping area are popular locations or if you have a small dog or cat, having them lay on your lap is a nice option. Often, having an old towel or blanket available is helpful in case your pet eliminates during the process. Otherwise, just focus on spending meaningful time with your companion. If your pet is still eating it is fine to feed some favorite foods during and after the sedative injection. There are no food restrictions before or during the visit.

It can also often be helpful to give some thought to body aftercare options which can include private or communal cremation, cemetery burial or private burial.

What will happen during the in-home euthanasia procedure?

Dr Cameron will arrive at your home and will introduce himself to you, your family and your pet and will talk with you about the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

Next, a calming sedative and pain relief injection is given carefully under the skin at the back of the neck with a tiny needle. This is often essential as it is very important for your pet not to be in any discomfort or feel any anxiety during the process. Peaceful relaxation and sometimes full unconsciousness generally occurs within 5-15 minutes. When you and your family are ready, a concentrated euthanasia solution is administered in a completely painless intravenous injection into a vein on the back leg allowing the family to be gathered near their pet’s head. The breath and heart rate gradually slow to a stop, usually within seconds and Dr Cameron will listen to your pet’s heart to let you know when he or she has passed. During the process you may notice shallow, faster breathing and usually the eyes will stay open. Your pet’s skin may twitch briefly and the diaphragm may spasm causing one to three sudden deep breaths. This is all normal but may not happen in every instance and is just the body’s way of shutting down.

Is it painful for my pet?

Every effort is taken to make the process as painless and as stress-free as possible for your beloved pet. In most cases, the euthanasia process involves two injections. An initial sedative injection is given, which allows your pet to drift into a pain free, relaxed state. Some dogs and cats experience a brief “sting” at the sedative injection site that lasts for a second or two. Once sedated, the second injection, which is an intravenous overdose of an anaesthetic agent, can be given with your pet being essentially unaware of its administration. This is a rapid, peaceful, painless process, lasting only seconds in duration.

How long does it take?

Dr Cameron feels it is important to give pets and their owners as much time as they need during this very emotional and difficult time. While occasionally he will sense and respect that some owner’s preference is to complete the procedure expeditiously, he will carefully evaluate the family’s comfort level at each step of the process, and is prepared to take as much time as is needed so that no one ever feels that they are rushed to say goodbye.

Visits can last as little as 20 minutes or as long as 60 minutes depending on the owner’s wishes.

What happens afterward? What are my options regarding my pet’s remains after euthanasia?

After Dr Cameron has listened to your pet’s heart and confirmed their passing, you will be given an opportunity to be alone with your pet if you wish. If Dr Cameron will be transporting your pet for cremation he will help you gently wrap your pet and use a stretcher to help move your pet to his vehicle. Your pet will then be transported directly from your home to Lawnswood Pet Crematorium’s Perth Headquarters.

In some cases, owners may chose to make their own arrangements or to bury their pet on their own property (owners should check their local council regulations regarding this). If you feel that having your pet’s ashes returned to you (private cremation) would be comforting, Lawnswood can deliver them back to you in person or you can pick them up from their Perth office.

Wherever possible, a discussion regarding aftercare options will occur either when you make your appointment or before the euthanasia process begins unless you specify otherwise.

How do I know that my pet’s remains are treated respectfully and that I am really getting only my pet’s ashes returned?

Many people have this concern. Dr Cameron has been associated with Lawnswood Pet Cremation services for many years and trusts them implicitly. He is at their facility almost on a daily basis and witnesses just how professional and compassionate they are – you will find them very comforting to deal with.

Private cremation means your pet’s remains are completely separated from others, thus their ashes alone are saved for you. For those who wish to keep only photos and memories, pets are cremated in a group (communal cremation) and their ashes are then buried.

How much does a home euthanasia cost and what methods of payment are accepted?

The fee for in-home euthanasia depends primarily on how large or heavy your pet is. Larger pets require more sedative and euthanasia agents and fee weight ranges  reflect this. Travel time and distance are also factors and although these are included in the euthanasia fees for inner Perth suburbs, a travel surcharge generally applies to those in outer suburbs or towns due to the increased time and travel costs.

Payment can be made by cash, cheque, eftpos, Visa or Mastercard and can be organised either before or after the euthanasia procedure depending on your wishes.

  • Small dogs and cats ( under 10kg) – $275
  • Dogs (10-20kg) – $295
  • Dogs (20-30kg) – $325
  • Dogs (30-40kg) – $345
  • Dogs (40-50kg) – $365
  • Dogs (50-60kg) – $385
  • Dogs (60-70kg) – $410
  • Dogs (70-80kg) – $435

Transport to Lawnswood for cremation or burial
Travel distance dependent, but generally around $120

Cremation
Can be arranged through Lawnswood Pet Crematorium.

Burial
Can be arranged through Lawnswood Pet cemetery.

Please call Lawnswood or check their website for their fees.

Lawnswood Pet Cremation and Cemetery

Phone (08) 9248 6464
Fax (08) 9248 7566
Email care@lawnswood.com.au

What days and hours are available for appointments?

Dr Cameron makes himself available as much as possible 7 days a week but to guarantee a preferred date/time, an appointment should be made by at least the day or evening before if possible. Due to the unpredictability associated with many in-home euthanasia requests, same day, short notice and emergency requests are accepted and can usually be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis and every effort is made to help every request. Dr Cameron generally performs calls within the hours of 9am-6pm but will occasionally make exceptions to this. For after hours emergency euthanasias (7pm – 7am)  it is best to contact one of the following 24 hour veterinary facilities.

Murdoch Pet Emergency Centre

Phone: 1300 652 494
Fax: (08) 9360 7330

Balcatta Veterinary Hospital

59 Erindale Road Balcatta WA 6021
Phone: (08) 9345 4644
Fax: (08) 9240 1041

Perth Vet Emergency

Wanneroo Rd and Royal St Yokine WA 6060
Phone: 1300 040 400

How do I make an appointment?

Appointments can be made by calling 0428 852 340, or by emailing. If you don’t get a direct response, Dr Cameron will get back to you as soon as possible to arrange an appointment time, usually within an hour or so.

Email and voicemail messages of a non urgent nature received after 6 pm will be returned on the next business day. Be sure to include the following information in your voicemail or email message:

  • Your full name
  • Your address including house number, street and suburb
  • Your telephone number(s)
  • Your email address
  • Your pet’s name, species, breed, age and sex
  •  The best way to contact you – email/phone

What areas are serviced?

All Perth metropolitan suburbs within a 50km radius of the Perth CBD are covered and Dr Cameron will consider all requests outside of these areas but cannot guarantee availability.

What options are there to memorialise my pet?

There are many ways in which you can memorialise your pet and celebrate his or her life. Regardless of whether you choose to have your pet’s cremated remains (ashes) returned to you or not, or if you’ve chosen to bury your pet, some of the options to consider include:

  • Writing a poem, story or thoughts memorialising your pet
  • Planting a tree or flowering shrub over the grave or buried ashes or just in a special area where your pet liked to lay
  • Donating to a favorite charity in your pet’s memory – perhaps an animal rescue group or a shelter
  • Creating a scrapbook, photo collage, video montage, or memorial table to celebrate their life and their place in your family and heart
  • Organising a trip to the beach or to your pet’s favorite hiking trail to honor their memory, or perhaps throwing a party or having a special meal in their honor
  • Commissioning a piece of art – either containing a small amount of the cremated remains, or not
  • Clipping a piece of their hair, making a paw print of ink or clay, taking a last photograph.
  • You may also place a written memorial with photographs on our Farewell My friend Facebook page.

What types of pets can be helped?

Dr Cameron provides euthanasia primarily for smaller domestic pets such as dogs, cats, birds and exotics. He does not currently provide euthanasia services for livestock or horses.

What if we prefer not to have the procedure done in our home?

Off-site euthanasia is also available if you would prefer to have the euthanasia performed in a neutral environment instead of in your home or at a veterinary clinic.

What if my cat or dog is very aggressive?

Dr Cameron has the ability and experience to safely sedate and euthanase  almost any household companion pet.

My pet is like my child. How will I ever get over this loss?

There is no greater love than that between a parent and a child. Some may say a dog is just a dog or a cat is just a cat, but those who love them know differently. Fortunately, today’s world is recognising that love more and more and acknowledging how hard the loss of a pet can be. There are counseling services and resources designed to help families and individuals through this difficult time. If you know you or someone in your family is going to have a very hard time with the loss of a pet, you might want to connect with a local counselor even before euthanasia takes place. Healing takes time and everyone grieves differently. Please remember that you are not alone and others care.

For more information on pet loss and grief visit the links below: