Karen and Kylie
It has taken us a couple of weeks to come to terms with the loss of Walter, our 17 year old cat, before we were ready to write to you. You may not remember but I called you on Thursday 31 July 2014 after we had spent a sleepless night with Walter. He was restless, agitated, his dementia was at its worst it had ever been, he wasn’t moving much and his incontinence had worsened. With two weeks off work, life finally slowed down enough for me to realize how much my beautiful boy had deteriorated in the last few months. Kylie was gently telling me this was the case but until I had time away from work, I wasn’t ready to see it.
Calling you that morning was the hardest decision I have ever had to make – Walter was my pet, originally, so I wanted to make the final call though Kylie loved him so much too. I discussed the decision with our local vet and went through all the online checklists. As much as I wanted to find a reason to decide that it wasn’t yet time for Walter, the fact is, it was. The thing holding me back wasn’t Walter’s continued enjoyment of life but, rather, my own reluctance to let him go.
You initially agreed to come to the house at 4:30pm that afternoon. However, as we fed Walter his favourite meal and lay with him by the heater, we realized we couldn’t count down the the six hours in slow motion, waiting for the moment we would have to say goodbye. I called you and , thankfully, you were able to come over within the hour.
Your job can’t be an easy one. It was the most painful decision I’ve ever had to make and, without a doubt the saddest moment of my life. You must experience that same sadness in the room every time. But if there is one thing I am glad I have done, it was to call you so that Walter could pass away in my arms in the peace and comfort of his own home, in his favourite spot in front of the heater. The service you provide is one of the most important services I have ever seen a person offer. It is absolutely invaluable and priceless and we are so grateful that you have dedicated your practice so that pet owners like us have this choice during a time when we are most distressed and unable to make clear decisions. It would have been so traumatic to have to have driven Walter to the vet and euthanized him in a cold, sterile room where he would have been stressed and vulnerable.
You explained the procedure perfectly to us. We knew what was going to happen. Most importantly, between the sedative and the final injection, you slipped to the back of the room where we couldn’t notice you and you gave us time to whisper sweet nothings into Walter’s ear and to say goodbye slowly, without any pressure, and with time to feel peace descend on the room. Thank you for using the most humane method of sedating him first. We are just so grateful for your help. Those were some of the most precious moments of my life and you turned a traumatic and distressing process into something that was close to spiritual, so tangible and gentle was the connection I shared with Walter as he looked into my eyes and passed away. We wish you all the very best with the practice and will always be indebted to you for helping us in the way you did with your availability that day, your flexibility with times , the way you explained the process to us and your subtle way of slipping into the background to really give us a chance to say goodbye. Thank you also for your precious card acknowledging the very real place Walter had in our lives and the void he has left behind.