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Local Vet Offers In-Home Geriatric and Hospice Pet Services
By Nancy E. Sheppard

LocalV imageOne of the hardest parts of being a "pet parent” is that time when you have to say "goodbye.”

When I moved in with my then-fiancé in March 2007, we decided we wanted a cat. I remember seeing our "Tinky” in one of the pet adoption centers at PetsMart in Chesapeake, VA. He was black and white with crossed green-blue eyes, about 7 years old, and a stray from a "high kill” shelter on the Eastern Shore. I knew he was meant to "adopt us.” Since then, Tinky has been our "fur child” through starting our marriage that June, two children, my husband joining the Navy, living in two states with eight moves, and countless memories and endless love. Anyone who ever met him, fell in love with him… even those who weren’t necessarily "cat people.”

Now, Tinky is 19 years old. His health was steadily declining and, recently, that pace has quickened considerably. My husband and I knew that "it was time.”

Making the decision for euthanasia for a "fur baby” is never an easy one to make. There is a lot of wrestling with the choice and clinging on to hope even when there is none left. Tinky was always the type of cat that hated leaving the house, especially for vet appointments. When we made the decision to end his suffering, we knew that we needed an in-home alternative. That is when we turned to Dr. Melanie Cohen, DVM, of Angel Pets In-Home Hospice Care for help.

Her website is very transparent on the procedure, costs, and answering any questions and doubts we had. We knew that we didn’t want Tinky to feel stressed or scared in a largely unfamiliar, clinical environment at the end of his life. We wanted him at home, comfortable, and surrounded by the people he loved.

The date we chose with Dr. Cohen’s team was November 4, 2018. We spent the day before cuddling him, extended family visits, feeding him his favorite food (KFC chicken), and letting him rest in the sun. He struggled getting around and showed every sign that "it was time.” Sometimes the kindest things to do are the hardest decisions to make.

On the morning of November 4th, Dr. Cohen called us to talk to us before she arrived. Once she came to our home, she gave Tinky a thorough examination. We needed to know that there was nothing that we could do. And our suspicions were correct. She took considerable time to answer all of our questions and explained everything to our children. She exuded love, compassion, and felt like a member of our family.

Tinky’s end was quick and painless. He was in my arms as we pet him and told him how much we love him. He was so frail that it only took moments. Once we were ready after he "crossed,” Dr. Cohen lovingly placed him in a basket with a few blankets, as if he were just asleep. As heartbreaking as losing him was, Dr. Cohen made the experience peaceful for him and for our family. We miss him terribly but are so thankful that he left us surrounded by love.

If your pet needs hospice or end of life services, I highly recommend this route. For Tinky, he wasn’t scared or stressed at the end of his life. He was in his home, surrounded by those he loved, and in my arms. Dr. Cohen was absolutely exceptional. She took away the cold, "clinicalness” of euthanasia and made it such warm, loving time with our family.

If you would like to contact Dr. Cohen and her team with Angel Pets In-Home Hospice Care, you can visit their website at www.angelpetvet.com  or give them a call at 757- 774-7040.


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