Vet makes house calls to euthanize pets

11:48 AM, May 30, 2011   |    comments
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  • Dani McVety

ODESSA, Florida -- As supportive, as compassionate, and as beautiful as she is, Dani McVety knows that wherever she travels - heartache, tears and grief are almost certain to follow.

"I think what took the longest to get used to is when you knock on the door and they open the door and they start crying," she says.

That's because doctor McVety, a trained veterinarian with the face of an angel - is an angel - of death.

Her mission - making house calls, often on short notice, to families who've decided the time has come to say good-bye to a loyal companion.

"It's hard, but over the past 18, 19 months I've gotten to where I can help them through that," she says.

On the day we travelled with her, Dr. McVety was visiting Teri and Mitch Davis. The Odessa couple's 14-year-old springer spaniel - Goldie - who has been suffering from arthritis and cancer has taken a turn for the worse.

But rather than bring Goldie to the cold, unfamiliar surroundings of a vet's office or shelter to be euthanized, the Davis's wanted her final moments, to be with them. In her own surroundings, comforted by the family that has loved her since she was a puppy.

"I want her home where she feels comfortable and she feels safe," said Teri. "So that's why we make the decision to do this."

"You're in your home. You're on your floor. You're in your house," added Mitch. "And you have some sense of control when you're ready. And she doesn't do anything until you're ready."

There is no pressure. Dr. McVety gives the Davis's and all of her clients, as much time as they want and need.

Among the tears there are words of love and loyalty. Soft pats. Kisses on Goldie's head.

It's in these final moments, Dr. McVety remembers why she does - what she does.

"Neither the family or the pet should be in an anxious position at that very last moment," she says, "It's the very best that a bad moment can be."

When everyone agress they're ready, Dr. McVety explains each step in a soft, reassuring voice.

First, a sedative to make Goldie comfortable.

"I'm just gonna place the needle and then I'll ask you guys when you're ready, ok?" she asks them.

When the Davis's agree, the lethal dose of drugs is administered. Goldie, already sleeping, passes Under their gentle strokes.

Dr. McVety checks Goldie's heart.

"She's gone," she tells them.

As her clients think back on better times, Dr. McVety provides each of them with a set of thoughtful keepsakes. A lock of hair. A lasting imprint of their companion's paw, and a written record of their pet's birth and death.

"I think it reminds you there were many more good times than bad," says Mitch, appreciating the gestures. "We were fortunate to have her for 14 years, for a dog like that."

Dr. McVety also shrouds each animal in a blanket, embroidered with the words "Love and Dignity".

She also handles the cremation or burial arrangements, as per the pet owners' wishes.

For now, Dr. McVety "Lap of Love" practice - a full-time, in-home pet-euthanization and hospice service, is considered uncommon among veterinarians

That's why the Davis's say they were willing to share such a profoundly sad, and private moment.

"Our goal was to have people see a very personal thing, but we wanted to let people know there's a different way to do it," said Mitch.

"You feel like you get to say goodbye. She gives you that time," added Teri, "You're in the privacy of your own home."

The Davis's thank Dr. McVety as she leaves. Yes, thank her. And that's all this Angel of Death needs, to know for her clients, she is really an Angel of Mercy.

"I know that I'm doing a good thing. I know," she says.

Dr. McVety's fee is about twice that of a traditional euthanization and cremation, but her clients say for the peace it beings them - and their pet - it's worth every penny.

For a link to her services, click here: "Lap of Love"







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