1 Last Gift, At-Home Pet Euthanasia

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In Loving Memory

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Nikita's Story

Last night we all shared a remarkable experience here at our home as we said "Goodbye" to our beloved friend Nikita. We had rescued Nikita from the pet store where she was sick with Giardia almost 14 years ago. She was the most beautiful Siberian Husky, and although she was smaller than most Huskies due her illness, she never showed any signs that it affected her otherwise. Always ready to make a break for the open door or window, she was the eternal escape artist. Always trying to figure out ways to escape the yard and running free. Yet, when we would take her to the dog park, she would run a bit, but then she would go around and visit with people instead of playing with the other dogs. We'd look across the field and there would be Nikita, sitting next to a couple, getting that scratch on the head she loved so much.

The Vet told us a couple of years ago that Nikita's hips were starting to give out. I could see it in the way she went up the stairs. A year ago she had real trouble with the stairs, and soon she wasn't coming upstairs as much. I knew she would be leaving us. When she got sick last week, all the worst was happening to her. She had messed in the house over the weekend, and refused to come indoors, something that had happened before. She was very weak and feeble. We were able to nurse her back to a point where she clearly felt better, but she couldn't move easily. We struggled a for a few days, but deep down we knew this was going to be the end for our wonderful friend. I could see in her eyes that she was counting on us to help her, and not wanting to just put her in the car and take her to the Vet's office, we turned to the Internet to see if there were other options for our baby.

After typing "dog euthanasia" into Google, we found a website that offered in-home euthanasia services in Colorado. It explained all of their services and the different ways of coping with your loss and honoring your loved one. On Thursday, we called their number and talked to Dr. Brandenburg-Schroeder who was not available because of a previous engagement, but gave us the number of Dr. Jason Cordeiro. We called him and found him to be very compassionate and understanding over the phone. He asked us many questions about Nikita and her age, condition, health record, and our family. He told us he would be available on Friday night to help us. We agreed that we would say goodbye to Nikita on the back deck of our home where she spent countless hours relaxing, listening to the sounds of nature and watching the world go by. She had done this for most of her life. Sunset was her favorite time. She would sleep all day, but when the sunset began, she would begin to stir. She usually ended up in the middle of the deck, looking to the West, enjoying our beautiful sunsets.

That's how it happened on Friday. Nikita spent the night on a bed we'd made for her in the garage. Being a Husky, she loved being in the cool temperatures, so she slept well. She was up early and she ate a bit of her dog food and drank. Right away she headed for the deck, as she would each morning. I helped her up the stairs and she started her routine. Lay in this corner for an hour or two, then that corner. We had a terrible day filled with anxiety and self-doubt, but Nikita was enjoying this day to the fullest. We had talked to her and told her how we were going to help her avoid suffering, and she seemed to know. The week had started with us reassuring her that everything would be alright, and ended with her reassuring us that we had made the right decision.

Jason said he would be able to come to our house at 8:15 PM which was perfect for enjoying the sunset. About an hour before he arrived, our family, including our little friend Weasel, gathered on the deck to visit with Nikita and begin to say our goodbyes. She was calm and the sunset had begun. After a final cheeseburger dinner, Jason arrived and Nikita immediately went over to him started giving him doggie kisses. He hugged her and whispered in her ear. The way he interacted with her in that moment assured me that he was a compassionate dog lover. She must have been able to smell the scents of others he had helped and she seemed to know why he was there. I was concerned that she would be nervous and uncomfortable but, a few minutes after greeting him, she turned and made her way to her place on the deck, right in the middle of us. With her head by my lap, she was ready. Jason explained the whole procedure to us and told us what we might expect. We all said a last goodbye and told him to proceed.

As he started with a shot to relax her and relieve any anxiety she might have, she never flinched. She relaxed and we were able to thank her for being our friend for all these years. Even little Weasel came up and gave her a last kiss. There were tears, but Nikita was still a bit responsive and I know she heard us thanking her for sharing her life with us. The sunset was now waning, the color beginning to leave the sky. When we were ready, and Jason knew Nikita was, he administered the second shot which would begin the process of putting her to sleep. Within a few minutes she was sleeping. Still breathing comfortably, but in a deep sleep. More love and kisses. Then, as the sunset ended, she was given the final shot which would end it all. By the time he had finished with the final dose, we watched as her chest rose and fell for the last time. We knew she had left.

We sat there, almost as though we didn't realize what had just happened. Nikita seemed so peaceful. We had arranged for Jason to take Nikita with him and deliver her to a crematory, and he would return her ashes to us. He went around and hugged each of us and then he gently picked her up and we made our way across the back yard and through her dog run for the last time. He had his car waiting with the door open. With the front passenger seat reclined and a clean blanket covering it, he curled Nikita up on the blanket. It looked like she was taking a nap. I bent over and gave her a final kiss, and when I came away from the car with tears streaming down my cheeks, Jason gave me a big hug, reassuring me that Nikita was OK now and that we had done the right thing for her.

I walked back up the driveway and turned to watch as he drove away. In the house things were somber, but we all seemed to realize that Nikita knew what was happening and that it was her time. We sat around a small shrine we had made with some candles and favorite pictures of our good friend from better days.

I slept better last night because I could see by her actions that Nikita knew what was happening and appreciated that we planned such a wonderful exit for her. Dignity intact, she left this world with no pain or suffering. Jason is part of a group of compassionate Veterinarians that offer these services. Aside from the deaths of my parents, I have never dealt with such emotion. Being able to be with Nikita and share her last moments in peace, and at home, was priceless. We can't think of a better way to honor your beloved pet, and we can't thank these caring individuals enough. God Bless them.

We'll miss Nikita terribly, but her spirit with always be with us.


Home pet euthanasia services offered primarily in Adams County, Boulder County, Broomfield County, Denver County and Weld County in Colorado. Accommodations may be made for home euthanasia services in outlying areas in Colorado with sufficient advance notice. We accept credit card payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover, or you can pay by cash or check. Full payment is due at the time of service. Thank you.

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