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Taking the Peaceful Pathway with At-Home Pet Euthanasia

By Kelly Church

With an understanding that pets are family members more than they are actually pets, Peaceful Pathways for Pets is giving pet parents an opportunity to let their terminally ill and geriatric pets go in a peaceful, comfortable way. In contrast to euthanasia in a veterinarian office, Peaceful Pathways for Pets is a Frisco, TX at-home euthanasia service inspired by the belief that, like people, pets are most comfortable at home.

Dr. Melissa Pearson is a doctor of veterinary medicine with more than 20 years in the business, including performing in-hospital euthanasia over several years. Pearson started Peaceful Pathways in 2002 after realizing the need for pet parents to have another option. Inspired by her own personal struggle having pets with terminal illnesses, Peaceful Pathways was created.

"I think that people are, in general, looking for more alternative, natural, even holistic choices for their pets," Pearson says. "People want to do the best they can for their pets as they are now not just pets, they are truly family members. They want their final moments to be peaceful, calm and not stressful."

Pearson believes that deciding if pet euthanasia is right for an animal involves determining the pet's quality of life before making a final decision. Things to consider include if the animal can walk, eat, drink and if the pet still greets and recognizes his or her owner. While there are many important factors to consider, Pearson says these are a few initial signs that euthanasia is an option.

"I really try to guide them to help them decide what is best for their individual situation, but I also refer them back to their regular veterinarian as well who has an established relationship with the pet and the owners to help them address specific medical concerns as well for their opinion," Pearson says. "Ultimately, I leave it to the pet parent to decide what is best for their pet."

Should a pet parent choose euthanasia through Peaceful Pathways, the process is calm, smooth and painless for the animal. Pearson insists the pet is given a combination of medications prior to the euthanasia to ease nerves and provide any pain relief. This step ensures that pets and pet parents are as comfortable with the process as possible.

"We really try to customize our service to our owners' wishes. The owner can choose where we do the euthanasia, indoor, outdoors, in their arms, over their shoulder, whatever they think makes the pet the most comfortable," says Pearson. "It really calms the pets and makes them feel good and it also calms the owner to know their pet is relaxing and comfortable."

Pearson also welcomes other family members and other household pets to the service. She believes that by letting other family pets to be there, it helps with the grieving process for the pets, allowing them to know that the pet died instead of disappearing and never coming back.

Once a euthanasia service is performed, Pearson's office offers three aftercare options: burial, private cremation or communal cremation. Pet parents are allowed to decide before the euthanasia is performed, giving them peace of mind during and after the procedure, something that people are starting to look for more frequently when deciding their pets' end-of-life care.

"I believe people look to this service because they do not want their pets final moments to be in a cold, sterile, stressful environment," Pearson says. "We truly try to make things as comfortable as possible for both the pet and the pet owner."

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