Being in a foreign place during times of vulnerability is difficult. For a sick pet, dying in the comfort of home can be a more peaceful experience for the pet and its family.
Dr. Kiva James, along with her business partner, Dr. Kara Abeyta, recently launched Heavenly Paws House Calls — a mobile business out of Winter Garden to bring the option of in-home euthanasia and pet hospice .
James said euthanasia is a merciful death — people consider it for pets when their illnesses and conditions cannot be treated and cured.
“Compassion is the key,” James said. “The family decides on a good death instead of the animal suffering.”
James has been a general practice veterinary for 14 years. She worked at a clinic prior to starting Heavenly Paws House Calls. The idea for the business when her last child was born; James decided she needed to find a way to achieve a good work-life balance.
Although euthanasia may be a difficult process for a pet’s family, James said she makes it her mission to give the pet a natural end-of-life experience.
“There can be beauty in saying goodbye in a comforting way,” James said.
Although veterinary clinics do not rush the process of euthanasia, James said families cannot go at their desired pace. Families tend to get 30 to 45 minutes with their pet during the process, James said. The option of euthanasia at home allows the family to take as much time as necessary.
“It’s a difficult job, but I’m helping by doing it in a friendly way,” she said. “It’s a service to the pet. Families are so grateful for that peaceful goodbye.”
James said Abeyta has the hospice certification, which involves providing “pain control and physical comfort to the pet in the last phases of an incurable disease, or at the natural end of life.
“Pet hospice is a less well-known area in veterinary science,” James said. “Hospice is the time frame before euthanasia. We try to keep the pet as comfortable as possible.”
Counseling also is offered for the family in preparation for the euthanasia to help them cope with the process. Heavenly Paws House Calls has a series of resources for the family on its website, as well.
Reasons a pet would be eligible for pet hospice and euthanasia is if they have cancer, severe arthritis that causes mobility issues, congestive heart failure, diabetes, uncontrolled seizures, and kidney failure, which is common in cats.
The pets also may be eligible if their old age is interfering with their basic functions, like eating, sleeping, spatial recognition, etc.
“People are so grateful with every appointment,” James said. “Every family is grateful for what we do.”