This is a copy of the letter I sent to the animal hospital the day after Louise was euthanized..........
June 27, 2008
To Whom It May Concern,
I am a pet lover. My pets are part of my family and enrich my life immensely. I take good care of my pets and they lead a very pampered life.
Earlier this year we were faced with that awful decision that comes at the end of a pet's life. Our Collie, Sarge, was almost 14 years old. He was going blind and having trouble making it out the door in time to relieve himself. We knew the day was coming soon, but didn't dwell on it. We continued to love our old pal and clean up his messes. He wasn't in pain and we were just happy to have him with us for as long as we could. All this changed on April 12th. Sarge apparently had a stroke. His brother dog, Oscar, brought his plight to my attention and we spent our last weekend giving Sarge all the love we could. On Monday we called your facility and made the dreaded appointment to euthanize our beloved pet.
I don't remember the name of the vet that day. This was my first experience and I was understandably emotional. What I do remember is how sensitive and compassionate she was. She explained the entire procedure before she began, allowing us to say goodbye to him and tell her when we were ready to proceed. The entire staff was wonderful, allowing him to die in our presence with the dignity he deserved.
Our 11 year old Saint Bernard began refusing food and water in late June. She had been mourning the death of her brother, Sarge, and never really returned to her old playful self. She was whimpering in pain from her arthritis and this made our decision. I once again made that dreaded appointment. My husband couldn't accompany this time, but after my first experience I felt I could handle it. My good friends, who also loved Louise, insisted on going with me.
We arrived 10 minutes early, knowing I would need help getting her out of the car and into the building. I had given Louise some Benadryl, along with her pain medication. I went in to let the receptionist know that we were there and would need assistance and was told that someone would be out soon. After 20 minutes I asked again for some help and was told it was coming "soon". After 40 minutes I decided to simply leave. This decision was hard enough to make without having it prolonged. It was then that the vet, Dr. Sherry, appeared with her assistant and a back board. Fearing that they would drop my big dog and cause her even more pain, I eased her down out of the car to walk her in. She was disoriented and I was gently nudging her along when the vet decided to lasso her with a leash and try to drag her into the building. She was in pain and I could see no reason for the sudden hurry, so I removed the lead and continued our slow progress. After waiting 40 minutes, I felt that they could wait for her to walk as slowly as she needed to. We were escorted to a room and I sat down on the floor to ease her down. I ended up with her back end half in, half out of my lap. With no communication to me at all, they shaved her arm and injected her and pronounced her "gone". The assistant who had been holding my dogs head away from the vet, stood to leave and simply let her head fall to the floor. I will never forget the sound as it echoed in the room. We were told to leave when ever we were ready.
I cannot express to you how horrible this experience was. I own my own business and know that feedback--whether positive or not-- is important. I hope that you will consider my experience when dealing with grieving pet owners in the future.
As of today I have received no response to my letter. I found it harder to grieve given the circumstance. I carried guilt that I let my sweet old girl be put down in such a matter. Nothing I can do about it. I keep a copy of this letter at my desk and if asked for a recommendation for a vet, I will hand it to the person and tell them that I can tell them where not to go..............