Like a growing number of vets in the region, Rabinowitz, who is based in Baltimore, decided a few years ago to build her practice on end-of-life house calls for those who want more for their pets’ last moments than a frightened scrabble on a cold steel exam table. At $200 for a sedative followed by the killing barbiturate, she charges more than twice what most vets do for an office euthanasia. But she has found no shortage of owners willing to pay the premium.
“Going to the vet was always stressful,” Schenning said. “I didn’t want her last day on this Earth to be, ‘Oh, no, we’re going into that white building.’ ”...
Back in the day, of course, it was common for family animals to die at home, whether from natural causes, a shot from the family rifle or a needle from the bag of a vet who routinely traveled from house to house and farm to farm. But the rise of clinic-based animal care meant that the most common scene of a pet’s demise shifted to an office setting.
Now it’s shifting back, according to Kathleen Cooney, a Colorado veterinarian who works as a consultant to practitioners getting into the home-euthanasia business. On average, three vets a month sign up for the national service she runs, the In Home Pet Euthanasia Directory...Related: Scott Adams puts his cat down.
The home setting allows for some very personal expressions of pet love and loss, Erwin said. In the three or four euthanasias she does a week, she has put animals to sleep in “favorite spots” ranging from front porches to under trees, even on the couches and cushions that might have been forbidden them in life.
At one Leesburg house recently, the death watch was more of a party. Grandparents and neighbors sipped wine and told stories about the old dog. The children had drawn pictures to be cremated with him. A 9-year-old boy never left his pet’s side until after Erwin had applied two sedatives and, when they were ready, the final shot. Then the boy went up and got the blanket off his own bed to wrap the still body.
“It’s so sweet and profound,” Erwin said. “The kids saw that death doesn’t have to be this horrible monster at the end of the book.”