Niche Service Helps Pet Owners Say Goodbye

The Coloradoan:

When Merlin, a Labrador/Doberman mix, was nearing the end of his life last summer, the family that had loved him for 14 years resolved that he would draw his final breath at home.

When the time came, Marie Commiskey’s son and two daughters, who had grown up with Merlin, gathered at her Littleton home – one flew in from Seattle- to bid farewell.

They went on a picnic (Merlin got to have hot dogs, his favorite). Then they returned home, lit candles, settled next to the old dog, and Merlin went peacefully, surrounded by love.

“This, for us, was the only way to do it,” says Commiskey, a portrait photographer.

The at-home euthanasia was performed by veterinarian Ann Brandenburg-Schroeder, whose Denver-area practice, Beside Still Water, is devoted exclusively to providing that service.

Brandenburg-Schroeder, who started the practice in 2000, was among the first of a new type of veterinarian specialists – home euthanasia vets – that in recent years has begun taking root in different areas of the country.

They travel to the pet’s home at whatever time they’re asked and administer the injection according to preferences stated by the owner – sometimes with friends and family gathered around, sometimes under a favorite tree, sometimes alone with the pet because the owner doesn’t want to be in the room during the final seconds.

Photo by BeverlyLR.

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