Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance do I need to set an appointment? Do you take same-day appointments?
We know that often when you need us, it is urgent. We try our best to accommodate same day appointments, and almost always can help within 48 hours. The only day that we do not see appointments is Sunday, but we are still available by phone.
How are fees determined?
In order to make sure that you and your pet have the best experience possible, our doctor is dedicated solely to you during your appointment time. We base our fees on how big your pet is and how far the doctor needs to travel in order to reach your home. You can see our interactive map to help determine any drive fee that may be necessary.
What can I expect from a quality-of-life consult?
It can feel impossible to know whether or not your pet is ready for euthanasia. If you are having trouble making that determination, our doctor can come and do a consultation. It will involve reviewing your pet’s medical history, an exam and observation of your pet in his or her home, and a discussion of your concerns. If, at that time, you and the doctor determine that euthanasia is best, then that can be done during the same appointment. If you or your pet are not ready, then the doctor will help determine a plan to keep your pet comfortable until it is time.
What can I expect during the euthanasia appointment?
Our goal is to help make the process as peaceful as possible. Appointments typically last 30-45 minutes. Please feel free to have your pet wherever they are most comfortable, inside or out. The doctor will have a brief discussion about your pet and the process and you will sign a consent form. In order to make sure that your pet is as comfortable as possible, the doctor will give them medication under the skin to help him or her relax. Once they are relaxed, usually about 5-10 minutes, the final medication will be given in a vein. This is an overdose of anesthesia. It works first on the brain, making sure that your pet doesn’t feel anything. Then quickly breathing and heart slow. Typically a pet passes within 1-2 minutes after giving the medication.
What do we do with my pet’s body after?
Our doctor can assist with arranging and transporting for cremation. We work closely with Paws, Whiskers, and Wags in Decatur. There are two choices for cremation. Private cremation means that your pet will be cremated completely by themselves and their ashes will be placed in a wooden urn to be returned to you. You may pick your pet’s ashes up at the crematory or they will drive them to your family vet’s office. If you prefer to not have your pet’s ashes returned, then your pet can be communally cremated and the ashes will be returned respectfully to the earth.
What are my payment options?
Most families prefer to pay before the appointment so they don’t have to think about it afterward. This can be done over the phone or via an invoice that can be paid online. We also accept cash, checks, venmo, and care credit. If you choose to write a check, it may be easiest to have a check made payable to ‘Heron’s Crossing’ prepared before the doctor arrives.
Should my children be present?
You know your children best when it comes to deciding if they should be present. What we typically find is that children under the age of 5 may not fully understand what is happening. Parents may need to focus on the children and may not be able to grieve the way they would be able to otherwise. With that being said, if children have an understanding of what is happening and are well supported, then they absolutely may benefit from being a part of the experience. Our team or doctor would be more than happy to talk with you more if needed.
Should my other pets be present?
One of the nice things about being at home is that other pets in the home will know what is happening. You know your pets best. As long as your pets get along, then they are welcome to be present. We have found that often other pets in the home act in one of two distinct ways. They are either very interested and want to be very close or they are aware but want to be distanced. We recommend honoring whatever your pet is deciding to do.
What do I do if some family members or friends cannot be present?
We welcome anyone that you would like to be there to honor your pet. If someone cannot be there directly at the time of the appointment, there are a a couple of options. You may decide to have friends and family visit prior to so they can say goodbye. Often friends and family can be present by video chat. This can be especially helpful for out-of-town loved ones.
What do I do overnight?
If you are experiencing an emergency overnight, please reach out to your nearest veterinary emergency clinic. Unfortunately at this time we do not offer overnight assistance.