How much time in advance do we need to make the appointment?
We prefer a minimum of 24 hours. Since all of the veterinarians and technicians in the Gentle Goodbyes team are on-call to do the appointments it may take us a few hours to find a team to come to your home. By giving us at least 24 hours notice it will make it easier for us to accommodate the time and day that you prefer.
If you have an emergency situation where you need our help on the same day, by all means, please call us. We cannot guarantee the same-day appointment however we are about 75% successful in arranging same-day appointments.
When you come to our house where should the euthanasia take place?
Anywhere you want. Our hopes are to make this experience as comfortable and stress free for you and your pet as is possible. If your pet is happiest outside, then we are happy to be there with him. If your pet prefers to be indoors then that is where it should be. You will be able to sit next to your pet during the whole process. If you have a small dog or cat you are welcome to hold them. For larger animals they can be situated in their favorite bedding.
We do request that the area you choose is spacious enough so that we can easily work around your pet. It is also helpful if the area is well lit, or has a lighting source closely available.
Should I let my other dog(s) be present?
Most people like for the other animals in the household to be aware that their housemate has passed away. This can be accomplished by letting your other pets into the room after your pet has passed. In this way they can see and smell your pet after he or she is deceased.
Be aware that your other animals may have varied responses to your deceased pet's body. Some may appear sad, withdrawn or distressed, others may lay down with your deceased pet, while others may completely ignore him or her. It is important to show them calm reassurance at this time as your other pets may be frightened by their condition or by your emotions. On rare occasions your other pets may growl or act aggressive towards your deceased pet. In these cases just allow them to slowly adjust to the change in their departed friend.
The Gentle Goodbyes veterinary staff requests that your other pets are placed into a confined area at the time of our arrival. By having them separated, you will be able to focus your undivided attention on the pet that you are saying goodbye to rather than on the distractions that your other animals might create.
Should I let my children be present?
This is a very personal and individual question and the answer depends on the age and maturity of your children and your parenting philosophies. Toddlers and very young children will not understand what is happening during a euthanasia and should probably not be present. They can also be distracting at a time when you will want to dedicate your full attention to your pet. Ideally the euthanasia should be arranged at a time when young children can be away from the household.
For older children we suggest that you discuss with them in advance whether they would prefer to be present at your pet's passing or not. They should understand that your pet will peacefully go into a deep state of anesthesia and then not wake up. It is important not to use the wording "go to sleep" as you don't want young children to equate the act of going to sleep with death. For older children you may decide that this is a good opportunity to teach them about death before they experience it in a more difficult situation in their lives.
Is there anything we should do immediately before your visit?
Yes, give your pet lots of love. Any snack or favorite food your pet wants is fine with us if your pet wants it or can tolerate eating.
My pet does not do well with people and/or has had a history of being aggressive. What should I do?
First of all please let us know.
If your pet is easily excited or has a nervous or aggressive temperament, you may want to speak to your family veterinarian about having a sedative dispensed to give to them before we arrive. You can give the sedative about an hour before our arrival.
If your pet has a history of being aggressive to people or veterinarians, please let us know beforehand and again when we arrive. We are aware and expect that any frightened or painful animal has the potential to bite. A history of aggression will not change our minds about coming to your house but it is important that we know this so that we can keep everyone safe. If your pet has a known history of aggression, we might require that a muzzle is placed on your dog at the time of the procedure. The muzzle will only remain in place until we are able to get a sedative injection into your pet. We will remove the muzzle as soon as your pet is calm from the sedative.
How can we pay and what forms of payment do you accept?
Gentle Goodbyes accepts checks, cash, or credit cards or medical financing through CareCredit. Payment is due at the time of the appointment. We work with an independent crematorium service but the costs of the euthanasia and the cremation should be combined together in a single payment.
If you are interested in applying for care credit please follow this link
We do not want to deny any owner the important service of being able to say goodbye to their family pet in the comfort, and privacy of their own home. For this reason if you have special circumstances please speak to us in advance so that we may set up a payment plan that works for you and your family.
What happens to the body after we are done?
You have a few choices of what to do with your pet after he or she is deceased.
Some people choose to bury their pet in a place of their choice which may be at their family home or a favorite vacation spot. Be sure to check with your local city regulations to insure that it is okay to bury your pet at home. If you are burying your pet be sure that he or she is buried at least three feet deep and at least 300 feet from any water source and at least 50 feet from a property line.
If you are interested in having your pet cremated, the Gentle Goodbyes staff are here to assist you. We will be happy to transport your pet after he or she is deceased to the crematory for cremation.
There are three cremation options which are most commonly chosen:
1) Segregated Private Cremation
At the pet crematorium your pet will be respectfully cremated in a contained area that is physically separated from any other cremations occurring. You will be receiving the ashes of your pet and your pet only when they are returned. The ashes are typically returned within ten to fourteen business days.
2) Communal Cremation
Your pet will be respectfully cremated and his or her ashes will be spread in a landscaped garden in Boise.
3) Private Cremation
If you are interested in having your pet cremated as the only pet in the crematorium bin, then this is the option you will want to choose. Please call to discuss the price for this type of cremation.
And yes, we promise you will get your pet and only your pet's ashes returned to you!
How are my pet's ashes returned?
The price of the cremation services includes a choice of two different urns. One urn is a wooden box that has your pet's name engraved on a metal plate. The second container is called a scatter tube which is designed to easily spread your dog's ashes when you choose to do so. We will return the urn to your house in approximately 10 to 14 business days.
Will my pet feel any pain?
Euthanasia should not be a painful process. Our goal is to make this as stress free and pain free as possible. The goal of the sedative that we give prior to the euthanasia solution is to make your pet sleepy or to first put him into an anesthetic state so that he is not aware of what is happening. Be aware that the nature of the euthanasia solution itself is a sedative and an anesthetic. Even if your pet was to only get a partial dose your pet will be in a deeply sedated state of anesthesia until we can give the full dose.
The only part of the euthanasia that may be uncomfortable is the initial injection. This pain from placing the needle for sedation is no more severe than the pain experienced when your pet receives a vaccination. We use gentle restraint and the smallest needle possible when we give the sedative injection. We do everything possible to make the sedation as painless as possible for your pet, however, it is an injection and some animals may react to it. The worst reaction, in less than 10% of our patients, would be for them to vocalize as we give it. Many animals are more willing to vocalize or howl in their own homes than they would be at the veterinary hospitals which can surprise or upset an owner if it happens. Despite the slight discomfort the sedative injection may cause your pet, we believe that its positives benefits strongly outweigh any negative reaction and we know that it minimizes the discomfort of the final euthanasia injection. Through years of experience we have learned that this initial sedative makes the final injection of the euthanasia solution much easier on your pet and also much easier on you and your family.
Are there any negative reactions?
We do everything we can to insure a peaceful, sedated death for your pet but it is important to understand that death is its own entity and has its own course which is often dependent on the disease that your animal is suffering from.
The natural process of death can occur in many different manners. Some animals will react differently to the drugs. This is a factor we cannot always predict. Also, when animals die, it is not uncommon for them to take gasping breaths at the end. These are called agonal breaths and are actually a type of reflex breathing that occurs after the brain and heart have stopped. On occasion these will last for several minutes.
Sometimes you will see twitching of the muscles. These motions are also reflex motions that occur after death. On very rare occasions your pet might vocalize or have short seizure-like motions, these episodes are called dysphoria. Dysphoria means that your pet is not aware of the sounds or motions that he or she is making.
Sometimes the sedative injections can induce vomiting before it takes full effect and many animals lose control of their bowels during the process. This is important to be aware of so you can prepare in advance what surface you want your pet to be on when we arrive.
Although these unpredictable adverse effects can be unpleasant to watch please understand that your pet is not in pain and is not aware of what is happening. We do everything we can to make the dying process as smooth and gentle as possible, but death is a powerful entity and can have its own mindset that can run its own predetermined course depending on your pet's health condition or individual reactions to medications.
How Long Does an Appointment Take?
The average appointment time is 30-40 minutes broken down as listed below:
How Do We Do This?
We get asked the question "How can we do this?" so often that we thought we would include the direct responses that we got from our technicians and veterinarians when we asked them. Euthanizing animals is always a sad event, however, we have all seen the alternative ways of dying and we all recognize how much easier it is on both the owners and the animals when they can remain in their own homes. Being at the animal's home with a loving family surrounding the pet is also easier on the veterinary staff. Here are a few answers that our Gentle Goodbyes veterinarians and technicians provided when they were asked this question:
"Because it is exactly what I would do for my own pets." - Gentle Goodbyes Veterinarian
"At the veterinary hospital animals are scared and stressed while at home they are relaxed, content and surrounded by the attention and love of their owners. There is no comparison."
- Gentle Goodbyes Technician
" I do it because I want people to know that I care about how their pet leaves this world ..... and I do it because it's the nicest thing that we can do for a pet that's old, tired and painful."
-Gentle Goodbyes Phone Person
" I empathize with the sadness that every family feels when they lose their pet. I do not take on the grief that family is feeling which allows me to continue helping the animals and their families." - Gentle Goodbyes Veterinarian
"In the clinical setting, it is so hard for not only the animal that may not like being at the veterinarian, being in a sterile room that isn't the comforts of home; it is also hard for the owners, and the very long, lonely drive home. I see the animals having a more positive, comfortable goodbye surrounded around their family, in their favorite spot and owners are able to say goodbye to their furry family member with happier memories of the past rather than only this single moment in time."
- Gentle Goodbyes Technician
It is easier for me to euthanize an animal in their own home, which is where it should happen, than in the veterinary hospital which is where I usually have to perform euthanasia. Everyone is happier at home- the animal, the owner and the veterinary staff too ."
- Gentle Goodbyes Veterinarian
What Are Our Policies for Aggressive Animals and Behavioral Euthanasias?