News

National Animal Hospice Day 2017: Raising Pet Hospice Awareness

November 1st, 2017 by Heaven At Home Staff

National Pet Hospice Day on November 4th, 2017 at Heaven at Home Pet Hospice

Raising Awareness For Pet Hospice Care in Grand Rapids

For years, Dr. Laurie Brush has taken an active role in the Grand Rapids community educating pet parents about the benefits of palliative or hospice care for their aging pets. She’s appeared on local news stations, given interviews for the press, and done other forms of outreach, simply because there are too many pet parents out there who don’t know that in-home end-of-life care is even an option. All too often, people have to make difficult decisions about their pets’ final days without having enough information or time to prepare.

Help Spread The Word on Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Heaven at Home is proud to participate in National Animal Hospice Day on November 4th. This event was created to start a discussion about what options are available when pets reach a certain age.

Our approach to animal hospice and palliative care includes support for both pets and their caretakers. As a part of what we do, we’ll help guide you through the decision-making process on what’s best for your fur baby as they get on in years. This could mean anything from a change in their home environment, pain management steps, tips for helping keep your pet comfortable, or simply recognizing when it’s time to help them pass.

National Animal Hospice Day is about letting people know that there are options, and they don’t have to go through this process alone. If you know someone who could use help managing their elderly pet’s care, please share this article with them. Animal hospice care can make a huge difference.

Dr. Laurie Brush on the Value of Home Hospice for Pets

Dr. Laurie Brush founded Heaven at Home based on the philosophy of care she shares with the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC).

“Hospice focuses on pet comfort instead of treatment when a cure is no longer expected. The goal in animal hospice is to monitor the animal’s well-being and dignity at the end of its life. Preserving the quality of life takes precedence over extending life. Hospice recognizes dying as a normal process. By supporting both the pet and family, the human-animal bond can remain strong throughout the dying process and beyond,” said Dr. Brush.

“We provide the family precious time with a pet and help the family cope with the approaching death of their beloved companion.”

Reach Out To Heaven at Home Pet Hospice

Heaven at Home is an in-home provider of veterinary hospice, end-of-life care and euthanasia in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. We can help with a peaceful end of life transition for your beloved pet that includes:

  • Hospice Care
  • Pain Recognition and Management
  • Palliative Care
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Wound Care
  • Nutrition Management
  • Medication Administration
  • In-Home Euthanasia

We can help with information on the disease process and what to expect next whenever possible.

Please, feel free to Contact Us with any questions you may have. We’d be happy to help you.


International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) is dedicated to promoting knowledge about and developing guidelines for comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life.


Ways to Celebrate National Pet Memorial Day 2017 in West Michigan

September 8th, 2017 by Heaven At Home Staff

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Heaven at Home Pet Hospice would like to remind everyone that National Pet Memorial Day is coming up on Sunday, September 10th, 2017. This is a day for people to remember their deceased companions in a warm, positive light and reflect on all of the happy memories from the course of the pet’s life.

The passing of a pet can hurt just as much as the death of a person, and looking back on everything that made our pets special to us is an important part of the healing process. National Pet Memorial Day is a fine occasion for pet caregivers to progress through the grief into a healing journey. Below, we’ve included a few ideas for commemorating your beloved pet this year:

  • Share and reflect upon pleasant memories of your pet with loved ones:
    Chances are, you are not the only one who misses your pet. Whether it’s with your family, your friends, or even neighbors, reflecting on funny moments or warm memories with people that knew your pet is a great way to celebrate their life and lift your spirits.
  • If your pet is buried, go for a visit: Many people choose to bury their pets in a pet cemetery, and this upcoming pet memorial day would be a great opportunity to go say hello, spruce-up the site a little bit, and maybe leave a small bouquet or their favorite treat near the marker.
  • Contribute to an animal welfare or protection group: We feel that one of the best ways to honor the memory of your pet is by helping other pets in need. Volunteering at your local shelter is the most direct way to make a difference, and is also a great way to spend some quality time with animals. If you are unable to commit time to volunteering, many organizations also accept donations.
  • Create a small memorial in your flower garden, or plant a tree or a shrub:
    Another way that people honor the memory of their pet is by creating a small memorial in their garden. It doesn’t matter if your pet is interred there or not – simply having a space that you can look to and remember your pet is what matters. Many people also will plant a tree or flowering shrub in their yard as a living memorial to their pet.

Heaven at Home has also created a space for grieving pet owners to make an online memorial. Here, you can say a few words about what your pet meant to you, what they were like, and share some of your happiest memories. You may also include photos of your pet! This can also help other grieving pet owners know they are not alone in their grief. If you would like to post a memorial, please email us at doc@pethospicevet.com with your memorial, and please feel free to include pictures!


How to Help Houston Animals in Harvey’s Aftermath

August 31st, 2017 by Heaven At Home Staff

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 1.27.54 PMOur fur friends in the Houston area need help while their humans are in emergency shelters in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Efforts by local and national animal advocacy organizations continue with coordinated transportation and sheltering of displaced pets through the ASPCA and Wings of Rescue, while local initiatives that include funding local food, bedding and vet care for nearby shelters. If you’d like to donate to help out, we’ve listed four links to verified initiatives below. Locally, the Houston Homeless Pet Society is also issuing updates and accepting donations here.

How to help

  • To donate to the Humane Society of the United States – Disaster Relief Fund, click here.
  • To donate to Wings of Rescue, click here.
  • To donate to Best Friends Animal Society, click here.
  • To donate to a GoFundMe.com account operated by 4 Paws Farm and the I Love My Dog Team to fund veterinary care, food and bedding for animals displaced by Harvey,  click here

 

According to an ASPCA Update:

With tens of thousands of residents entering emergency sheltering, the ASPCA will provide assistance where our resources and experience can have the greatest impact caring for displaced animals and ultimately reuniting them with their families. Any residents who need help recovering pets from their homes or emergency sheltering for their pets should contact their local emergency management agencies.

The destruction caused by this natural disaster has been overwhelming, but we find inspiration in the spirit of those wanting to step up and help. As our response efforts continue, we want to share ways you can take action:

  • Make sure you and your pets are prepared for an emergency. Review our disaster preparedness information and be ready for when disaster strikes.
  • Please give a donation today to help support the ASPCA’s life-saving work. Your support ensures that we can be whenever and wherever we are needed most, now and in the future.
  • Help us raise funds and awareness for our life-saving work by starting a Facebook Fundraiser, or easily add a donate button to a post or status to encourage friends and followers to give.

https://www.aspca.org/news/update-aspca-responds-harvey


Fox 17 News Segment on Heaven at Home

June 7th, 2017 by Heaven At Home Staff

Below is a link to the segment featured on Fox 17 last month.  It has information about what we do and why it might be a good choice for your pet when they are at the end of life.  We are passionate about what we do and we want to make sure every pet parent is aware of these options for in home care.

 

Click here to see the segment!16517353098848793074


Possible Phone Issues

July 12th, 2016 by Heaven At Home Staff

We are experiencing some phone difficulties this afternoon. If you need to contact us, and have issues getting us by phone, you can do so by email at doc@pethospicevet.com, or by filling out an email request on our website here. We are so sorry for the inconvenience, and will be closely monitoring email until we are sure the phone situation is fixed.


Grand Rapids Press Article

January 20th, 2015 by Laurie Brush

Tom Radamacher, of the Grand Rapids Press, wrote a great article about Heaven at Home Pet Hospice, titled “Veterinarian Provides Hospice Care for Your Pets,” originally published on Sunday, December 21st. We so appreciate Tom for writing the article to let people know that hospice and euthanasia at home are options for their pets.

Virtually everyone knows that all good pets go to heaven.

It’s just that sending them on their way can be so doggone difficult.

Laurie Brush arguably makes it easier. She’s a veterinarian who gently turns your home into her office, specializing in hospice care and euthanasia under the very roof you share with your beloved animal.

While it’s not unheard of for a conventional veterinarian to leave his or her clinic to provide in-home care, it’s the only kind of service Brush renders, driving as far away as Kalamazoo and Lansing and the lakeshore to tend to pets that are bound for their final journey.

“I’ve known I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 13,” says Brush, recalling a time of some 40 years ago. “My best friend and I went to observe a vet in Ada, and she passed out watching surgery.”

But Brush was immediately mesmerized. And today, she’s the founder of “Heaven at Home” pet hospice, a provider of end-of-life care and euthanasia for companion animals.

But her road to becoming a vet was a circuitous one, despite knowing in her heart at a young age that it was her destiny.

While attending Forest Hills Central, Brush had the opportunity to visit Japan, and it whetted her interested in international development. While attending college, she took on internships in West Africa, Senegal, Kenya and elsewhere.

Her path to veterinary school was put on hold while she worked with relief agencies out of offices she kept in Washington, D.C.

In 1998, she finally realized that early dream, graduating from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

She was attracted to in-home hospice care after putting down her own dog, a 17-year-old named Herkemer, leaning on that experience to wonder if she might become an advocate for pet owners who wanted in-home care.

“It’s such an honor that people let me into that private moment,” says Brush, who this year alone has provided in-home services for nearly 300 pets.

In some cases, the owner isn’t able to lift their pet into a vehicle for transport to a vet’s clinic. Bad weather has played a role with some. But most of the time, the owners just want the procedure to happen where both they and their pet are most comfortable.

In addition to providing euthanasia, Brush, who lives with her fiancé and their three dogs in a home on the Grand River, consults with many pet owners in strategies to prolong a pet’s life, if it’s warranted.

Mary Dilley of Grand Rapids, for instance, contacted Brush this past September, figuring her 14-year-old black lab “Drina” was a candidate for euthanasia. Brush, however, showed Dilley how to cover her ceramic tiled floors with rubber mats so that Drina could better get up and down and move about.

She also elevated Drina’s food dish, created smoother transitions between rooms, and put her on a regimen of medications for arthritis and a hip problem.

“These changes were made in a weekend, and now, Drina is walking around like she’s got a new lease on life,” says Dilley.

She’s quick to add, though, that whenever she sees Brush, the doctor reminds her that no pet lives forever: “Every time we meet, she gives me hope,” says Dilley, “but she also looks me directly in the eye and says, ‘You know, this is only going to prolong it,’ and she reminds me that (death) is part of the natural process, so she gives me a reality check as well.”

For Linda and Tom Kozura, saying goodbye to their dog “Bridget” in 2012 was made easier, they say, because it happened with Brush in their Comstock Park home. “It may be cheaper to take a pet to the vet or to a shelter,” says Linda, “but having it done in your own home, where both you and your pet are less nervous and more comfortable, far outweighs the costs.”

And, she adds, “It’s easier to cry your eyes out at home rather than in someone’s office.”

Brush acknowledges that her services tend to cost more, with a home visit and consultation running upwards of $200, with additional expenses as more services are required.

The benefits of paying extra, though, include same-day service whenever possible, and Brush’s willingness to work evenings and weekends.

“I know it’s not a financial choice for everyone,” says Brush. “I’m just glad to know that more and more people are discovering it as an option, a different way in which their pet is going to pass.”


Read the article on the Grand Rapids Press’ site on mlive here.


IAAHPC Conference

October 10th, 2014 by Laurie Brush

Dr. Brush is a proud member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, IAAHPC. The mission of IAAHPC is “promoting knowledge of, and developing guidelines for, comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life.” Animal hospice care is a up-and-coming field that provides families with an amazing alternative to transporting pets to and from the veterinary office as they near the end of their life.

Every year, IAAHPC holds a conference in which hospice veterinarians from all over the country gather. The fourth annual IAAHPC Conference is being held this weekend in Indianapolis, IN. Veterinarians attending the conference will be provided with round-table discussions, networking opportunities and the chance for continuing their education in end-of-life care.

For additional resources and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about animal hospice and palliative care, visit the IAAHPC website: http://www.iaahpc.org/for-pet-parents.html


Deciding When to Say Goodbye

August 19th, 2014 by Laurie Brush

bark_spring_2014To most people, hearing that a beloved pet has developed a life threatening illness or condition is devastating, but trying to figure out what to do next can be even more difficult. Does euthanasia have to be the only option? Not any more. Pet hospice and palliative care is a relatively new and ever-growing field, making it necessary to spread the word about what exactly can be provided through this end of life care for our pets. Dr. Katherine Goldberg, a fellow IAAHPC member, wrote a story called “Saying Goodbye” for the Spring 2014 issue of Bark Magazine.

In this story, Dr. Goldberg walks readers through her experience with a cancer patient named Stryker, a chocolate lab. Stryker’s human family was given two options from their vet: expensive, extensive surgery, or euthanasia. When they were not prepared to undergo either of these options with Stryker, they sought other options. This is when they discovered Dr. Goldberg’s practice, Whole Animal Veterinary Geriatrics and Veterinary Hospice Services, in Ithica, New York. Dr. Goldberg was able to come into the home of Stryker’s family and provide Stryker with palliative care and extend his life by limiting his pain and anxiety. In her story, Dr. Goldberg highlights the options that different people may have. Read the full article here.

 

 


 
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