Fear-Free Care for Cats and Dogs

September 28th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

Your pet’s life can be improved by understanding the elements of fear-free handling. Many pet parents are unfamiliar with the science that has led to the relatively new understanding of the permanent emotional damage, behavioral issues, and lack of quality of life that fear and stress may impart on our pets.

A growing body of evidence shows that animals have heightened memory of handling when fearful, which creates a cycle of increased anxiety, and sometimes aggression. Fear and anxiety cause autonomic arousal of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and accompanying release of stress hormones, leading to increased susceptibility to disease secondary to suppression of the immune system.

Dr. Laurie Brush of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice has the opportunity to hear directly from the champion and founder of the Fear-Free movement during the upcoming International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) annual conference.

“The Fear-Free movement spearheaded by Dr. Marty Becker has revolutionized veterinary care and is especially relevant to my work offering peaceful, pain-free, fear-free palliative care and at home euthanasia services,” Dr. Brush said.

Dr. Becker had an epiphany in 2009 while listening to PHD animal behaviorist Karen Overall describe the permanent damage fear causes in the amygdala – the part of the brain that is home to the fight or flight instinct. She said fear was “the worst thing a social species could experience. “

He realized the traditional pet-handling techniques he was taught as a veterinarian were inducing stress in his fur-clients, from the stress of being put up on a table to the fear pheromone scent detected in urine outside the clinic.

Simple protocols, such as using calming pheromones and offering anxiety-reducing medications, plus using gentle handling down at the animal’s level with a complement of treats, could break the cycle of fear.

He reached out to peers across the country and over the course of six years developed a protocol and certification program that promotes fear-free techniques that “put the treat in treatment.”

Today, 21 of the nation’s 30 veterinary schools require certification in fear-free veterinary techniques to graduate. More than 75,000 veterinarians in the U.S. are certified.

“One man’s vision has altered the quality of life of millions of companion animals,” said Dr. Brush.

If you’d like to learn more about adopting fear-free strategies at home, visit FearFreePets.com for tips.


In Memoriam: Annie

September 24th, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Annie’s Story:
Annie came to my husband from Curious World Pet Store. Yes, they actually sold puppies at these stores many years ago. All her other brothers and sisters had been adopted and she was all alone. She went home that night to our family full of kids that would smother her with love.
She was such a loyal girl and would always be by our sides. She lived to the healthy age of 16 which is pretty long for a Labrador. She was spunky until the end. She was always the first one to greet us at the door and to bark when it was food time. Which was always. We swear she could tell time as she always sat by the dining room window when she knew we would be home from work or school soon.
Saying our girl loved to eat was an understatement. She loved her car rides to get a doggie sundae and knew if she stuck that cute head of hers out the window far enough the drive thru would give her chicken nuggets. Our memories of her will keep us going until we meet again. We love and miss you Annie girl. Run free pretty girl!!

I cannot say enough good things about Heaven at Home. From my initial phone call with Mary to Dr Laurie coming out to the house. They were compassionate and caring and I would never choose any other way to care for my animals at the end of their life.

Compassionate home care for your companions!
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