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How to Help The Pet Left Behind

January 3rd, 2022 by Ima Admin

Pet parents who’ve had to make the difficult decision to euthanize a beloved animal companion are especially vulnerable to grief during the darker days of winter. What may complicate the situation further is witnessing the grief of companion animals left behind.

“Research suggests dogs and cats do experience behavior changes after the death of a fellow companion animal,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice and Aftercare Center.

“A great advantage of home euthanasia is that it gives companion animals left behind a chance to process and understand what’s happened.”

In dogs, which are highly social animals, studies have shown that grief can last two to six months if they were closely bonded with their fellow pup. While less social generally, some cats do also grieve – and vocalize loudly – typically if they’ve lost a relative in particular. Read the rest of this entry »


Coping With Pet Loss Grief During the Holidays

December 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

The holiday season can be bittersweet for people who’ve lost – or are getting ready to say goodbye – to a loyal companion animal. Coping with pet loss grief during a season that’s purportedly “jolly” can be especially challenging.

“Pet loss grief is especially difficult during the holidays because it’s “disenfranchised grief” – grief that cannot be easily publicly mourned – and households generally become busier with holiday prep stress and guests. At the same time, people often face making the difficult euthanasia decision during the holidays because they’re home to see the decline in their pet’s quality of life,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

If you have a pet with a life-limiting disease or who is in rapid decline, there are things you can do in preparation for euthanasia to promote healthy grief and healing. Read the rest of this entry »


Thanks Be To Dog (And Cats Too)

November 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

The season of gratitude is just around the corner and the Heaven at Home team would just like to remind everyone of the wonderful dimension that companion animals add to our lives. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), research shows that pet ownership improves mental health and wellbeing in a number of ways. Read the rest of this entry »


How Can You Tell Your Pet’s Quality of Life?

October 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

Owners of companion animals the world over know the joy, loyalty and love their fur friends can bring. They also know the heartbreak of watching their beloved pets decline in old age or through life-limiting disease. Caring for an aging pet can involve pain management, potty problems, and a host of things now made difficult – like getting up onto the bed. But the real angst people wrestle with is knowing when, and whether, to ease their pet’s suffering through euthanasia.

Enter the best free tool for pet parents with aging companion animals: the Quality of Life Scale. Read the rest of this entry »


Kitty Grimace? Your Feline May Be In Pain!

September 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

Internet sensation “Grumpy Cat” is legendary for his grimace. Who knew that pulling a face is actually a clue for pet parents who are trying to assess their kitty’s comfort level? A team of researchers at the University of Montreal’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital has developed a pain assessment tool called the Feline Grimace Scale (FGS). It’s a good topic to explore in September, which is IVAPM’s Pet Pain Awareness month.

Pain management is often overlooked in cats and they are prescribed fewer analgesic drugs compared to dogs, according to the study. Read the rest of this entry »


Telemedicine for Aging Pets

May 13th, 2020 by Laurie Brush


In the era of COVID19 social distancing and stay at home orders, many pet parents have had the added stress of managing disease in their aging pets.

The crisis has ushered in a new era of veterinary consultation via telemedicine. This area of service has experienced exponential growth among routine care veterinarians as well as specialists. However, there are a few important things to consider when using veterinary telemedicine. Learn more in our blog post. Read the rest of this entry »


Assessing the Risks of Lyme Disease and Prevention in Dogs

April 17th, 2020 by Laurie Brush


Half the black-legged deer ticks you and your pet encounter on a Sunday stroll are carriers of a disease that can be deadly. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium is zoonotic, meaning it can infect both humans and man’s best friend with Lyme Disease.

For your fur friend, if left untreated, canine Lyme disease can damage the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Chronically infected dogs may develop a life-threatening form of kidney inflammation and dysfunction. Long-term, Lyme can lead to arthritic-like joint stiffness and lameness. Read the rest of this entry »


COVID-19 Updates: Hospice Telemedicine Now Available, Home Euthanasia Still Available

April 1st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

UPDATE: Hospice and Quality of Life Assessments NOW AVAILABLE BY VIDEO

  • Our doctors are not currently visiting homes for hospice consultations, but we are now offering telemedicine visits with our doctors as an alternative. Call (616) 498-1316 to schedule your appointment. You may also, using your mobile phone, DOWNLOAD THE MEDICI APP  here (opens in a new window.)
  • Once you’ve registered on the APP, please enter THIS code to connect to Dr. Amy Hoss and the Heaven at Home Team: EWEKZRVSAS

 


UPDATE: Heaven at Home’s COVID-19 Protocols for Home Euthanasia Visits:

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols to protect our clients as well as our doctors and staff, so that we can continue to help pets pass peacefully and comfortably at home. We are following CDC, IAAHCP, and AVMA guidelines.

  • Our doctors will continue to help families say goodbye at home, either outdoors or in a garage or similar light traffic enclosure that can accommodate the 6-foot distance recommendation. We are attempting to avoid indoor exposure for the safety of our staff and your household.
  • Only immediate family, up to 2 people, can attend the appointment but no children under 10 years old may be present. All other family members or friends may attend via Skype, FaceTime, or other technology.
  • We ask all that will be present to please wash their hands just before the doctor arrives.
  • Our doctor will maintain a 6-foot distance from you and your family at all times, both for your protection and for hers. You will be asked to step away from your pet while she gives the initial sedative injection, then you may return as they drift off to sleep. You will be asked to step away again while she places an IV catheter and gives the second injection, then you may return as they pass peacefully.
  • When scheduling, please inform our staff if you or anyone in the home, is sick, experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus or other illness.
  • We are taking payment over the phone by credit card when you call to schedule. Please let us know if this is not an option for you.
  • Our doctors will go over the consent form with you when they arrive and ask for your verbal consent to proceed, as well as confirm your aftercare wishes for your pet.
  • We are only able to accept favorite blankets or toys to accompany the pet to cremation if your pet is contained in a body care bag, which is available for purchase. Please ask for more information when scheduling.
  • Our doctors will follow disinfectant protocols for themselves and their equipment, including disinfecting their supplies and stretchers, after each appointment. They will, as always, use fresh blankets for each pet.
  • Unfortunately, our doctors will be unable to offer hugs of comfort to our clients during their visit. Please know that this is actually one of the hardest adjustments for our doctors, as they desperately want to comfort you during this heart-wrenching time.

The Pet Effect: Dogs May Help Heart Health

January 31st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Image of dog with stuffed valentines heart in mouth to depict the heart-healthy effect of pets on humans

February is heart health month!

Make sure you give Fido a lovely Valentine this month; he or she may be giving your heart a healthy boost. A growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help with heart health by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even reducing mortality after cardiac events.

One study published recently reviewed patient data from more than 3.8 million people in 10 separate studies. Compared to non-owners, dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause; a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular-related issues; and a 65% reduced risk dying after a heart attack, according to the reports published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »


Better Ways to Say Goodbye: Pet Hospice & Euthanasia

September 30th, 2019 by Laurie Brush

It’s a tough subject, but our companion animals age faster than we do. It’s hard to see them suffer, and even harder to imagine life without them. What if in their final chapter you could reduce their pain? What if, when the time was right, they could end their life story in the comfort of their favorite place, with the people they love?

“Those are the questions that fueled the rise of the home hospice movement not all that long ago,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »