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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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
August 19th, 2014 by Laurie Brush
To 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.