In Memoriam: Murphy

July 1st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Murphy’s Story:
Murphy came to us at 5 weeks old from a large puppy litter of 13 yellow Labradors, he was special from the very start! Full of energy, love, and sharp wits about him. His personality was pure Lab – happy, stocky, strong, and loyal. His brother Morley came along when Murphy was almost 2 years old and it was a complete family! Being on a lake and always near water was part of our regular swimming and fetching activities, strong swimming runs in our family. He hung on for nearly 15 years and we already all miss him dearly, but we know his last day wading in the water he was in his element and will be forever. Always with you, handsome man!

Please definitely add this to the testimonial section! Dr. Katie T came to the house after hours by request, Murphy had been outside earlier in morning for his last lake trip and we knew It was time for the old boy to rest easy. We made a comfortable spot for him in the garage all together and after the first sedative he dozed off so peacefully and started snoring! Crossing the rainbow bridge was so peaceful for him and was made possible by the most caring, compassionate, and, quite possibly, the nicest veterinarian we have ever met! You are so fortunate to have not only her but both Kim and Kathryn helped me on the phone to make arrangements, especially the day of, I was so impressed by your whole operation and cannot thank you enough for helping us give Murphy the dignity and respect he deserved by coming to our home. A+++ to all!


In Memoriam: Seal

July 1st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Seal’s Story:
We adopted Seal 15 years ago to be a companion for another aging kitty we had; Goblin. Goblin had just lost her pet companion Moochie and was not doing well with the loss. In the end our vet suggested getting a kitten. After we made the decision, we traveled to the Humane Society of West Michigan. We saw Seal (who then had the name of Paul) and asked to visit with her. In the end we almost lost our opportunity as another couple wanted her. But we got our Seal. Seal was part Bombay, a breed known for bonding with people. Right from the beginning Seal bonded with us. We used to find her doing the most hair raising things, like climbing to the top of the cabinets and balancing on a 4″ wide piece of molding, racing around our living room at top speed and going over the knee wall to land at the bottom of the basement steps and much more. But most of all she stole our hearts with her snuggles, mutual grooming, and deep warm purrs. She was a cat with OCD. She learned our time to get up and would be vocalizing before the alarm would go off, she knew my routine when I came home from work. And she’d keep me to it. Her beautiful black fur was so soft and you couldn’t help petting her if she’d allow it. If she was laying in the sun you could see the darker brown stripes that weren’t visible in ordinary light. When she was about 4 she started having urinary tract infections. We’d get them cleared up and not have any for awhile. When she was 9 they started to become more frequent. We could tell she was hurting and the vet would prescribe an antibiotic and send her home. By the time she was 13 she was having urinary tract infections 3 to 4 times a year. In this last year she had 9 plus two other infections. She started hating to go to the vet. She became hostile to the vet techs and pretty soon they wanted nothing to do with her. She was hurting and trying to be good but just couldn’t do it. This final urinary tract infection came on when she was still on antibiotics. The vet didn’t want to help and suggested I contact Heaven at Home for pallitive and end of life care/counseling. Katherine and Mary were fantastic as we played phone tag. Dr. Amy Hoss, I cannot express to you how much your compassion and gentle manner helped us when you came to help our Seal on June 18. I think you know just how hard it was for us. You confirmed she didn’t have a mass in her abdomen. It was a very hardened bladder from so many urinary tract infections and antibiotics.
Seal our Seal, our beautiful Seal – it is so hard to live without you. You will be our forever love, we’ll never forget you. I miss you chirping, your meows, your mad dashes through the house after using your litter box. I miss you snuggling and finding you under our comforter. I miss your purr, your touch and your wonderful gaze into my eyes. You were the smartest cat, the most in tune with me. We love you Seal!

Heaven at Home Pet Hospice helped us through a very difficult time. Their kindness and compassion during such a hard decision help to ease the stress and pain. They sent us a condolence card and we feel they truly understand our pain and loss.


Winning the Senior Pet Olympics

June 19th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

Your loyal companion was there for you during lockdown, entertaining you, relieving your stress, photo-bombing your Zoom meetings… Repay that kindness and nourish your connection even if you’re back in the saddle at work.

“What’s important is that you set aside the time to create DAILY opportunities for engagement – not just “weekend warrior” sessions,” says Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

“Aging pets enjoy routine engagement and need dedicated, age-appropriate exercise and sunshine beyond a simple walk.”

Here are just a few great ways you can “up” your pet’s “game.”

  1. Daily Training – Just like an Olympic athlete, dedicated daily training is a must to keep Fido’s cognition firing. Teach old dogs new tricks. Build rewarded commands into daily routines, such as “wait” at meals and “stop/sit/stay/come” during walks or play. Dogs enjoy getting it right.

 

  1. AquaMan’s Best Friend – For arthritic pets, swimming can help keep the muscles moving without stressing the joints. Even wading pools can give your old dog a bit of relief. A trip to a dog pond (eg. Shaggy Pines Dog Park) or the Lake (eg. Kirk Park) or a friendly neighborhood Dog pool (eg. K9 Athletics) offer great opportunities for low impact exercise.

 

  1. Feline Fun – Dog aren’t the only contenders in Senior Olympics. Cats can combat cognitive decline with interactive food dispensing toys and games that trigger the hunter within. Hide treats under egg cartons or get out the flirt pole. High perch climbing equipment and a visually stimulating window (eg. put a bird feeder within view) will help keep Felix feeling spry.

 

  1. Scent-ual Work – Choose a smelly, favorite treat and create a “treat trail” around the yard to get Fido working his or her sniffer. Not only is it an engaging way to deliver goodies (or a meal) – sniffing also relaxes dogs, which may help with separation anxiety.

 

  1. Mighty Kong-Quest – Stuff a Kong with treats such as all-natural peanut butter, bananas, plain yogurt or wet food with kibble and freeze. See if your pet can beat their “Personal Record” for time to Kong-quer! Or leave this engaging treat as a parting gift when you’re away.

They say “old” is a state of mind. Help your pet feel young again with daily attention, movement, and novelty. That’s how you “win” the Senior Pet Olympics!


In Memoriam – TeeTee

May 14th, 2020 by Laurie Brush

TeeTee’s Story:
Thinking about our girl TeeTee today on what would’ve been her 11th birthday. We said goodbye three weeks ago, and what an empty space she left behind! We miss her so much — her playfulness, her cuddles, her sweet spirit, and her carefree attitude. TeeTee was a force of love in our home and our hearts.

Even during the current restrictions, Dr. Brush made our goodbye to TeeTee peaceful and comforting. We’re so thankful to her for explaining each step and for honoring our love for our dear TeeTee. Thank you, Heaven at Home! Tracy, Beth, & Marilyn


Telemedicine for Aging Pets

May 13th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff


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 or Learn HOW on our Video Consultations page! Read the rest of this entry »


In Memoriam – Libby Lu

April 28th, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Libby Lu’s Story:
Libby was such an awesome dog! She loved us with all she had to give! She was very active, loved to play catch and tug-of-war. She snored like a sailor. She was my ‘baby’. The last two years she went downhill quickly, and slowed down a great deal. She was my shadow and loved treats. I feel her absence deeply. She was one of a kind.

This was such an emotional time in our family. The staff was wonderful. They were loving and showed compassion. I couldn’t take Libby to the vet and have her last moments on earth be scared. She was at peace and the doctor was amazing. They made this experience very comforting.


In Memoriam – Trixie

April 23rd, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Trixie’s Story:
Trixie was a Christmas gift to me 12 years ago from my husband. She was by far the sweetest best friend we could have asked for. She loved everyone and gave a lot of love to our family. God decided he needed her more now than us. We are thankful for her not having to suffer. She couldn’t have loved us anymore, or us her. We are so very sad and will need time to heal. But God is good all the time. We will never forget her! Love you Trixie to the moon and back. Love mom and dad

I can’t begin to thank Laurie for her sweet spirit and caring nature for our situation. As hard as it is to let go of our family member, I was blessed to have her be home during this time. We got to lay with her and say goodbye as she left us peacefully and went home to Jesus. Thank you all so much. God Bless. Betsy and Kevin


Assessing the Risks of Lyme Disease and Prevention in Dogs

April 17th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff


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 Heaven At Home Staff

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.

Heartbreak: Key Points on DCM & Pet Food

March 31st, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

Are you confused by reports that grain-free and exotic dog food ingredients may be causing an increased number of dogs to die prematurely of “DCM” (dilated cardiomyopathy)? The stakes are high in the $30 billion petfood market where boutique producers are pitted against mounting evidence from the FDA. It’s hard for pet parents to cut through the spin to get the facts.

To make matters worse, nutritional DCM is one of those rare diseases where we have “the cure” before we conclusively know the precise cause, though high proportions of legumes in grain free foods are suspect.

Here are key talking points to discuss with your veterinarian:

DCM is referred to as a “Silent Killer” because often by the time a dog shows outward signs from an enlarged heart, it’s too late to avoid DCM. Reports include sudden collapse of seemingly healthy dogs of all ages and breeds.

Diet-Related DCM is distinct from hereditary DCM because if caught early it can be reversed by a change in food. There have now been many such cases where switching to a major brand with a veterinary nutritionist on staff and, in some cases, taurine supplementation has corrected the issue.

Low levels of taurine do not confirm a diagnosis, and in many cases, levels are normal. While a pre-screening blood test called NT-proBNP can help identify early stages of heart failure, only an echocardiogram can confirm a diagnosis.

Dog food ingredients work together. The bioavailability of certain nutrients changes, sometimes dramatically, depending on the other nutrients and foods in the recipe. This is why a helping of green beans may be harmless, but a food composed predominantly of legumes through ingredient-splitting (listing peas, chick peas, beans separately) could theoretically interfere with absorption of taurine or other nutrients vital to heart health. The quest to identify the cause continues.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and the cardiologists and nutritionists who first uncovered Diet-Related DCM recommend selecting pet foods that have been:

  1. formulated by an on-staff Phd Veterinary Nutritionist
  2. with product research published in peer-reviewed journals
  3. and perform a minimum of live AAFCO feeding trials, with a preference for long-term digestibility research
  4. with quality testing of every batch

If you’re feeding your pet grain-free foods, be sure to discuss your options and risk with your veterinarian.

For more information, visit: https://dcmdogfood.com/


 
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