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.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the passing of our beloved Bear, Bearinga, Bear Soup, Bearcephus…. after Degenerative Myelopathy and a necrotic mass became too difficult for his day to day.
He was born in July of 2000 and lived to a ripe age of 15.5, the last 3+ years of which we got to be his people. He enjoyed car rides with the windows down, romping through the woods, face plowing in the snow, the occasional game of frisbee and curling up on blankets at home. More than anything he liked treats – Peanut Butter, Beggin’ Poppers and mom’s molasses crinkle cookies.
Bear is survived by his mom and dad, Megan and Garrett, his feline sisters ‘the sandbox people’ Abbey and Tygrr, his new little sister Evelyn, his girlfriend Zoe from his last stay at the Pets Hotel and his imaginary friends Moose and Gonzalez from his job as delivery car cleanup at Little Caesars.
Bear is ever grateful to Grandma & Grandpa Albro for his endless supply of bandana bling and Grandpa & Grandma Emery for sneaking him deer jerky(and other meaty treats) and letting him relax at an amazing vacation place on the lake.
Some of Bear’s fondest memories include a road trip to South Carolina with his mom, ear rubs from his dad, falling butt first into the tide on Lake Michigan and sunning himself with a Chewbone in the backyard.
In lieu of flowers and milkbones, Bear would like you to adopt a senior pet from your local shelter.
He had the purest, sweetest soul and holds an irreplaceable place in our hearts. We will see you at the rainbow bridge, buddy. Look over us in our first night in the house without you. Love You.
We know how difficult it is to lose a pet. Whether you recently lost a pet or are grieving a pet lost some time ago, here is an opportunity to share your story with others. Next Tuesday, March 8, right here in Grand Rapids. Share this flyer if you know someone who has lost a special pet.
Dr Brush was on eightWest earlier this month to help spread awareness of the availability of Pet Hospice and in home euthanasia! Click the link below to watch the clip where Dr Brush explains what it is that she does, and where her passion for end of life care came from.
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.
In this special season of love & joy, the family
of Mogwai & Winston are treasuring warm memories
& missing their departed fur friends.
Their “brother”, Mr. BooKitty, expressed his gratitude to Dr. Brush:
“Thank you for taking such loving care of the boys, my brothers. My mom & I sure miss them, but without you, their passing would have been much more difficult. In their last days & even minutes, you were, and still are, so very kind & loving. My mom & I thank the good Lord for bringing you into our lives. God Bless you for all you do, you are truly an angel.”
In the bustle of the “most wonderful time of the year,” many are grieving the loss – recent and distant – of beautiful animals with whom we’ve shared our hearts and homes. Ginny Mikita, a friend and colleague of Dr. Brush, is hosting a candlelit memorial service for companion animals this coming Thursday, December 4th at 7pm. The service is being held at the Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church in Rockford. Ginny is a blessing of animals celebrant, grief support group facilitator, and memorial service officiant. If you or someone you know is in this life space, please plan to join in this interdenominational time of centering, acknowledgment, remembrance and release.
If you would like your companion animal’s name, breed and birth/death dates included in the Program, please forward it to Ginny by Wednesday. Ginny can be reached at (616) 460-0373 or at email@example.com. You are also welcome to bring a framed picture for inclusion in the Service.
Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church
10295 Meyers Lake Ave
Rockford, MI 49525
Veterinary Wisdom, a magazine run by World by the Tail, Inc., is centered around helping veterinarians and pet parents work in unity to create the most peaceful end-of-life experience possible for pets nearing the end of their life. Veterinary Wisdom was founded by Laurel Lagoni and Debby Morehead, whom Dr. Brush had the opportunity to meet at the IAAHPC conference.
Because Veterinary Wisdom is an internationally known magazine, World by the Tail, Inc. has been able to pull a variety of information from many different sources to create a truly helpful resource section on their website for pet parents. There are seven main resource sections on the website:
- Plan Ahead for Pet Loss Many pet parents find it very helpful to plan ahead for the loss of a pet. Although this can be a painful thing to think about, making decisions about what you want to happen when it is time to say goodbye can help you to have fewer regrets and be less anxious about the whole process. Talking to us here at Heaven at Home before it is even time to say goodbye will help the transition happen easily. The less stress you can have surrounding you and your pet, the better.
- Make Decisions Along with the scale found on our website, this section contains many free articles and checklists you can use to determine when it is time to say goodbye to your companion.
- Make Decisions about Pet Cancer Hearing that a pet has cancer can be devastating, and many people have questions about what this can entail. This section contains resources, including free eBooks, that will help pet parents understand what a pet’s diagnosis really means.
- Find Support for Grief Losing a pet truly is like losing a family member. It can be difficult for many people to deal with the grief that accompanies losing a companion animal. Find information on healing in this section.
- Euthanasia This section contains free articles and eBooks providing information on what to expect during the euthanasia process. Our website also has information on what to specifically expect from an in-home euthanasia performed by Dr. Brush.
- Kids and Grief It can be especially difficult for children to understand the death of a pet, including why our pets aren’t equipt to live as long as we are.
- Begin Again This section will help you to know when it is the right time to begin looking for new companions, and forming new bonds.
Be sure to check out all of the grief resources Veterinary Wisdom offers on their website here.
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
On September twenty-fourth, the Huyge Family said goodbye to their life-long friend Zoe, who was a playful yellow lab mix. Zoe raised both the Huyge children, Alex and Megan, into adulthood. Alex was in second grade when the family adopted their furry friend. Zoe lived to be sixteen years old, a very long and joyous life with the Huyge’s. Zoe’s will be forever remembered in the happy memories the Huyge’s carry in their hearts.