The Other Side of the Stethoscope – A Personal Experience with Home Euthanasia

I find myself on the other side of the stethoscope. My 85 year old father called me this weekend and told me Andy, his 14 year old poodle, is not doing well and will be put to sleep on Monday.

A flood of emotion overcame me, as Andy was the puppy I gave my mother over 13 years ago.

My mother has since passed and Andy feels like the last link to her.

I delivered Andy in July of 2003, via cesarean. I saw him through his puppy vaccinations and gave him to my mother, who was ill at the time. Although my parents were not sure they were ready for a puppy, Andy brought a new sense of joy to their very busy lives. He was a constant companion at home and in their travels. He and my mother served their community through service to local hospitals, visiting those in need of a smile and wet lick. After my mother’s unexpected passing in 2011, Andy was my father’s rock, helping him through depression and grief.

Andy started to decline in health a little over a year ago, diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

He did well on his medications for a little over a year, but the disease progressed rapidly over the past several months. We all knew his time was limited.

So, I find myself shedding those same tears and sharing those same memories that many of my clients do before I arrive at a home euthanasia. This levels the playing field – I truly get your pain.

Andy passed this morning and is now with the woman who loved him most, my mom. I know they are now reunited and smiling down on me as I continue to reflect on those treasured moments we shared over the years.

Home euthanasia is the hardest part of my job…. but the most rewarding. I know we are able to help beloved pets pass in their home with their family – with peace, love, and dignity.

Bringing this to my clients is the best part of my job.


  1. Dr. Laura….this is so beautiful! I thank you so so much for what you do (and did for me and my Buddy). You are an angel and you are a blessing to all of us pet moms and dads! I knew the day we met, you “really” cared! You AND your staff!

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your understanding of what your clients/patients are going through makes you capable of providing the empathy required to be the wonderful vet that you are.

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