Saying goodbye to a pet is always difficult, especially when you have to put a pet to sleep.
A local veterinarian offers an in-home service so that your pet can spend its final moments at home.
13 years ago, Janice La Duca found Queensland Healer "Sugar," roaming the streets of north Scottsdale.
Janice took sugar in to live with her other dogs, and the two formed an inseparable bond.
"She's been like my rock for all those years, been through a lot with me, just a great doggo, great personality," said La Duca.
By age 16, Sugar was showing signs of nerve damage, possibly a tumor.
Janice says she could hardly walk.
"She was in such condition that I knew I was faced with a dreaded decision," said La Duca.
Janice reached out to Dr. Christina, a veterinarian who specializes in at-home euthanasia.
Dr. Christina says her service takes the vet clinic out of the euthanasia equation.
"I use drugs instead of physical restraint and we don't place an IV catheter. I just feel like that's not the last thing I want to be doing to a pet. I don't want them to go through a medical procedure," said Dr. Christina Nutter.
Janice knew she didn't want to relive the experience of euthanizing a dog at the vet.
She says Dr. Christina's phone consultation gave her piece of mind with her decision.
"She also helped talk me through the whole situation and deal with my feelings of letting go and the guilt that's associated with it, so she's part therapist too," said La Duca.
Dr. Christina stresses that the drugs she administers help to relax a pet, taking away the anxiety and fear pets often associate with a vet hospital.
"What they really experience is maybe that equivalent of getting a vaccine," said Nutter.
At home euthanasia has practical benefits, too, like not having to move a pet that is large or in pain.
The service also allows pet owners to grieve in private and can help other pets in the home, too.
"I heard stories of people who had taken their pet to be euthanized at a clinic and when they came back the other pets in the home are wandering around and looking for the other pet, so this way the other pets can smell and really have closure as well," said Nutter.
Janice, her dog Joe and Dr. Christina all sat with sugar at home during the final moments of sugar's life.
"It was just so peaceful for her and a lot less stressful for me," said La Duca. "Being in the home--in the comfort of our home just makes all the difference."
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