I found that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to get to every family that needed me. So, I enlisted the help of a wonderful, skilled, compassionate veterinarian, who I personally know and would trust with my own pets, to go to appointments when I can’t. Below is a little bit about Dr. Jen:
“I graduated vet school in 1997 and moved to Wisconsin to live my dream of practicing vet med James Harriot style – companion animal clinic and surgery in a clinic combined with farm calls in a truck, boots and overalls. I lived that dream for 7 years until my body decided it was time to move to a safer, less pain-inducing type of practice. I moved home to the Chicago suburb I grew up in and joined a dog/cat practice where I met Dr. Kari Trotsky. I missed the variety of mixed animal practice but needed something with animals a lot less than 1500 lb. I decided try my hand as a wildlife vet and have been doing that happily for 9 years.
I hadn’t seen Kari since making the switch to non-profit work – nearly 10 years – but suddenly ran into her about a year ago. When she told me that she works exclusively in pet euthanasia service now, I thought, “Wow! That is one tough calling!” At the time, my joining her in this type of practice was not even on my radar. But last year my beloved kitty of 18yr needed to be euthanized with no time to waste. I could perform this service for her myself and she could stay home on her favorite chair, no trip to a clinic she feared increasing the pain she was already in. It was very difficult for me but such a blessing for her to not be moved. It was clearly the best option for her.
Some months later I ran into Dr. Kari again. She said she was searching for another vet to help her with Peaceful Endings for Pets and asked what I thought about it. I really thought hard about it. I knew the value of a pet staying in their favorite place for the final goodbye from my own experience but doing that on a regular basis might be a whole different ball game. Would I be able emotionally to handle this? Would people grieving really want me in their home during such a private time? How would the pets react to a stranger in their home? Could I really help people through such a difficult process? Kari graciously answered all my questions with stories of her own experiences as well as allowing me to accompany her on several calls. First hand I experienced the love and care people expressed to their beloved companion animals they shared their home with. The experience for me, the pet, and the family was much different than those I had witnessed in the clinic setting – much more peaceful for the pet and their family. I discussed this type of work with friends, family, co-workers and even total strangers — they all had the same reaction, ” I wish I knew in-home euthanasia existed. What a wonderful and much needed service.”
In December of 2016 I joined Peaceful Endings for Pets. How a job can be so heartbreaking and fulfilling at the same time is hard to say… but somehow, it is. Seeing the love and tenderness people express toward their beloved but very ill pet is inspiring – the family finding just the right place in the house, taking numerous pictures, the favorite blanket, favorite toy, favorite food; stories of how they came to find each other and the life changes they’ve experienced with this animal faithfully by their side. The pet’s family takes on pain to relieve relief that of their beloved. It is incredibly humbling and a real privilege to be asked into a home and trusted to assist with this deeply private process.”