So when the dreaded day came to end the suffering of his beloved Emma, an arthritis-stricken, 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Schenning didn’t go to his veterinarian’s office. Instead, he ended up cross-legged on the floor of his spare bedroom, crying quietly as Emma looked up from his lap.
After a few minutes, he nodded to Julie Rabinowitz, a veterinarian he had never met before she arrived at his house a half-hour earlier. She leaned forward with a syringe. A little dog’s fatal dose of pentobarbital.
“There was no whimper. Her eyes just slowly closed,” Schenning recalled. “Dr. Julie waited two or three minutes and checked her heartbeat. She said in a quiet voice, ‘Jim, she’s gone. I’m going to let myself out now.’ ”
The gentle death scene that recently unfolded at Schenning’s house near Catonsville, Md., was part of a growing at-home pet euthanasia movement that is beginning to relocate one of pet ownership’s most painful rituals, the final, one-way trip to the vet’s office.
Like a growing number of vets in the region, Rabinowitz, who is based in Baltimore, decided a few years ago to build her practice on end-of-life house calls for those who want more for their pets’ last moments than a frightened scrabble on a cold steel exam table.
“Going to the vet was always stressful,” Schenning said. “I didn’t want her last day on this Earth to be, ‘Oh, no, we’re going into that white building.’ ”
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Written by Steven Hendrix
Image via MorgueFile