Once I Arrive I will need you to sign a form giving me the authorization to perform Euthanasia and ensuring that your dog has not recently bitten anyone (this is a state of California requirement). Most people also like to take care of the charges at this time as well. Payment may be made with cash or personal check (Make checks payable to Dr. Anthony Smith). Credit cards may be accepted if you let us know in advance, with an additional small processing charge.
Injections After the paperwork is completed and you are ready, I will give your dog a sedative shot, (usually into the muscle of one of the rear legs) to help your pet relax and prevent any unnecessary stress, pain, or struggling during the final injection. This shot is a light anesthetic and will allow your dog to go into a very deep sleep prior to the final injection. This first injection is a combination of tranquilizers and pain medications. Although the injection is no more painful than a typical vaccination, occasionally, dogs may be upset at getting a shot (See: A Note About Injections for additional information). After this injection, your dog will gradually fall into a very deep sleep within about 5-10 minutes. During this time, you should feel free to continue to comfort and talk to your pet. As your dog falls into a deep sleep, the eyes usually remain open, there may be changes in the breathing pattern, or occasionally slight twitching of the muscles (especially the feet and face). Sometimes, the tongue may begin to relax and loll from the mouth. Although the process is usually very smooth and comfortable for your dog, very rarely, there can be unexpected reactions to this initial injection such as vomiting or muscle movements similar to a seizure. Regardless of any of these reactions, your pet will be in a very deep sleep (actually a light anesthesia) and will be unaware of anything that is happening. In any event, before we proceed, I will test your dog's reflexes to be sure that s/he is in a very deep sleep and unable to feel any discomfort.
Once your pet is ready and you have said your final good-byes, I will inject an overdose of a very powerful anesthetic (a euthanasia solution). This last shot will allow the heart and respiration to stop, usually within a minute or two. I generally give the final injection into the side of the pet's chest. This avoids the need to clip the fur over a leg and the need for tourniquets, and allows you to be in whatever position and be wherever you are most comfortable. However, if you prefer, or if the situation warrants, I can give this final injection into a vein of one of the legs. Regardless of the route used, your pet will remain unconscious during this injection and will not feel any pain or discomfort whatsoever. Occasionally, pets may take a few final very deep breaths, have slight muscle twitching, or stretch the legs out, but usually they simply stop breathing quietly and peacefully. Despite this, some people prefer not to be present for the final injection, and this is perfectly fine - just let me know your preference.
After the Procedure Once I have confirmed that the heart and breathing have stopped, you may continue to spend as much time as you need with your pet. If you've elected to have me take care of the body (See aftercare options), just let me know if you would like to spend some time alone with your pet. Whenever you are ready, I will place your pet's body into a covered plastic container with a comfy towel or blanket and bring it out to my vehicle for transfer to the pet crematory. If you would like to have your pet wrapped in something special or have other special requests, please let me know and we will try to accommodate your wishes. If you have a large dog, I may need some assistance in bringing the carrier to my car.
Return of Ashes If you have requested that your dog be cremated with the ashes returned to you, these will be ready in approximately 1-2 weeks. You may pick up the ashes at Pets at Peace in San Ramon. If you would prefer, they may be sent via UPS directly to your home or office, or we can deliver the ashes personally to your home or to your regular veterinarian's office for pickup at your convenience. These options may take slightly longer, and incur additional fees.
Final Thoughts Remember, it is perfectly normal to cry, be sad, and experience all the emotions associated with losing an important family member. Everyone grieves differently, but you should be prepared to enlist the support of your family and friends during this difficult time. If you need additional help, I can provide some information on and referrals for pet loss support - you are not alone! If you have any questions, need help, or just want to talk, please feel free to call or e-mail me directly.