Monday - Friday
7:30am - 6pm
Saturday 8am - Noon
Sunday - CLOSED
Scott Lake Veterinary Center
14449 Hwy 13 South
Prior Lake, MN 55372
The following is collected information gathered for the sole purpose to help our clients and families with end of life questions. We took an oath to "do no harm". Our intent is to help you and your family make informed decisions and to assist you in carrying out your wishes.
Dr. Ben Sweers
AT-HOME EUTHANASIA SERVICE
For those who prefer a more intimate event with familiar surroundings, Dr. Sweers offers "at-home" euthanasia services. These services are by special appointment only and additional fees apply.
We do everything within our power to make euthanasia as peaceful and dignified as possible for you, your family, and your pet.
We can assist in arranging for the cremation of your pet. Either group or individual cremations are available. We also offer a selection of pet urns and markers to choose from. In addition, Private Viewed Cremation is available.
Please contact Julie Sweers, our Hospital Manager, if you would like to know more about this option. You can also view several memorial ideas on "In Loving Memory" page of this website.
Saying Goodbye - Never easy
It is always painful to face the loss of a beloved companion. We, too, have grieved the loss of our pets and we do understand how painful the loss can be. Terminal diseases can often be managed to allow the pet to share precious additional weeks or months with their family. Some owners want to fight disease aggressively, even when the outlook is grim. Other owners feel it is best to let their pet go sooner if they know the disease is terminal and, especially when they have seen the "light go out" of their pet's eyes and have already tried recommended treatments to relieve the suffering. Only you can know what is right for your pet.
In veterinary medicine, our objective is to treat illness when a pet has a reasonable likelihood of recovery and a good quality of life. When treatment of underlying disease is not possible (or not likely to result in significant improvement), our objective is to relieve suffering. Relief of suffering can be achieved through hospice care or euthanasia.
Hospice Care - Acceptance care
During the course of a serious or terminal illness, there usually comes some point where the owners and doctors agree that the most loving thing to do is to prevent more suffering. Sometimes, we can gain additional time with your pet through "hospice" care aimed at preventing pain or suffering, while accepting the terminal nature of the disease and so not putting the pet through any additional procedures, tests or treatments that may induce additional stress or pain. During this hospice or "acceptance" period, treatments including pain medications, fluid administration, and other medications or treatment can help your pet end his life with dignity, comfort and happy times.
Euthanasia - The difficult choice
If the time comes when the owners and veterinarian agree that there is no realistic hope for a good quality of life for the pet because the pet is suffering and is no longer responding to supportive care, the final act of caring you can make for your pet is often to let him go with euthanasia. If euthanasia is out of the question for you, more aggressive hospice care including strong pain relievers and possibly sedatives to ensure maximum relief from suffering may be needed.
At times, the only way to relieve suffering is euthanasia. For a pet-lover, no decision is more difficult than authorizing euthanasia. Yet, frequently, this is the right choice for your pet. Certainly, the humane procedures offered at modern veterinary clinics have a clear advantage over an illness that prolongs the suffering of both pet and pet owner. Please, discuss hospice and euthanasia options frankly with your veterinarian. The euthanasia process with a Scott Lake Veterinary Center veterinarian is painless. Many pet owners choose to spend the final moments with their pets. If you would like to be with your friend, the veterinarian may or may not prepare the pet briefly in another room. If you should choose this, you should know the intravenous drug does not cause any pain. The pet is sedated after you are ready to proceed. Once the medication takes affect your pet will then receive an overdose of an anesthetic -- he feels no pain but simply and quietly passes away with your loving presence by his side wishing him a peaceful journey. You might wish to stroke your pet's head and talk gently as the drug is administered. You may remain with your pet for as long as you wish. Some pet owners choose not to witness the procedure at all and prefer instead to say a last 'good-bye' either just before or immediately after their companion passes on. In these circumstances a nurse technician remains with your pet until they pass away.
Grief - The 5 stages
We naturally grieve the loss of a beloved pet, just as we grieve other losses in life. This loss can hit some people very hard. It is natural to feel very sad for several days and to continue to feel sad at times for many weeks or months. After some time, your sadness may lessen only to return more strongly some many months later, often around an anniversary of the death, holidays, or other stressful times. This is all perfectly normal but can be very painful.
Everyone is different and there are no "right ways" to deal with loss -- just the right way for you. Whatever coping techniques (family support, talking, exercise, prayer, time, etc.) help you deal with other losses in life can help you now.
For some people, a new pet can be a healthy distraction, a happy reminder of former puppy or kitten days with their lost pet and can even ease the pain of loss with new happy times. Other people can't bear the thought of a new pet for many months and do better to wait for a while before making a new commitment to a pet. A new pet is not a "replacement" for an old friend but a new friend with a completely different personality to love. Trust your own judgment about when is the right time. Know the 5 stages of grieving. Not everyone goes through the stages in order and the length of each stage varies with each person. Stage One: Denial, Stage Two: Bargaining, Stage Three: Anger, Stage Four: Grief, Stage Five: Resolution. If you feel overwhelmed with grief or just cannot seem to get back to your "normal self", do not hesitate to reach out for more help from family, friends, a grief support network or a professional grief counselor (See below for Stepping Stones, Companion Pet Grief Counseling for pet owners and their families.)
A POEM FOR THE GRIEVING...
Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush, I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die...
Darla Falk, Stepping Stones Grief Counseling
Minnesota Pet Loss Resources
Companion Pet-loss Grief Counseling:
Stepping Stones, LLC
Call Darla Falk at (952)892-1982 or email her for more information at Falkster4@frontiernet.net
Darla offers compassionate one-on-one counseling. Call for an appointment in your home, our office, or even a local coffee shop. If you need to talk, feel free to talk to Darla.
LEARNING TO COPE
The First Stage: Denial
Denial is the initial response of many pet owners when confronted with a pet's terminal condition or sudden death. This rejection seems to be the mind's buffer against a sharp emotional blow.
The Second Stage: Bargaining
This stage is well documented in the human grieving process. Many times, faced with impending death, an individual may "bargain" - offering some condition if the loved one is spared.
|The Third Stage: Anger|
Recognizing anger in the grief process is seldom a problem; dealing with anger however, often is. Anger can be obvious, as in hostility or aggression. On the other hand, anger often turns inward, emerging as guilt. Many veterinarians have heard the classic anger response, "What happened? I thought you had everything under control and now you've killed my dog!" Another standard: "You never really cared about Rover. He was just another fee to you, and I'm the one who has lost my pet!"
Such outbursts help relieve immediate frustrations, though often at the expense of someone else. More commonly, pet owners dwell on the past. The number of "If only . . ." regrets are endless: "If only I hadn't left the dog at my sister's house . . ." "If only I had taken Kitty to the veterinarian a week ago . . ." Whether true or false, such recriminations and fears do little to relieve anger and are not constructive. Here, your veterinarian's support is particularly helpful.
|The Fourth Stage: Grief|
This is the stage of true sadness. The pet is gone, along with the guilt and anger, and only emptiness remains. It is now that the support of family and friends is most important and sadly, the most difficult to find. A lack of support prolongs the grief stage. Therefore, the pet owner may want to seek some help from their veterinarian, pet professional, or counselor.
It is normal, and should be acceptable, to display grief when a companion animal dies. It is helpful, too, to recognize that other pet owners have experienced similar strong feelings, and that you are not alone in this feeling of grief. Don't ever feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your pain is very real.
The Final Stage: Resolution
All things come to an end - even grieving. As time passes, the sadness evolves into memories. And, more often than not, part of the remedy lies in a new pet, a new friend to fill the need for someone to love and care for. Keep in mind; you're not replacing your beloved friend. Nothing can ever do that. You may also choose not to add to your household instead choosing to take a break for months, years or even permanently.
The decision is a personal one. There are no right or wrongs here.
A poem, The Rainbow Bridge, offers a little comfort to many of us.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
--- Author unknown ---
Social Work Services, U of M Veterinary Medical Center - 612-624-9372
Alexandria: Hillside Pet Cemetery (612) 763-6367
Lake Elmo: Animal Inn Pet Cemetery (612) 777-0255
Please note that these listings are provided for information only; they are not recommendations or endorsements.