When The Time Comes
We understand that end-of-life decisions are probably the hardest to make. Our pets are so special to us and play such a meaningful role in our lives. When we see them suffer or when we realize that their quality of life is compromised with no possibility of return to good health, our hearts break. Please ask us if you have questions or concerns that are not answered here.
Some Things to Think About to Assess Your Pet’s Quality of Life
- Is your pet eating or at least interested in food and treats?
- Is your pet drinking enough water?
- Is your pet comfortable and free of pain?
- Does your pet still enjoy his/her favorite activities? Even if he can’t go on long walks, or chase a ball, or catch a Frisbee, he should be able to enjoy sleeping comfortably and resting in the same room with the family.
- Is he/she responsive to you and to his favorite toys? Does he enjoy interacting with you and your family?
- Can your pet get up without assistance? Can your pet walk around the house or go outside to eliminate or use a litter box?
- Does your pet have more good days than bad days?
- Is your quality of life being adversely affected by your pet’s health?
When it’s Time to Euthanize Your Pet
When you arrive, we’ll take you directly to our Quiet Room. As you get settled, your Doctor’s Assistant will meet with you to ask a few questions and will process your invoice and payment.
- Would you like to be present during the procedure? You are welcome to say goodbye and leave before your pet is euthanized.
- If you choose to stay with your pet, here’s what you can expect. We’ll give a sedative injection to help your pet be comfortable. Once everything is ready, the doctor then gives a second injection. It is a peaceful process and looks something like your pet is going to sleep.
- You’re then welcome to spend as much time as you need in the Quiet Room. When you are ready to leave, we have a separate exit that you can use to go directly to your car.
- Do you want a memorial of an ink or clay paw print? A lock of hair?
- What is your decision about handling your pet’s deceased body?
You may want an at-home euthanasia for your pet. You may make individual arrangements with some of the North Portland Veterinary Hospital veterinarians and there are veterinarians in Portland who make house calls to help you and your pet have a peaceful experience.
You may take your pet with you for home burial. Multnomah County asks that you dig a hole six feet deep and sprinkle lime in the hole and on top of your pet. If you wrap your pet, be sure to use biodegradable materials such as cotton toweling and cardboard.
Choosing a General Cremation
We work with Family Animal Services because they are wonderful, caring people who will handle your deceased pet with dignity, care, and respect. Your pet will be placed in a crematorium along with other deceased patients. The cost for a general cremation is based on your pet’s weight.
Choosing a Private Cremation
Choose this option if you would like your pet’s ashes returned to you. Family Animal Services will cremate your pet separately and, within about 10 days, mail the ashes to you in a wooden urn. The cost for this service is based on your pet’s weight. They offer a variety of urns and memorials including a clay paw print; you can visit their website and call them for assistance.
Choosing to Go Directly to a Mortuary
A final option for you to consider is for you to make aftercare arrangements directly with a pet mortuary. You might choose this option if you wish to take your pet directly to the mortuary after the euthanasia; this option can save you some money. Some folks choose this option if they want a private memorial viewing, or to perform some other ceremony, ritual, or burial. There are three pet mortuaries in Portland that offer similar services.
Family Animal Services
8a -5p Mon – Sat and on-call
17819 NE Riverside Parkway
Portland, OR 97230
Dignified Pet Services
9a – 5p Mon-Sat and on-call
8976 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road
Tualatin, OR 97062
Oregon Humane Society
10a – 6p seven days a week
1067 NE Columbia Blvd
Portland, OR 97211
503.285.7722 ext 211
Grieving, Support, & Counseling Resources
There are some wonderful organizations, people, and websites with information to help you through the loss of a pet.
- Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital support group meets 5 times a month. Call 503.228.7281 for a brochure and the schedule. The 24-hour support message line is 503.234.2061.
- Winderspring, Medford, OR. Support group and classes. 541.772.2527.
- Ark Animal Hospital, Philomath, OR. Individual counseling by appointment with Juliane Conrad, MSEd, LPC, at 541.929.5061
- The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
- Pet Loss Organization
- The Delta Society
- American Veterinary Medical Association