Hospice. It’s not just for the two-legged members of your family anymore.
Dr. Juliana Lyles, a veterinary hospice and euthanasia practitioner, was interviewed by Brandi Van Ormer for the Fall 2013 issue of Pegasus Press, a publication of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lyles was a 2009 graduate of MSU-CVM.
Her practice is unconventional, to say the least. Unconventional, yet completely practical. The lifespan of the pets we love is about one-fifth the length of ours, so pet-lovers are likely to experience end-of-life circumstances multiple times.
Dr. Lyles tried equine practice at first, then switched to small animal practice, but neither experience was exactly “right” for her. However, she knew that she liked spending time with clients and patients, so, when her search led her to Lap Of Love, Inc., she knew what her niche would be.
Lap of Love is a nationwide network of in-home hospice and euthanasia veterinarians.
Hospice veterinarians help people with every aspect of care for the terminal canine and feline patient. “Every aspect” means making appropriate areas of the home accessible, making bedding comfortable, managing pain and devising diets.
While their work is patient-centered, the people component is equally important. Pet owners’ preparation for that final day is a crucial part of the job. And, being able to extend life, as well as improve quality, allows the family and pet time together they would not have had.
Ultimately, the role of the in-home euthanasia veterinarian is making the end be as comfortable and peaceful as possible, just as the time leading up to the end has been.
I have participated in enough house-call euthanasias in 33 years of practice to know the importance of the family environment and familiar surroundings at this difficult time. The sense of peace is enhanced by being at home.
Dr. Lyles says, “It’s such an honor to be able to help families like this. What other job offers this kind of satisfaction with every appointment?”