First, you have to ask yourself how you feel about euthanasia in general. And before you can do that, you must understand the very process of the procedure.

Euthanasia is accomplished through the intravenous injection of a concentrated anesthetic. When the solution is put into the vein, the pet will lose consciousness, much like he or she would experience if going to sleep for a surgical procedure. We continue to inject the solution until the diaphragm stops and subsequently, the heart and lung. This process takes approximately 30 seconds to one minute.

Many things affect what we recommend as part of the euthanasia procedure. If the animal is fractious, has low body temp or weight, hypotension or swelling in the limbs, we may suggest sedative prior to the injection, shaving a leg so that a vein is easier to view or even placing a catheter. When we suggest these things, it is because we want the experience to be painless for your pet. We realize that this can slow down a very difficult time for you but our intent is to not burden you, but to alleviate any cause for suffering.

Again, it is important to stress that the animal does not know any more than he or she is going to sleep. They do not panic or suffocate. If they move or react to the injection, it is because they feel strange going to sleep.

It is often difficult to pick the day for euthanasia. We feel it is important for you to know that it is ok to choose a day before your pet reaches the point he or she cannot get up or has experienced rapid weight loss. A couple of guidelines are simply that, if despite your best efforts to get them to eat and even drink and they refuse or if they cannot hold themselves up to eliminate, then it is more than likely a good day to let them go.

When you come in for the procedure, let the front staff know you are in for euthanasia and they will do everything they can to reduce the wait to a minimum. We will provide you a quiet room to go through the procedure and we are available to talk and answer any questions you have.

Some people find the decision to be difficult and we can help you. Sometimes, you and the doctor find that the day you come in is just not the right day and we can prescribe meds and help you with a plan to buy your friend quality time. It is the doctor's job to let you know if indeed the pet needs to be euthanized and you should feel comfortable in being able to ask if you are making a sound decision.

At our clinic, we will not euthanize healthy pets. Please select another business if you are euthanizing for any other reason than old age or serious disease. It is too hard on the doctors and staff to ask them to euthanize an animal because they have become an inconvenience. We hope you understand.

Before the procedure, a doctor or a staff member is going to ask a couple of very important questions.

Do you want to stay for the procedure? It is entirely up to you and if you feel you cannot stay, that is definitely acceptable. We will stay with the pet and talk to he or she and we won't allow them to linger in a cage or run. We will comfort your friend during the procedure.

What are your plans for the remains? We have found that many people do not consider this before coming in for euthanasia but you have to guide us.

Many options are available. Private cremation, communal cremation, burial services and funerals are all available and we can provide you with details on each of those. If the city of amarillo handles the remains, we keep the pet cold and transfer them to the city in individual bags. The city then takes them to a plot of land and buries them en masse and covers the group with soil. Above all, and it is unpleasant to discuss, the pets are not thrown in the landfill and we feel that is important for people to know. The more private choices are professionally handled and each business that handles the cremations or burials do a very nice job. Lastly, the great state of texas public health department discourages people from burying inside the city limits but it is not illegal. If you take your pet home with you, we will ask that a form be signed stating that the pet was removed by the owner from the premises.

We often receive questions from our clients about dealing with a pet's grief after the loss of another pet in the home or following the loss of the pet's special person. While it is a difficult subject for everyone, we feel the following suggestions will help to not leave our pets in the dark about what has happened when a sudden change like this occurs.

When the family leaves the house with a pet that is going for euthanasia, there is nothing they can convey to the pet staying at home about what will transpire that he or she will understand at that time. When the family returns without the deceased animal, the pet only knows that their friend (or best enemy!) did not come back home. This causes consternation for the pet. We recommend letting other pets in the family go to the euthanasia or see the remains of their friend after a death. There is absolute closure at that time because we know that animal's instincts are powerful and there is instant recognition of the end of a life.

Also, we think it is important for pets to see the remains of their owner/person that they love when their humans move on as well. This can be done quietly at the funeral home and I've personally seen this act have a tremendous effect on a pet that had just lost her world. All was settled with a glance and a smell.

These suggestions are made to help a pet through the grieving process that is being studied at some of our major teaching hospitals. As our pets weave more and more into the fabric of the family unit, we are faced with issues we could not have foreseen years ago. As for the subjects above, our pets know exactly what has become of another animal or their person when they see them in the next state and we feel this helps them through the tough time each will have as they move through the loneliness of a lost friend.