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toughe t ho e After a phone call from her father, veterinarian Azure Holland drove home to ease the suffering of the family’s golden retriever, Venus. The dog had been sick for a while. Venus was in her favorite sunny spot out in the yard and passed on peacefully, thanks to Dr. Holland. “It was the right way for it to happen,” she says. With her mobile veterinary service (Azure Holland, A Mobile Veterinary Service), Dr. Holland performs house calls for euthanasia services. Trained by Dr. Wallace Sife, Ph.D., of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, she is the only veterinarian in the Triangle certified by Dr. Sife in pet loss guidance. “Families are more comfortable this way. They can grieve in the comfort of their home, not a sterile animal hospital,” says Dr. Holland, who’s also a general practitioner. “I was inspired by my own experiences.”

But how do you know when it’s time to make that tough choice? Dr. Holland uses the quality of life scale developed by noted veterinarian Dr. Alice Villalobos as a guide:

Be there: Raleigh’s Dog Olympics

s Is your pet eating? s Can he go to the bathroom by himself? s Is he able to walk and get around by himself? s Are there more bad days than good? Dr. Holland typically spends between 30 to 45 minutes on the initial consultation to answer any questions, and the appointment itself can last between one and three hours, depending on the family’s wishes. “I don’t overbook myself so I truly have the time to spend at the home. We have time for open dialogue, and I find out if the family has a special place they’d like to use to say goodbye or any specific rituals or needs, says Dr. Holland. “Earlier this summer I helped a couple say goodbye to their beloved dog in her favorite spot in the woods by the house,” she continues. “We set up a comfy bed for the dog, and she was able to say goodbye with her pet parents curled up next to her on the blanket. The family is always encouraged to spend as much time as they need to say goodbye.”

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Midtown Magazine  
Midtown Magazine  

September/October 2013

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