What is an End of Life Plan?

Donna was asked “what is an end of life plan?” by a very upset owner had been asked this by her vet. She explains it all here.

This is a really sad subject and not one that anyone ever wants to think about. But the sad truth is that thinking about this really is the best way forward and will help you have the best good bye possible. 
An end of life plan does need to be discussed with all the due tact and consideration it utterly deserves. It’s a very hard subject and not one that anyone wants to bring up so do try to be a little understanding that some people are better at discussing this than others. 
We do this so that you can feel as prepared and supported as possible. It allows you to start thinking about what you might want at that time and not have to be bombarded with a thousand questions when its so traumatic. Here I have outlined some questions that you might want to consider. But we all know that plans like this can not be set in stone. Things change. You might make this plan and not need to implement it for a year and then circumstances might change. It’s not to say that when this plan is in place, it must never change. Of course it can change. But preparation really will help you all. 

Some Questions to Think About When Preparing Your Plan:

  • Do you want it to happen at home or at the vets?
  • If it’s out of hours do you know the emergency vets number? 
  • Do you know there are euthanasia services if your vets can’t do a home visit? 
  • Would you want fur clippings or paw prints done? 
  • Do you want an individual cremation? Do you know what services the crematorium might have? 
  • How would you like the last day to look? Do you have a favourite last walk, or a favourite last meal? 
  • Is there some specific music you want playing or a certain calming scent?
  • Is there a friend who you would like to be with you? Do you have enough support?
  • Are you aware and prepared for what will happen during euthanasia? 
  • Are you aware that there is a national bereavement service ran by the blue cross? Their number is 0800 096 6606
  • Do you have finance set aside so you are ok with the choices you want to make?
  • Are your children prepared? Do you want them present? Would they like to be present? Do you have child care you can call on if needed? 
  • Is there another dog you want to be there? 
  • Can you drive to the vets if needed or do you need to have a pet friendly taxi number ready?

This is not a full and exhaustive list. It’s just a guide to things to start to think about. You may well change your mind as time passes. 

Donna’s Personal Experience:

Donna says: “I had a plan in mind for 3 years. It wasn’t a full plan and as time passed and my boy drew closer to the end, plans became more solid. But I know I had some ideas and I was aware of all of these issues. As a mother of a young child I had to have that in mind. What I hadn’t planned was that it didn’t even occur to me that my husband didn’t know what to expect with the euthanasia. It didn’t even cross my mind to explain it to him, despite me explaining it all to my child.” 

If any of this has caused any distress please do also watch our interview with Diane from the Blue cross bereavement service. She spoke so openly and honestly and was a real help to anyone grieving. Do also feel free to contact us with any more questions you might have, or do ask your vet. They will want to help.