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Simmer was only 2 months old when we brought her home along with her sister from a litter of about 10. This was in Ft. Myers, FL in 2000. She was my first dog that I was truly responsible for and like many others, you just don’t know what you’re in for until you live it.
She was a little golden ball of fur with lots of energy and playfulness. We learned very early on that she loved to be in the water. She might have been part fish in a past life so we encouraged that as much as we could taking her swimming whenever the chance presented itself. Even through all the big changes in life, moving from Ft. Myers to Cleveland and ultimately to Dallas, she never complained. She seemed perfectly happy as long as we were together. That’s what I’ll take with me the most. The loyal faithful companion that never asked for anything and was simply content to be together.
She had a stroke in July 2014 but luckily physical therapy got her back on her feet again so she could enjoy walks and even chasing alls in the park. During that time we discovered she had Chronic Renal Failure. We put her on a special kidney diet and her numbers stabilized quite well. She even seemed to enjoy the new food . Eventually the CRF turned into late stage renal failure. It was Mar 20 when we discovered her numbers had spiked pretty dramatically. We tried fluid treatments but she was losing her appetite pretty rapidly and was struggling with her mobility due to weight loss and muscle loss. Through it all she remained brave and always had a warm welcome for me when I’d come home. Even though she had stopped eating dog food at this point I was able to get her to eat things such as chicken, ground beef, and hot dogs for about a week, which made us hold out just enough hope that she might rally and have some more time together. Ultimately she stopped eating all together which is when we knew were coming face to face with the decision all pet owners dread.
The sad day finally came on Mar 30 and we decided to say farewell and send her back to the stars. Dr. Westbrook was very kind, professional, and most importantly helped her pass peacefully and without stress at home lounging in the back yard which was one of her favorite things to do.
Thank you to Dr. Westbrook and her staff for being there in time of need and handling thigns so professionally when I was struggling emotionally to cope. I would recommend her services to anyone facing a similar decision.
~ Eric Morton
I think that there are special places in the next world for special people like Dr. Westbrook – people that are called to help others in real times of need. And the choice to put an animal to sleep, and the actual process of doing it, is what I call a real time of need. My beloved cat Jeff was a magical, wise, “dog-like” cat whose funny personality is well documented over many years worth of family albums. I don’t know that any non-animal lover will ever “get” this, but he was truly family to us. For all my years of joking that he would live forever and never die, the end of his life as I knew was coming. It was clear to see.
I have to be honest and tell you that there was a huge part of me that wanted Jeff to die naturally with a quick, non-suffering death so that I would not have to make a decision. But, it became obvious to me that his long term battle with kidney disease was taking too much of a toll on his 19 year-old body, and that I would have to be the kind of pet owner that he needed me to be. I have a wonderful vet who has an incredible office with an incredible staff, but the thought of taking him up there and spending my last moments with him in that setting created even more pain for me. I will be eternally grateful to my vet for recommending Dr Rebecca Westbrook and her services. I had never heard of home euthanasia, but it just felt right from the get-go. Even Rebecca’s voice was kind and nurturing, and from my first conversation with her, I knew that this way of helping Jeff pass would be the kindest for him and for me. It was helpful to me that she took the time to explain everything that she was going to do ahead of time. I loved the fact that she believes in sedating your animal first so that they feel comfortable and relaxed, and so that they’re in no pain before she gives the final injection. I know that not all vets do it this way - it takes more time and more medication, but I’m convinced that this is the kindest way to usher our animal friends out.
All that said, I think the real beauty of what Dr Westbrook does for the pet owner is that she allows you the dignity to grieve the passing of your pet the way that you need to grieve it, and she seems intuitive enough to know what it is that she needs to do to help facilitate that. For me, I needed a few close girlfriends there and beautiful music and candles and lots of talking to and holding Jeff - and lots of tears. I think for others they might need quiet and no words and the comfort of knowing that they didn’t have to do this in a public setting. For some, though they may not be able to be in the same room with their pet during their passing, they need the peace of knowing that their pet’s last moments were in a familiar environment. Rebecca seems okay with all of the above, and respectful of the different ways that we all need to grieve.
I could go on and on, but I think that I’ll stop there. No one can take away the pain of losing a beloved pet. We all have to walk through that in our own way. But I do believe that we can create memories of their passing that are meaningful and rich and, for me, quite spiritual. I needed that. I hope that you, too, find what you need to bring you some measure of peace and comfort.
~ Jennifer W.