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 things so professionally when I was struggling emotionally to cope. I would recommend her services to anyone facing a similar decision.
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.
Dear Dr. Westbrook, I wanted to thank you again for your graciousness, patience and compassion during this most difficult time. Ozzie was, quite literally, my best friend and my only "constant" in the thirteen and a half years I was lucky enough to have him. His gentle nature and silly antics nursed me through a serious illness, times of sadness, loss and distress and I wanted - needed - to allow him his right to die with dignity. Although this was without a doubt the toughest decision I have ever had to make, you did in fact give me the peace of mind and of heart I so desperately needed. I appreciate the time you took to get to know what a precious pet Ozzie was. I appreciate the time you took to explain and discuss the procedure and the aftercare. Most importantly, I appreciate this unique service that you offer for those of us who are struggling with the impending loss of a beloved pet. Here is one of my favorite pictures of Ozzie. He looks so serious, but this photo was taken during a rousing game of soccer.
“I believe that Dr. Westbrook is heaven sent. I was fortunate enough to have my princess, Koda, for 23 wonderful years. She taught me so much about life in a way that only mutual unconditional bonding love can. I remember the tiny little ball of fur that she was when she fit in the palm of my, much younger, hand. She was known to have tested the boundaries of her nine lives; she was resuscitated by firefighters after being in a fire, had a major surgery to unblock her tummy from trying to clean the soot off of her body and many years later suffered from a stroke and could not walk on her hind legs for just over a year, to name a few. She was so determined not to let any of that get her down. She struggled until she recovered, teaching herself to walk again, even able to jump for awhile, albeit geriatric. I had hoped and prayed that I would wake up one morning and find her in eternal rest, I did not feel like I had the strength to make this decision. The day before I called Dr. Westbrook, I knew that it was time for me to grant her peace in repayment of all she had given to me. Taking her from her home, all she had known day in and day out, to let her go was too painful for me to contemplate. Dr. Westbrook brings and amazing energy into your home. The informed, comforting peace that she brings to such a life changing event is no less than incredible. While the wonderful life memories of Koda will be with me forever, so will the wonderful passing that Dr. Westbrook provided to my family. Thank you does not justly express my gratitude."
Dr. Westbrook, The words ‘Thank You’ fall extraordinarily short. When our friend and family member Shadow came to the end of his path, Loving Paws provided comfort during a time when comfort was difficult to find. Shadow was nearing 17 years of age when he finally succumbed to age and health issues. His last hours ripped through our hearts with deep sadness. I wanted to do everything to make him as comfortable as possible. I did not want to put him through the torment of loading this sick and scared animal into a vehicle, driving to the vet, waiting for an undetermined amount of time and finally loading him onto a cold gurney in a totally unfamiliar world. I could not imagine doing that. It seemed cruel and uncaring – at least to me. Fortunately I did not have to take this route. Shadow took a turn for the worse very early Sunday AM. In my eyes, this had become an emergency situation. I called Dr. Westbrook early on a Sunday morning. Sunday Morning!! She called back immediately and setup a time for Shadow that very morning. I was not only astonished that she was able to assist us so quickly, but I was even more astonished (and relieved) at how professional, and soothing, and comforting Dr. Westbrook proved to be. Shadow was my best friend for 17 years. My companion. My heart was not ready for him to leave but my head knew better. Loving Paws helped me cope with Shadow’s departure. He was comfortable. He was calm. He was ready. I would highly recommend Dr. Westbrook and Loving Paws for anyone facing this difficult decision. Loving Paws made it better; and I never would have thought that possible.
Dr. Westbrook, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the loving service you provide to pets in need. When you came into Jake's room and he responded so positively to your presence I felt like he was saying oh you've come to help me and he was happy. The passing of a beloved pet is very difficult and painful for the humans involved, but you made it so much more tolerable by your compassion and loving attention to Jake throughout the process. I felt very well informed about each step and your kindness and caring allowed me to feel good about relieving Jake from his suffering. Thank you for your prompt response to my call for help. I will always be grateful to you.
Our dog Murray was the love of our lives as most pets are. He was struggling with pain and we knew we had to make a very difficult decision. Our vet recommended Dr. Westbrook because she knew how stressful and painful it was for Murray to be in the car. For several weeks we struggled with the decision even making and canceling an appointment with Dr Westbrook. When we cancelled she was absolutely understanding and compassionate. A few weeks later we decided it was time. When Dr. Westbrook arrived she immediately put me at ease. She not only explained the whole process to me but helped me understand that I, was in fact, doing the best thing for my little angel. She really is an amazing person with a very special gift for compassion and care that is just a part of her general nature. Her understanding of both the human and animal psyche and spirit is innate to who she is and part of what makes her so special. It's the most difficult decision to have to make but when you do you will be at ease knowing that Dr Westbrook will be there with you.
Our 80 pound lab/golden mix, Bridget, was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, or DM, a neurological disorder that causes paralysis from the tail forward. For the next four years, she and we jumped through many hoops to keep her ambulatory: weekly water therapy at the Animal Rehabilitation Center, close monitoring by her "regular vet," Dr. Patrick Champlin, and accupuncture and chiropractic treatments along with Chinese herbal therapy by her "other vet," Dr. Karen Ave. For more than 3 years, these extraordinary professionals kept her moving, as did our commitment to her well being. We always knew that when it was Bridget's time to leave for the Rainbow Bridge, the same level of care and her comfort would be our top priority. And we found this in the compassion and individualized care Dr. Rebecca Westbrook of Loving Paws provides. A day that was so very difficult, a day my husband and I faced with heavy hearts that felt as though they were breaking, was made more bearable by the compassion, kindness, professionalism, and experience of Dr. Westbrook, as well as the fact that for Bridget, in her own home, with no change to her routine, with her parents beside her, her peanut butter stuffed kong balls to eat, and yet another caregiver to minister to her, there was not a moment of fear, or stress, or trauma. She had a great last day. We could not ask for more. I did however ask Dr. Westbrook if I could give her a hug as she left. I wanted to thank her for the wonderful service she provided to our beloved Bridget whom we had the privilege to care for for 16 years and 3 months. She was and always will be our special girl. Thank you again, Dr. Westbrook.
Dr. Westbrook, Thank you for the wonderful care you gave Tori over the last few months. We knew Tori was very ill and wanted to give her the best care for her remaining time. It was obvious when we first spoke, you care deeply about what you do and the importance of quality of life. Tori was a fighter and as long as she was willing to fight we wanted to do everything possible. We believe Tori was with us several more months due to your care. Quality of life was also our priority and felt you had Tori's best interested at heart. It has now been 2 weeks since we lost Tori. Tori was telling us she was ready to go. Tori went peacefully in the home she loved so very much with us by her side comforting her. We are trying to focus on the great times, yet it is so painful. We feel fortunate you guided us through this difficult time. The service you offer is invaluable. Thank you for being there for all of us!
Dr. Westbrook, I wanted to let you know how much we appreciated the compassion you showed toward us and our girl Missy. I rescued Missy from the streets of Miami back in 1996. She had a litter of three. The kittens were adopted immediately. A friend convinced me to keep her—it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We did a lot of growing up together in 16 years and she provided a lot of laughter. When my husband and I moved in together, she peed on all of his nice wool baseball caps. When he still fed her, she decided he was an alright guy. She grew to love him and never missed the opportunity to nap on the couch with him. We loved her. She was a part of our family. We agonized over making this decision. We believe it was the best one for Missy and we hope she knows that. Saying goodbye at home was the right thing to do for all of us. Missy hated car rides and the vet. We were able to focus on her, in her environment and without distractions. You were gentle and patient with her—and us. My husband later talked about how kind it was of you to offer to read the prayer he had selected because we just couldn’t do it at the time. Even after she passed away, I worried about her. I remember you saying, “I’ll take good care of her” as you walked out our door with her. I had just met you, but I believed you. I picked up Missy’s ashes Thursday. She’s back home where she belongs.
Olive came into our lives when she was eight months old. Rescued by Greyhounds Unlimited, she was one of an abandoned litter of five and so malnourished she could barely walk. We were privileged to have her for the next 12 years. Suffering from severe separation anxiety, she was responsible for two other greyhounds being added to our family, one of them her sister from the same litter. Olive was all sweetness and grace with a little attitude on the side. She was the alpha dog, even with her humans. She talked to us when she was happy, her "rooing" welcomed us home whenever we left. She was our watchdog, always bringing it to our attention when someone or something was within hearing or seeing distance. She delighted in sneaking forgotten food from kitchen counters to the backyard. In her youth, her walk was a prance. It slowed over the years and then turned into a limp towards the end. A noticeable swelling on a front leg turned out to be inoperable bone cancer. She tried not to let it slow her down, but a week after the diagnosis it was clear that the bright light in her eyes was dimming and the desire to go on had waned. That was the day I found Dr. Westbrook and Loving Paws on line. I knew what needed to be done but could not bare the thought of Olive's last moments filled with stress and pain transporting her to the vet's office - a place she hated going even when she was feeling well. Dr. Westbrook was the answer to my prayers. She came out that evening and wrapped her angel wings around Olive and freed her soul from her tired, pained body. Olive was surrounded by family in the comfort of the place she loved best - home. Her sister laid beside her for a short while before she left us. There was absolutely no pain or stress, only calm. Dr. Westbrook explained everyt hing step by step and acted with the utmost respect toward Olive at all times. Our sweet Olive had a difficult introduction to life but a far better departure. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Westbrook for that. The service she provides is priceless. I know Olive is running free and will again be prancing the next time we walk together.