Veterinary Hospice and In Home Euthanasia Kristen Arp, DVM, CHPV
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Dr. Kristen Arp
I am a 2002 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, and I am certified in Hospice and Palliative Care. But my love of animals started much earlier. I knew I wanted to care for them from the time I was old enough to start elementary school. By the time I was 12 years old, I knew that veterinary medicine was the way to go.
I have been surrounded by creatures of all sorts, from dogs and cats, to rats and mice, to exotics like snakes and lizards for my entire life. It always felt natural, as did talking to people about our shared interest in animals. The ability to bond with pets and to relate to people has lead me to this calling. I know that in every family I help, it is not only the pets that are in need, but quite often their grieving humans, too. It is my goal to smooth what can be a rough path for pets as they travel the last leg of their journey, and in doing so, ease the way for the whole family as much as possible.
I know I cannot make losing a loved companion easy. It just isn't. But I will do all that I can to make it easier.
It all started when...
I worked in a traditional practice for many years. I knew many of the limitations of typical end of life care and philosophies, as they are often approached in the office. When I first started my mobile practice, I found that I was often asked to help with end of life decisions and services. During these visits, I quickly learned just how much of a difference having these services at home made for the pets and the family. I was often thanked, as the experience was compared to previous ones families had gone through in an office setting. They were grateful that their pet did not have to travel, feel more pain and anxiety, or leave the comfort of their favorite spot. Families were also relieved that these services could be carried out in the privacy and security of home.
As I learned more about hospice and palliative care for pets, I realized that this, too, was a great fit for in home care. Whether a pet had received and imminently terminal diagnosis like cancer, or was struggling with the slow decline of their body or their brain, I could provide them with better comfort during their last days, weeks or months. It was not all or nothing, aggressively treat or euthanize. Just as hospice and palliative care could ease suffering for patients and families in human medicine, it could also ease the transition for pet patients and their families. I could also help families in making decisions to achieve the goals they wanted for their pets at the end of their lives.
We can work together to honor what is best for their pet, and for them, as we travel a difficult journey together, whether that means hospice or palliative care, or it is time to let the pet earn her angel wings.
“My first experience with Dr. Arp was when she came to my mother-in-law’s house to help her dog (Bonkers) pass-away peacefully. While it was hard on the family, Dr. Arp made the process easy by comforting Bonkers and my MIL... I can’t say enough good things about her excellent veterinary skills and the amazing rapport she has with each animal and human.”
"Dr. Arp's service was invaluable to our family. Having a beloved pet put to sleep is such a hard thing to go through. Recently she helped us when it came time to put our poodle to sleep. She was 16 years old seizures and pain. I called and Dr. Arp came over. She discussed some options for possibly keeping our dog comfortable for a while longer. It was nice to have someone to talk to and to have choices. After considering what was best we decided to have her put to sleep. I had gated her in our large master bathroom and master closet to keep her safe and separate from our other pets. Dr. Arp did not mind at all when I asked her to come where our pet was so I didn't have to bring her out of her safe/familiar area. Dr. Arp, myself and my husband all were seated in he master closet where our dog was and Dr. Arp began her work. She made sure everything was done with the utmost care. I have had pets put to sleep at the vets office over the years but being able to to be home where it is private and where our pet was not scared means so much to me. I am very grateful to have her to call on."