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For many of us, pets are family members. Our animals look to us to make the tough decisions for them when they are suffering due to aging or illness. There are often few options. We can aggressively treat pets using standard medical procedures, but sometimes pain management and euthanasia are the only options.

Licensed Euthanasia Technicians have the means and training to put animals that are beyond treatment and recovery to sleep humanely. This service is provided at our Wood Dale location, allowing you to have your last moments with your pet in an intimate, peaceful atmosphere.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact the Pet Service Director, Nancy Schwartz at


For many, grief begins before the loss of a beloved pet. It begins the day you realize that your pet is approaching the end of it’s life, even though the final loss of that pet may still be many months ahead. This stage of grief is especially difficult because it is without closure. You can’t make an effort to “get over it” or “feel better” because the loss itself has not occurred. Yet, no matter how bad you feel you know that things are just going to get worse.

Grief for impending loss is complicated by the need to make difficult, painful decisions. How much treatment should you pursue? At what point will treatment cause more trauma than relief? Can you provide the care needed to keep your pet comfortable, and will your pet reach a point where no amount of care can do this? At what point, if any, should you consider euthanasia?


Euthanasia literally means a “gentle death”. The procedure is an intravenous injection of a barbiturate overdose (an anesthetic agent). The passing of the pet occurs within seconds after the administration of the solution.


One of the most common sources of guilt is the belief that one has euthanized a pet “too soon” or for “selfish” reasons. The person who worries most about not having “done enough” is often a person who has already gone to superhuman efforts to care for their pet.

Some pet owners reject euthanasia as they feel it is “unnatural.” Nature, some say, has a timetable for every life and by artificially ending a life, we’re disrupting nature’s plan. This belief overlooks the fact that by providing treatment, surgery, medication, or any other form of care for a sick or injured pet, we are already extending that pet’s life far beyond what would occur if matters were left in the not-so-tender hands of “nature.” Euthanasia is often not so much a question of “artificially ending” a life, but determining when to cease artificially extending it.

Many of us have heard of pets that allegedly offered some indication of acceptance of death, of being “ready to move on.” Such a “signal” would remove the dreadful burden of having to make that decision on our own. Unfortunately for most that signal never comes.


Will you be there?

Deciding to be with your pet during the euthanasia procedure is an individual decision. Many pet guardians want to hold, comfort and talk to their pet during the procedure. For some, being present at the time of death provides closure. It is an opportunity to say good-bye to the pet and to be involved in the final moments of the pet’s life. Doubts or questions about the death of the pet are eliminated when a guardian is present at the time of euthanasia. Many people feel it is important to be present during euthanasia while others may find it too difficult. The right decision is the one that feels most comfortable for you and your family.

What will you do next?

The worst time to decide what to do with your pet’s remains is at the last minute. It’s far better to begin discussing options weeks in advance. Even the guardian of a perfectly healthy pet can begin considering the answer to this question at any time. If you want to make special funeral or private cremation arrangements or want a particular type of urn or casket, advance preparation is helpful.