Dr. Laffins will arrive at your home in a white van. If he is running early or late, he will call you directly at the phone number you provided. Otherwise, he should arrive at your home within 15 minutes of your scheduled appointment. He will be wearing Heart’s Companion green or blue scrubs.
Paperwork & Payment
Once he arrives, Dr. Laffins will go over all the necessary paperwork and answer any questions you may have. The goal is complete transparency and he wants to make sure you are as fully informed as you would like to be about the process, including what to expect after death. Please be prepared to sign a cremation authorization as well as a liability release form. This includes an acknowledgement that your pet has not bitten anyone in the last 15 days. Please know the State requires we ask these questions and is not an assessment or opinion of your pet.
This is also when payment will be discussed and made. If you are planning a private or communal cremation, you must pay for both the vet and cremation services. Payment for the euthanasia may be made directly to Dr. Laffins and the payment for the cremation services may be made via cash, check or credit card to Heart’s Companion.
Dr. Laffins may provide materials including articles about the emotions of euthanasia and dealing with grief. If you have other pets or children, materials about pets and children in grief can be provided.
The next step is to determine how you would like the euthanasia to be performed. It is very important to Dr. Laffins that the experience be as comfortable for your pet and you as possible. Please do not be shy about expressing what you’d like as you are in control of the area and the situation. Dr. Laffins may get on the floor with your pet, you can hold your pet during the process, be outside, or in a special location in your home. You are welcome to have as many or as few people present as desired. Children and other pets are welcome and encouraged to be present as long as they are not disruptive to the peaceful process.
Performing the Euthanasia
Wherever you decide to do the euthanasia, Dr. Laffins will lay out a blanket and/or an absorbent pad underneath where your pet will lay. If needed, Dr. Laffins will wear a headlamp that provides extra light to access the vein. Your pet will be given a sedative which may be administered subcutaneously (under the skin), or in the abdomen for cats and small dogs. This will allow your pet to relax and be calm during the process. The sedative will take 5-10 minutes to reach full effect. Some people prefer to use this time petting, loving, and saying goodbye to their pet. Others will read poems or letters. Others desire to sit quietly. It is completely up to you how you will use this time.
When you are ready, Dr. Laffins will prepare to administer the final injection. First he will apply a tourniquet followed by shaving some hair from the leg. The injection will be given intravenously. Your pet will peacefully pass within minutes of receiving the final injection. At this time, Dr. Laffins will gather his things and take them out to his van allowing you some time alone with your pet. When Dr. Laffins returns, he will check your pet with a stethoscope to ensure your pet has passed.
After Your Pet has Passed
Depending on the size of your pet, Dr. Laffins may ask for assistance lifting your pet. After your pet has been respectfully placed in a casket and partially covered with a blanket, he/she will be taken to Dr. Laffins’ car. You are welcome to come out to the car with your pet. Once your pet is loaded into the car, you will be able to say a final goodbye before he leaves. Dr. Laffins will transport your pet to Heart’s Companion for cremation services. Heart’s Companion will call you as soon as your pet arrives so you know your pet arrived safely to our center.
If Heart's Companion is Performing Your Cremation
Within 48 hours your pet will be cremated and the cremated remains will be returned to you, unless you have elected to have a Custom Pet Paw Print® made, in which case it will be within 72 hours. A Heart's Companion staff member will call you when it is time for your pet's cremated remains to come home.
About Dr. Laffins
Dr. Laffins was born and raised in Chico, CA. He graduated from Chico High School in 1986 and received a BA in Criminal Justice at UNR in 1990. Immediately after college, Dr. Laffins became an NHP trooper where he worked for several years before returning to UNR to attend the pre-vet program.
Dr. Laffins graduated from Colorado State University Veterinary program in 1999.
He has practiced in small animal medicine for 1.5 years. He worked for Charles River Labs for 15 years and is currently the Director of Colony Animal Health and Surgery.
Dr. Laffins is married with two teenagers and a little poodle mix puppy. In his spare time he enjoys jogging, fishing, boating, reading, and motorcycle riding.