Dr. Ullrich will arrive at your home in her grey Subaru Forrester. If she is running early or late, she will call you directly at the phone number you provided. Otherwise, she should arrive at your home within 15 minutes of your scheduled appointment. She will be wearing Heart’s Companion green or blue smock.
Paperwork & Payment
Once she arrives, Dr. Ullrich will go over all the necessary paperwork and answer any questions you may have. The goal is complete transparency and she 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. Ullrich and the payment for cremation services may be made via cash, check or credit card to Heart’s Companion.
Dr. Ullrich 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. Ullrich 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. Ullrich 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. Ullrich will lay out a blanket and/or an absorbent pad underneath where your pet will lay. If needed, Dr. Ullrich 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. Ullrich will prepare to administer the final injection. First she 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. Ullrich will gather her things and take them out to her van allowing you some time alone with your pet. When Dr. Ullrich returns, she 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. Ullrich may ask for help lifting your pet onto her soft stretcher. Your pet will be respectfully placed in a blue care bag. Your pet will then be taken to Dr. Ullrich’s 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 she leaves. Dr. Ullrich 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.
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. Ullrich
Dr. Ullrich graduated from the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and has worked in small animal practice her entire career. Five of those years were at a feline only practice, so she has a special place in her heart for kitties. But, she loves all dogs as well.
Dr. Ullrich always makes every effort to communicate well with her clients and to make sure they understand and are a part of their pet’s medical care. She understands that part of good veterinary care is to address both the needs of the pet and the pet parents.
Her career has evolved over the years, and she now focuses on senior care, palliative care, and helping owners with end of life decisions for their precious furry companions.