All Pets Go to Heaven

When it comes to euthanasia "you're not taking away good days, you're taking away pain. "

Karen Meyers, Veterinarian

Note: This article in the Washington Post by Justin Mover touched a personal nerve, so I thought I'd present an edited-for-length version. The entire article can be read by clicking here.



Pet adoption spiked during the Covid pandemic, with nearly 1 in 5 households taking animals in. With more beasts in our lives — as companions, and emotional support animals it only makes sense that their owners want the final moments in their pets lives to be as peaceful and painless as possible.


That’s where Veterinarian Karen Meyers comes in. Working with Lap of Love, a company that provides veterinarian referrals for at-home pet euthanasia, she travels the D.C. region helping grieving families’ animals acheive what she describes as “a good death.” In four years, she has euthanized 1,500 animals - some had been with their owners since childhood, some had traveled the world with them and some were their owner’s sole companion.


Meyers has observed death rituals that include praying, burning incense, wrapping a deceased pet’s body in a white sheet, and opening a window for a pet’s spirit to exit. She has listened to owners read poems or letters to their pets and cried along with them.


“When people hear what I do for a living, it sounds sad,” Meyers says. “But it’s strangely rewarding. … You give pets a peaceful experience. It’s a final gift.”


The euthanasia process is quick and straightforward: The first injection makes the pet relax and fall asleep. After a few minutes, a small IV is inserted in the animal's leg and after checking with the family, a second shot is administered -- the one with a fatal dose. With a stethoscope, Meyers listens for a heartbeat. When the heart has stopped Meyers tells the family that their pet "has got its wings.".


Eventually, the pet will be cremated and its ashes returned to the family.

"Death is a part of life," Meyers says. “Many times, people will comment how a human family member passed, and it was so painful at the end -- this is peaceful by contrast,” she says. They tell her, she says, that they wish they could go the same way.

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