True Companions VetVan
Bringing the Vet to your pet with house calls in the Twin Cities, MN since 2010

Services

We offer a variety of both common and unique services.

 

If you've never had an in-home visit, here's an idea of what to expect.

 

Saying Goodbye at Home

 
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Our True Companions fill our lives with unconditional love, boundless loyalty and affection, and uncompromising faithfulness. But, as much as we hate to think of it, someday we all have to say our final goodbye to our beloved friends. What's more, as pet families, we are often called upon to make the proactive choice to end our pet’s suffering. This is one of the most difficult choices you will ever face as a pet parent, and often the first time children are introduced to the concept. We understand that.

That's why we think at-home hospice and euthanasia is often the best choice. You won't have to worry about the logistics of getting to a hospital, getting all of your pet's people somewhere else, facing "the public", or adding unnecessary stress for your pet. They can leave on their own terms, with dignity, and surrounded by their favorite places, things, and people.

At True Companions VetVan, we work very hard to ensure that you have the best information on which to make that decision, the best possible options for hospice and palliative care, and the best services to ease the passing experience.

Assessing Quality of Life

How will you know when it’s “time”? This question haunts every pet lover. How can we possibly decide when “one more day” is no longer a gift for our beloved companion? How much is “too much”? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for these questions. Every pet is different. Every family is different. As a result, what is “right” is never the same for any two situations.  

However, there is a method to help guide you. Ultimately, the key is assessing quality of life. But what does that mean? I encourage you to put careful thought into those things that tell you your True Companion is happy. Maybe it's going for a walk or napping in a sunny patch. A favorite toy. A favorite treat. Many families find that making a list of these things can be helpful. As your pet becomes unable to enjoy these things, you know quality of life is declining.

For many people, this Quality of Life Assessment can be very useful for making an impossible emotional decision somewhat more objective by assigning numbers to various items, such as pain control and mobility. You and your family will read through each of seven items and assign a number between 1 and 10 for your pet. You then total those numbers together for a final “score”. This provides a somewhat more objective way to track your pet’s quality of life from their perspective, and to map that value over time.

Please know that you can always contact us for an appointment to discuss your pet’s overall condition. We will not pressure you into a decision.

Hospice Care

Hospice is so often misunderstood. It isn't about suffering and pain. It's about providing more: more quality, more choices, more dignity, more control. And guess what else? The best place to provide hospice care isn't in a hospital—it's at home, under the care of a committed pet parent.

Because of its importance in both the pet's and family's well-being toward the end, I have written a series of blog posts to go in-depth on the subject and my philosophy. 

What to Expect

During this sensitive time, we want to ensure you have a good understanding of the process, and there are no surprises that might add to your stress or make the situation more difficult. Below is an outline of how we go about managing that, and the things to think about as you prepare. Much of this can often be discussed and decided well in advance so you can avoid being overwhelmed at a time you're least equipped to manage details.

  • Our first priority is to answer all your questions about your pet's condition, alternative treatments, financial aspects, and quality of life so you can be assured in your decision.
     
  • Next, we will discuss the options available.
     
    • Involvement - Some want to be very involved, some don't even want to be present, but want the maximum comfort for their pets. Some want all their family and even friends around, some want only selected individuals or no one at all. How this happens is completely up to you.
       
    • Location - We at True Companions VetVan believe that, for most families, home is the most comfortable place to say goodbye. You don't have to worry about being "in public", or feeling unsettled as events play out. You can decide the place and how it will “look”. Most families select a favorite bed or blanket or a peaceful place in the yard - wherever you and your pet can feel the most relaxed.
       
    • Rest Options - You can choose public or private cremation (see "What Happens to My Pet's Body" below)
       
  • When it's time to help your pet by letting go, we will make every effort to accommodate your schedule as quickly as possible. 
     
  • At the appointment, we will first review the process and options you've chosen. Initially your pet will be given a sedative as an injection under the skin or into the muscle to relax, and we'll place an IV catheter. When you're ready, we will inject the final medication through the catheter and into the bloodstream. Your pet will feel no discomfort and will quickly go to sleep, and then his or her breathing and heart will quietly stop. Your pet will pass away peacefully and painlessly.
     
  • Finally, we will carry out your rest selection.

Please contact us of you have any questions, or schedule an appointment online.

What Happens to my Pet's Body?

Most people don’t have a place to bury a pet (and it may not be legal in all areas), so we provide two options for cremation. Note that, regardless of which choice you make, your pet will never be taken away in a plastic bag, and will always be treated with respect.

  • Group Cremation - With our basic service, we wrap your pet in a blanket when we leave and provide a “group” cremation. If you choose this service, you will not be able to get the cremains (ashes) back from your pet. You may request a clay paw print as a keepsake.
     
  • Private Cremation - For those who prefer to have the ashes returned, we partner with the outstanding people at Pets Remembered. In most cases they will meet us at your home at the right time and take your pet away in a warm blanket. The cremains will be returned to you in a beautiful decorative wooden box, along with a lock of fur and paw print, generally within 24 hours. They also offer a large number of alternative urns and other remembrances, and even the option to observe the cremation if you choose. We selected them as our exclusive partner because of our shared value for the pet/family bond, their human-quality professionalism, full transparency, deep love of pets, and guaranteed one-at-a-time approach (true "private" one-at-a-time cremation, as opposed to "separate", where several animals are together but separated by space). Feel free to visit their web site linked above or on our Favorite Links page for more information.

Grieving

Losing a pet can be every bit as painful as losing any other family member. It is normal to grieve, and important to allow yourself to do so. Know you are not alone—there are many resources available to help you deal with the loss of a pet. Pet loss hotlines and support groups are available as well as books and online resources (see our Favorite Links page for some we recommend). Locally, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center provides counseling services and resources for those suffering from pet loss.