Hospice care for family pets

- Phyllo has has a rough year. The 13 year-old Cocker Spaniel's diagnoses have included a heart murmur, Cushing's disease, and tumors on his eye and rear. Soon after he began having seizures.

But despite all of that, the dog was still in good spirits. His owner Ellen Terry, of West Hempstead, Long Island, says since he hates riding in the car, vet visits became stressful. She wasn't sure what to do.

"There was no support," Terry said. "They look at him with his lesions, you know 'what are you doing with that dog? The poor thing, put him out of his misery.' And I was like no, he seems so happy."

Over the summer Terry connected with Dr. Heather Manfredi, a veterinarian with Lap of Love, which provides in-home, end-of-life veterinary care for pets, and the people who love them.

"We make sure our fur babies are not alone and they are comfortable and not scared and that they are at home and they have a good death," said Dr. Manfredi.

While Phyllo is one of Dr. Manfredi's hospice, cases, most of the house calls Lap of Love doctors makes are for animals at the very end of their lives.

"I think all of us have the vision, what would the perfect end of life experience be? Is it outside ya know in the backyard at sunset and your whole family is around and you get to make a toast to your pet to say goodbye, that's possible, it's actually possible," said Dr. Dani McVety, who founded Lap of Love in 2009 in Tampa, Florida.

The practice now works with 143 vets around the country.

"Death is going to happen whether we step in or not, so for us to be able to provide this kind of care, it's an incredible honor," Dr. McVety said.

Lap of Love's at-home services start at $250 dollars. But clients like Ellen Terry say giving your ailing pet the comfort of being in his or her own home, is priceless.

"The difference between someone warm and coming into your house and making him comfortable and us comfortable, as opposed to walking into the vet with a cold table, it's a big difference," she said.

As for Phyllo, he still seems to have plenty of life left in him and is enjoying the affection of his family members, particularly when it comes in the form of treats. But when the time does come to say goodbye, his family says, they'll take comfort knowing that he is comfortable, until the very end.

Lap of Love currently serves Long Island, Westchester and many parts of New Jersey. For more information: https://www.lapoflove.com/

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