A look inside the growing trend of pet hospice

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Dr. Sharmyn Clark didn't show up to Wendy Davidson's house to see her, but to see her pet dog Brownie.

The Labradoodle is in congestive heart failure.

During the appointment she reached for her stethoscope.

"His chest sounds really clear in fact it sounds more clear than I have heard it in a long time," she said.

That's not his only problem.

Brownie is also blind and can't hear and has severe arthritis.

"One of the two -- either the heart or the legs will be the first to go," Clark said to Davidson.

Brownie's owner knows his days are numbered.

She said she doesn't know what she will do without her best friend.

"Brownie was there with me every inch of the time he was the best companion," Davidson said.

Instead of constant appointments to the vet, Davidson has chosen pet hospice through Mobile Veterinary Care & Rainbow Bridge Pet Hospice.

Clark has been offering this service to the eastern Suburbs of Cleveland for about 25 years now.

"What we feel pet hospice means is basically comfort care that we provide so the animal is not suffering in the end," she said.

Brownie is slow but not suffering right now.  Clark said she has seen symptoms like his before,

"The thing that is worse from the last time I checked are these back legs he losing more function," she said.

Davidson has some problems of her own -- she lost a leg and it was Brownie who has helped her heal and walk again.  He knows when she needs him, she said,

"He knows I'm upset and comes up to me with great love I don't know how to describe it," Davidson said.

As she watches him decline she said she is grateful to have Clark here to make his life easier.

"I just want him to be comfortable, he is an old man he is the love of my life," Davidson emotionally said.

She has older children and the 58-year-old said they love the dog as much as she does.

Brownie picked her son as an owner and has been with Davidson every day and every night for 14 years.

This is the reason Clark said she offers at home hospice,

"People don't want to keep transporting their pet back and forth from the clinic they want the end to be at home," she said, adding she recognizes home care for a dying pet is not for everyone.

"Thirty years ago when I started in this business people would opt for euthanasia and not even treatment," Clark said.

Brownie still gets the medicines he needs without the stress of going to a vet.

Even though Brownie is declining every day Wendy said she believes she will be able to take the next step,

"I know what's good for my dog. I would never hesitate," she added. "I would probably let Dr. Clark put him down to sleep on a blanket and I would leave for the final shot."

She paused to think about that final shot -- a final shot she has done before for other dogs.  Those dogs she took to the vet office and lay them on a steel bed.

"I will never do it that way again I will never have my dog that scared," Davidson said.

Pet hospice means Brownie gets to stay home, under a doctor's care and under the watchful eyes of Davidson.

This is the dog no one wanted. A dog that helped her walk again. A dog who has been so loyal to her.

Euthanizing him at home is the right thing to do for Brownie, she said.

"It's not going to be sad it's going to be what he gave to me and I gave to him period," Davidson said.

Clark works hand-in-hand with people like Davidson, offering them support and often a warm hand or hug to get her clients through a difficult time.

For more information, visit Clark's website or email mobilevetcare1@gmail.com.

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