Jennifer Cushing, DVM, CHPV
Beloved Pet Home Euthanasia and Hospice was founded by me, Dr. Jennifer Cushing. I have been a general practice veterinarian for 14 years. My interest in veterinary hospice and home euthanasia began 6 years ago after navigating the path of chronic illness with my own pet. One day I noticed that my beloved beagle Camellia was having blood tinged urine. I brought her to my hospital and was devastated to diagnose her with bladder cancer. The type of bladder tumor Camellia had was a slowly progressive terminal condition.
Upon diagnosis, we began palliative care because there were no curative options available. Palliative care included medicine to reduce her discomfort/ inflammation and if a secondary urinary tract infection developed it was treated with antibiotics. For about a year Camellia’s discomfort level seemed controlled and her quality of life was good. Her activity level was normal; she had enthusiasm for her walks and meals and still was the curious beagle that always wanted to get into the trash. After a year of treatment Camellia’s condition worsened and she began to show signs of discomfort.
When I made the decision to put Camellia to sleep, I dreaded the idea of taking her for that last car ride to the hospital. We had been to the hospital many times during the course of her illness and the place always caused her to become frightened and stressed. I couldn’t stand the idea that she would be experiencing fear and anxiety in our last moments together. It suddenly became very clear that the best option would be to put Camellia to sleep at home.
On Camellia’s last day she was resting on her favorite chair on the porch. I gave her a sedative injection and she drifted off into a peaceful sleep in the sunshine. Once she was deeply sedated I gave her the final euthanasia injection and she passed away comfortably and gently. It was such a beautiful experience. It was a peaceful death without pain or fear because she was in the comfort of her home surrounded by her family.
After that day I felt like I was on a mission to offer every one of my pet patients and their human family the gift of a peaceful passing in their own home.
In 2019 I became certified by the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) as a Hospice Palliative Care Veterinarian (CHPV). This is a rigorous 16 month, 100 hour certification program taught by experts in the field. I'm so grateful for the program helping me to hone my communication skills, increase my knowledge of hospice and palliative care and euthanasia techniques. This knowledge has helped me to better serve families and their beloved pets.