Providing Peace and Closure for Animals and their Human Companions
Dr. Mark Huber
Provide Peace and Closure for Animals and their Human Companions
by Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
Dr. Mark Huber and his wife, Stacey, help pet parents navigate a challenging experience––saying a final goodbye to a beloved animal companion. Through their business, Till We Meet Again, they provide hospice and home euthanasia services that allows families to be with their pet in the comfort of their own home when it is time to say goodbye.
A veterinarian for more than 20 years, Mark has a special interest in emergency and critical care. For the first 10 years of his professional career, he worked in a day practice seeing not only dogs and cats but also sheep, cows, horses and goats. Since 2008, he has been seeing emergencies at Pet Emergency Treatment and Specialties (PETS), in Lancaster.
Mark and Stacey are animal advocates. Observing Mark’s emergency animal care for many years, and recognizing the peace and closure that comes with at-home euthanasia, Stacey encouraged Mark to extend the service to the local community.
“Most day-practice veterinarians and emergency veterinary services would like to provide in-home euthanasia, but various factors make it difficult to leave the veterinary hospital setting,” says Mark. “My schedule at PETS allows me the flexibility to coordinate in-home visits.”
When pet parents wonder if it is time to say goodbye, Mark is available to help make the decision. “Sometimes I meet with pet owners and tell them, ‘Today doesn’t have to be the day.’ We might be able to put hospice services in place to make the pet more comfortable,” he suggests.
“No one knows your pet better than you and your family. In their own way, your pet will let you know. We believe it is truly unmistakable,” adds Stacey.
“Sometimes a gentle reminder is necessary when pet parents don’t want to let go,” says Mark. “When the time has come, we remember the one promise that we give to our pets: that we will never ask them to suffer for us. The fair thing for the animal is to be able to say that most of their days are good days. When they can’t be themselves, we have to be able to stay true to our promise to let them go and not make them live for us.
“End-of-life care that takes place at home allows animals to feel more comfortable,” explains Mark. “The pet hasn’t experienced a car ride that may make them feel uncomfortable, nor are they in a veterinary office setting with other animals that may be experiencing anxiety about being at the vet. Human companions are more comfortable because they can be with their beloved pet and truly grieve.
“Stacey and I take a horrendous experience and allow people to experience it as organically and naturally as possible,” avows Mark. “The process can be done in the animal’s favorite spot; whether it’s under a tree in the front yard, the patio out back or on the sofa by the fireplace, that is where we will be to let the dear animal friend go.”
During the euthanasia process, the first injection is made to gently sedate the animal and allow for a peaceful rest while family members spend time stroking, talking and sharing one last special moment with their pet. A final injection follows. Mark and Stacey transport the pet for aftercare. Aftercare may include private cremation, communal cremation or home burial. A keepsake paw print is included with each of the options.
“After more than a decade of helping dog and cat owners with euthanasia in an emergency room setting, hearing their failed pleas to have the service done in their home, I realized this was the one true way I could give back,” shares Mark.
For more information, call 717-897-0536 or visit TillWeMeetAgain.com.
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