Mike Kelley gives his cat Andy a final kiss as the animal expires after veterinarian Dr. Mary Gardner euthanized the 10-year-old pet, in Newport Beach, Calif., Nov. 9, 2013.
A few weeks earlier, Andy didn't greet Kelley at the door as usual and was soon diagnosed with liver disease, which meant euthanasia.
It happened with the help of Gardner, co-founder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, the country's first organized network of veterinarians who provide hospice and end of life care in the pet's home.
Final goodbyeMike Kelley strokes his 10-year-old cat Andy, on the sofa in his living room on the evening when veterinarian Dr. Mary Gardner came to euthanize the animal, in Newport Beach, Calif., Nov. 9, 2013.
Final goodbyeVeterinarian Dr. Mary Gardner looks for a vein to make an injection on Mike Kelley's cat Andy on the living room sofa at his home in Newport Beach, Calif., Nov. 9, 2013.
The group helps animals from dogs to cats to hamsters to pot-bellied pigs.
Dr. Mary Gardner, right, comforts Mike Kelley outside his apartment, in Newport Beach, Calif., as she arrives to euthanize his 10-year-old cat Andy, Nov. 9, 2013.
After Andy developed liver disease, Kelley sought the support of the hospice veterinarian, who came to his home, listened to him talk about his cat and eventually allowed Andy to die with dignity.