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Owners Opting For Pet Hospice When It Comes To Their Animal's Last Days

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Twelve-year-old Nugget was recently diagnosed with bone cancer. She has trouble walking, but it's clear that she's still full of love.

That's why her owner, Kathy Adams, hired Dr. Lynn Hendrix to provide her dog with something associate more with people—home hospice care.

"We were no longer trying to cure her disease, but keep her comfortable," Adams said.

Hendrix says she's seeing more pet owners wanting to use her service that gives them another option for their pet besides euthanasia.

She's the same vet that Adams used when her other dog, Ivy, recently died.

As a vet making house calls, Hendrix was able to give advice, help administer medication, and even provide support for a grieving owner.

"It's kind of a personal, spiritual thing, and it was really important for me to be there, and not curtail her life out of convenience for me, but certainly not to let her go beyond where we would keep her comfortable," Adams said.

Hendrix says most pet owners can feel forced to put their dog down too early, but hospice care can offer the family and pet more time together.

"A good majority of my patients in hospice end up euthanized before their natural death," Hendrix said. "However, that is a choice that we make together as a team. The animal has input, I have input, and the owners have input."

Saying goodbye to your pet is never easy, but Dr. Hendrix hopes her service can at least make it more comfortable for everyone involved.

"They are family for me, and I can't imagine doing it any other way," Adams said.

Hendrix is also part of a group working on writing formal guidelines for any vet who wants to expand into hospice care.

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