At Gentle Hands Cherished Paws we believe in caring for the mind, body, and spirit of our patients and the hearts of their caregivers; and while a large part of our practice is to facilitate a peaceful passing for our patients, we offer so much more including:
While not a new concept, hospice care for pets has been slow to take off in the veterinary field. The advances over the years have made it possible for our pets to live longer, healthier, and happier lives, but the focus has primarily been on curing disease and prolonging life. Unfortunately, there comes a point in everybody’s life, including our pets, where the focus of care should shift from finding a cure to providing comfort. That is where veterinary hospice comes into play. Similar to human hospice, the veterinary model will focus on providing basic care to maintain a good quality of life for both the pet and their family without the often stressful visit to the veterinary hospital.

Some examples of diseases/conditions that may warrant hospice or palliative care include:
  • Cancer
  • Organ Failure (Kidney, Liver, Heart)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cognitive Dysfunction or Dementia
  • Senior pets approaching end of life
  • Failure to thrive
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Any life limiting condition that contributes to an excessive burden for the caregiver, or medical treatment that the patient no longer tolerates.

What to Expect:

When we begin caring for a hospice patient, we tailor an individual plan designed to address their specific ailments and needs. Our goal is to keep them happy and comfortable as they near the end of their life. We will begin by assessing your pet by performing a physical examination, taking a thorough medical history with reviewing your pet’s previous medical records.

From there, we will make nutritional, environmental, medication, and supportive care recommendations and provide you with the tools and resources needed to implement your pet’s plan. We will discuss what you can expect from your pets disease process, and address family concerns as well. We strive to be there for our clients as well as our patients and can offer multiple pet loss counseling resources that can help you navigate this difficult time.
At Gentle Hands Cherished Paws, we believe that a peaceful transition is one of the most loving of gifts you can give a loyal family member. After working in the emergency department for years, Dr. Jason and Tory have seen first hand the stress, anxiety, and regret that can go with having to say good-bye in the heat of moment in a sterile hospital. We whole-heartedly believe that a devoted pet’s final moments should be basking in the loving embrace of their family in the comfort of their own home whenever possible.

What to Expect:

Upon our arrival we will make introductions to your family and of course your pet. Our goal is to ensure that this is as relaxed and peaceful as possible so we take our time, giving your pet and family a chance to acclimate to our presence. During this time, Dr. Jason will discuss the euthanasia process and answer any questions the family may have. From there, your pet will be given a sedative/pain medication combination that will cause them to relax; in fact most pets look like they are sleeping (and are often times snoring) once this medication takes effect. Once your pet has completely absorbed the mediation (anywhere from 5-20 minutes), Dr. Jason will administer an overdose of a barbiturate called pentobarbital. Once administration is complete, Dr. Jason will confirm your pet’s passing by listening to their heart.

At this point, Dr. Jason will collect a few memorial items to keep close to your heart in the absence of your pet. These include a clipping of fur and a clay imprint of your pets paw.

Once the memorial items are collected, you may continue to spend as much time with your pet as you need. If we are assisting with cremation services (see Cremation Services for more information) we will retrieve either a gurney or basket (depending on your pet’s size), to help aid with their transport. If you have any small items, blankets, or bedding you’d like to stay with your pet, let us know so we can include those items.
One of the most challenging aspects of sharing your life with a senior pet, is interpreting when its time to say good-bye. The consultation appointment is designed to ease the fear of making the decision to say good-bye too soon or too late.

What to Expect?

This appointment begins the same as the hospice appointment. Your pet’s medical records will be reviewed and then Dr. Jason will perform a physical examination to assess your pet’s condition. Dr. Jason will then discuss your pet’s quality of life with your family followed by his recommendations in regards to what the next step should be for your pet.
Through Resting Waters we are able to offer the following aquamation services. If you would like more information about aquamation please visit their website at

Individual Aquamation: This option is for pet parents who are interested in having their loved one’s ashes returned to them. The pet will be aquamated individually and can be picked up directly from Resting Waters with an expected turnaround time of 7-14 days. Ashes are returned in a cylindrical scatter box urn with upgraded urn options available at Resting Waters.

Resting Waters:
9205 35th Ave SW Seattle, WA

Communal Aquamation: This option is for the pet parents who would like their loved one aquamated, but who do not wish to have the ashes returned to them. The pet will be aquamated with other loved ones and the ashes are spread near the Chiwawa River by Leavenworth on property owned by Resting Waters.

Deciding how to care for your pet’s body after they’ve passed is a deeply personal and intimate choice and we will do our best to help honor your wishes. For most pet parents that means aquamation/cremation or home burial, but there are many different options. Please let us know if you have any special requests and we will do our best to honor your wishes.