The death of a pet can be as traumatic as the death of a family member for many animal lovers.
Lap of Love's mission is to minimize the trauma by providing educational information to pet owners and providing pets with "the perfect ending to the perfect life."
The local Lap of Love office was established in 2015 by longtime veterinarian, Dr. Suzanne Gibson, of Murfreesboro, to offer veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia in Middle Tennessee.
Gibson, who is a graduate of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and Cumberland University, knew her life's calling was to help animals by the age of 9.
After working in emergency veterinary clinics for over a decade, she was inspired to offer at-home care for animals suffering from a terminal illness. These illnesses could include anything from brain tumors and liver disease to heart disease and chronic renal failure.
"We don't do vaccines or surgeries or anything like that. We aren't meant to replace your normal veterinarian, but to be an extension of that. Our practice focuses on end of life care," she said.
"It is modeled after human hospice," Gibson continued. "Obviously, pets can't talk to us, so it is a different plan tailored for each individual patient to keep them as comfortable as possible. We want for pets to have the best quality of life - but to also make sure their owners know what to expect."
Gibson gave the example of a Great Dane breed, which can weigh 120 to 200 pounds. "There is no way (if your Great Dane is ill) that you can lead him and get him into the car and take him to a veterinary clinic," she said. "To be able to have someone come into the home and provide care reduces stress and fear."
She noted that their website, lapoflove.com, offers material to assess whether or not your pet is ready for hospice or possibly euthanasia. "A lot of times people won't know when it is the right time," Gibson explained. "We have tools online to help them."
Gibson, who is the owner of three rescued Boxers, said the new-found business is emotionally rewarding because of the comfort she is able to bring to families and their four-legged "furbabies."
"People are so appreciative," she said, adding that clients are given clay paw prints of their pets and memorial booklets after they are deceased.
For more information, call 615-988-6828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.