We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Gardner, and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey, how does your business help the community?
Veterinary medicine and health care in general is evolving. We are moving away from inconvenient, anxiety provoking experiences where you leave the hospital not fully understanding the case, emotionally depleted and feeling like you have no idea what your next step is. Human medicine has developed concierge medicine to attempt to fill some of these needs. Concierge medicine typically involves paying a monthly fee and you can reach out to your doctor as often as needed. Dr. Gardner with AZ Compassionate Veterinary Home Care is looking to bring a modified concierge medicine experience to veterinary medicine. In her home care model, Dr. Gardner works with historic or past veterinarians your pet has seen to tailor the pet’s care to their specific needs. She provides virtual and in home care for pet’s in the Phoenix Metro area and surrounding cities.
In this role, a concierge veterinarian answers your calls, emails, texts within 24- 48 hours. They will work with other care providers to ensure your pet is taken care of & does not leave guess work to their clients. They are not on call 24/7 but they are there for you to provide support outside of your routine veterinary visits, so long as you have established your veterinary client patient relationship. AZ Veterinary Home Care strives to provide these services for our clients; during in home visits hospice care is provided via low stress exams, injectable medications with integrative treatments, online and local scripting of medications. Dr. Gardner will work with your existing veterinarian to provide palliative and hospice support outside of a veterinary clinic as well as provide care for those who do not have an established vet.
Additionally, in home euthanasia is a growing preferred way to handle end of life care. A concierge veterinarian can work with an owner to help determine when this step may be warranted. In home euthanasia is beneficial for most pets if owners and veterinarians are able to plan the pet’s end of life care. Planning can be accomplished in most cases if owners reach out in the senior years, especially if they have quality of life concerns.
Benefits of in home euthanasia…
You no longer need to load your pet into the car or carrier. They no longer have to feel any of the anxiety or fear that the car ride or vet clinic may bring.
Your pet no longer needs to smell the fearful or painful pheromones of the veterinary clinic, nor hear barking dogs. There is no need for the pet to be separated from their owner in their last moments of their life.
As many family members as desired may be present during these final, sacred moments. They can spend as much time with their pet as they desire before or after sedation.
During their sedative injection the pet may eat a favorite last snack (I tend to like to bring Burgers if they will still eat) and will generally fall asleep peacefully on their favorite bed or in an owners arms. The pet’s last breath can be taken in their most familiar and comforting place.
Though you may shed some tears, they will know that they were loved.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Why do I do it? I have seen euthanasia go different ways: the bad, the traditional, the good death.
The bad death I won’t get to in-depth but typically this is a death that is distressful in some way, either to the owner or the animal.
The traditional veterinary death is in a veterinary clinic. This is an unfamiliar, often scary place. It often may have a medical feel, may not be a very comfortable emotional environment or may be rushed.
The Good Death. This is what I strive to bring every client. My most recent perfect death brings tears to my eyes just to think of and I do this A LOT. It was at this pet’s lifelong home, the owners adult son had come home to visit one last time. We went outside, to his favorite spot under his favorite tree overlooking the mountainous desert of Fountain Hills, AZ. The sun was going down and the owner’s expressed how much he loved this time of day, the sun on his face/eyes. I sedated him while he fell asleep on the son’s lap, was petted and hugged for a last time. It was a beautiful final way for this dog to leave this world.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Pet Owners! When I first started AZCVHC.com I kept getting feedback from clients on how NEEDED this service was! There is no one in the PHX area doing this sort of work in veterinary medicine. Additionally, with the pandemic the pattern that was overwhelmingly occurring in veterinary clinics: no one gets to speak to the doctor any more! So many of my clients were expressing their appreciation just that they could TALK to me, that they were not getting their information second hand from a technician due to drop off and curbside services. Appointments are frequently getting scheduled weeks out in veterinary clinics, owners can reach out to me and we can discuss the case urgency the moment the problem is noted.