A Northern Ireland vet has dedicated herself to helping families say goodbye to their four-legged friends in as humane a way as possible, all in the comfort of their own home.
Stephanie Cousins, who lives in Co Down, and spends her days working as a locum is the director of HomeVetNI, the inspiration for which came from two home euthanasias she performed for her parents.
The University of Liverpool graduate explained: “I take pride in helping families through a very emotional time and ending an animals suffering in a peaceful manner. I believe animals deserve a humane and dignified death without pain or anxiety.
“I have become very passionate in this area of my job in the past couple of years after helping my own family with the loss of two very much loved pets and having my own little Yorkie called Lola put to sleep.
‘Dogs are family’
“Lola had been very sick with heart disease for a long time and her medication had stopped being effective. A colleague at the time very kindly euthanised her for me while she slept in my arms. Although I wish this could have been done in my home, it was a gentle passing for the best little dog.”
Stephanie will now travel to the dog and their family to help everyone face the inevitable, getting to know them all over a period of time and gauging when the time is right to say goodbye.
“My aim is to provide a relaxed, intimate euthanasia service for cats and dogs in the local area. This can be arranged at a time to suit your family including evenings and weekends. This will give you the time needed to say goodbye to your pet. I also provide aftercare if you wish and transport your animal to a local crematorium and even collect the ashes when ready.”
Stephanie, who lives in Castlewellan with her husband Barry and their young children Evelyn and Thomas, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu called Dodi and an 8-year-old cat called Inca, added: ““Dogs are family and they are adored, and families will do everything in their power to help make their lives – and ultimately their deaths – the best they can be.”