Dr. Laura Coulter knows what it’s like to care for a senior dog. Jersey, her Labrador retriever, was her companion of 12 years. So when the time came to say goodbye, she wanted to make her as comfortable as possible. Jersey drifted to sleep in her bed in front of the fireplace in Coulter’s home. “I always refer to her as my heart,” Coulter said, adding that her experience with Jersey inspired her to start Heart With Wings, or Coulter Mobile Veterinary Services, to help others with senior pets. “I just felt so passionate about it; I wanted to extend that to people who are going through the same thing,” Coulter said.
Coulter and her registered veterinary technician, Emily Piche, have just had their one-year anniversary of bringing mobile senior pet care and euthanasia to their clients’ homes, from Toronto to Huntsville. “In that time, we’ve had the opportunity to help a lot of people,” Coulter said.
The Barrie-based mobile vet said there are a lot of reasons people might prefer her service to that of a bricks-and-mortar clinic. “Their pet may be too anxious to leave the home,” she said. “Maybe they have severe mobility problems.” Senior pets also have a lot going on and benefit from longer time with their veterinarian. Coulter said they spend at least one hour with the pets. “The best part is we see them in their environment,” she said, noting they can suggest changes to benefit the pet.
In addition to the full-service care for senior pets, a large part of Heart With Wings is its in-home euthanasia service.
Coulter and Piche have helped families say goodbye to their pets in their homes, under the pet’s favourite tree, on the beach, after a plateful of cake, chocolate and bacon, and many other ways. “It becomes a celebration of life,” she said. “It’s a very different feeling than in the clinic.” Although it is a very sad experience, it’s not all bad. “There is just so much love, it is incredible to be able to experience that, appointment after appointment,” Coulter said. “You’ll never have a death this peaceful and this good.”