Milo and Corky

Monica Turenne, D.V.M., C.V.A., owns Four Paws Veterinary Wellness, an integrative veterinary house-call practice in Ann Arbor. She has been a veterinarian for 15 years and is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. In the article Caring for Your Pet with In-Home Hospice, (published in the January through April 2014 issue), Monica discusses the benefits of in-home hospice care. 

Monica Turenne, D.V.M., C.V.A., owns Four Paws Veterinary Wellness, an integrative veterinary house-call practice in Ann Arbor. She has been a veterinarian for 15 years and is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. In the article Caring for Your Pet with In-Home Hospice, (published in the January through April 2014 issue), Monica discusses the benefits of in-home hospice care. 

Milo and Corky 

By Monica Turenne, D.V.M.

It was cold, raining, and late, but I had one house call left. I had received a phone call from this pet parent just a few days prior to this night. She had a 14-year-old Husky mix with severe arthritis who could no longer get around anymore. Medications were no longer working, and she knew it was time to say goodbye. We scheduled a day and a time. Often, this can be the hardest part.

When I arrived, I found the most handsome dog lying on his bed tucked between two walls. His name was Milo. He had the sweetest eyes, and his tail wagged, his very thin and frail body unable to get up to greet me. I said, “Hi,” and sat down to spend some time with him and his family. Milo had a sister named Corky (not biological) who was much younger and definitely more agile! Corky was barking and seemed pretty agitated because I was near her brother. She knew. Corky’s pet parent was worried she might get aggressive with me because she was very protective of Milo. It was decided that for the euthanasia, they would keep her out of sight and then bring her back afterwards.

Milo’s family told me some stories about him and his exploits as a young dog as I prepared everything. They told me how Corky never left Milo’s side — how they were always together. The texture and pitch of their voices changed as they bounced back and forth crying from laughter and sadness. The room quieted as I explained what to expect. Then the focus was all on Milo, sweet Milo.

When they let Corky back in the room, she was oddly quiet. She circled around in front of Milo, sniffing the floor. She looked around, seemingly confused, but definitely not. Then she carefully navigated around Milo’s still body and sat right in front of him. I was holding Milo’s paw at the time, and Corky did not seem to mind. She just sat there for at least five minutes. Her pet parents were literally speechless. Since they have known Corky, they have never known her to ever be tranquil like that, except when she was sleeping. But there she was, sitting straight and motionless. And then suddenly, she stood up, again carefully made her way around her brother, and then began again to want attention, be active, and be Corky.

People ask me often how it is I can do this work day in and day out. Not only do I have the incredible honor to help pets find peace and help pet parents through this difficult process, but I also have the amazing privilege to witness some of the most spiritual moments I have ever encountered.

I know what I think Corky was experiencing soon after Milo passed and what she was doing.

What do you think?


Posted on January 15, 2014 and filed under Winter 2014 Issue, Pets.