- Length: 2 sessions, 4 hours total
- Class Format: On-demand teleclass to take anytime, at your convenience. You will receive links to 4 hours of MP3 recordings (from a live class which includes the questions, comments and interactions of the participants with the instructor) and PDF’s containing 32 pages of detailed handouts.
- Tuition: $98
- Coaching and Mentoring Fee*: $150 Read more about these sessions
- Instructor: Windi Wojdak, RVT
- Who Should Attend: Anyone who would like to reduce the anxiety and stress (for themselves and the animals) related to end-of-life decisions by increasing their education to better understand the euthanasia process. Particularly helpful for practitioners who are in a position to educate and support clients as they anticipate and make end-of-life decisions regarding their animals—such as veterinary professionals, pet loss grief counselors, animal communicators and other animal care professionals. The information you’ll gain can also be easily shared with your clients or loved ones to assist them in supporting themselves and their animals.
- Register: Click here to purchase (This link will automatically redirect you to the Animals in our Hearts web site for purchase.)
- Testimonials: Click here
For students enrolled in the certification program:
- This is a required class
- Prerequisite: Preferable to have taken the first three CORE classes first
- Required Reading:
• Blessing the Bridge, What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond by Rita Reynolds
• Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice by Amir Shanan (Editor), Tamara Shearer (Editor), Jessica Pierce (Editor)
The first book includes personal stories of being with animals during euthanasia and can provide emotional preparation and support. The second book describes the procedures involved in animal euthanasia, providing a thorough understanding of the process to help reduce fear and anxiety of the unknown.
- Fee for Coaching & Mentoring session held after submission of Written Class Review: $150 (fee not applicable for students who have pre-paid the entire certification program fee which includes these sessions)
In this class you will have an opportunity to:
- Become familiar with an accurate definition and understanding of euthanasia as it relates to companion animals
- Explore the factors involved in our approach to end of life options and preparation for the death of an animal loved one
- Examine factors that contribute to or distract from quality of life for animals nearing death
- Empower yourself by learning how to review the practical decisions involved in choosing euthanasia for our animals, reflect upon these issues and make plans as far ahead of the euthanasia as possible within your circumstances
- Learn how we can shape a euthanasia experience that will bring us closer to our beloved animals and make their passing a time of deep honor and connection
- Increase your awareness of typical protocols for euthanasia used in private veterinary practices, primarily as they refer to cats and dogs
- Acquire an understanding of the stages of the process of physical death that occur with euthanasia, including what you may witness
- Examine potential triggers for judgements and misunderstandings that may arise from our own assumptions and beliefs when working with clients whose animals will be or have been euthanized, and importance of keeping such personal triggers out of client interactions
- Increase your understanding of the perspectives, experiences and challenges of veterinary professionals who perform euthanasia
- Become familiar with resources beyond this class to help both practitioners and companion animal guardians
Content and Purpose
From Windi Wojdak, RVT, Class Instructor:
For some of us, the mere thought of the day when we will lose our beloved animals to physical death is so full of dread and fear that we avoid any discussion or delay any planning for the possibility of euthanasia. Our own fears of death and loss can impact our ability to make the best choices for the animals in our care. Fear of the unknown can be a tremendous source of grief and can lead us to make decisions surrounding our animals’ dying that we later regret. By facing our fears and questions before we are confronted with the trauma of an ailing loved one, we can better consider the choices and decisions we may need to make, including animal euthanasia. Taking the time to develop plans or make changes that can lessen the sense of chaos and confusion can make our parting a time of shared love and connection.
In the right time and circumstances, providing a peaceful release for an ailing companion through euthanasia can be a powerful demonstration of love and respect. Education about the process of animal euthanasia can help us prevent surprises and minimize discomfort, stress or shock that can be part of the experience for humans saying goodbye to their animal companions. Advanced planning and consideration of our own questions, concerns, fears and beliefs about animal euthanasia can help us to make more informed decisions and create the best death experience possible for our animals when a choice for euthanasia has been made. If we are able to move past our own fears, euthanasia can become a sacred act and a time of powerful connection.
It is very important to consider how our own needs and perceptions factor in to potential care decisions. It can be helpful to take some time to think about our relationship to death and dying, and to consider our underlying beliefs about animal euthanasia. When facing the death of our own cherished animal, this information can help us to shape an experience that will bring us closer to our companion and make their passing a time of deep honor and connection. When working with clients or others, a clear understanding of our own assumptions and beliefs can help us to remain clear and identify areas that may be triggers for judgment or misunderstanding.
While any discussion of death or dying will necessarily touch on our emotional and spiritual needs at this time, this course will focus primarily on the practical physical considerations regarding animal euthanasia with the goal of helping participants become more comfortable evaluating the options for their own animals, and, supporting clients or others in making end-of-life decisions for their companion animals.
You may also be interested in related classes on Animal Hospice and Using Flower Essences for Illness, End-of-Life and Caregiver Stress.
The literal definition of the word euthanasia is “good death.” Euthanasia should bring a death
that is free of pain, fear,
stress or apprehension.
~ Windi Wojdak, RVT
Session 1: Understanding Animal Euthanasia
- Defining Animal Euthanasia
- Euthanasia vs. Unassisted Death
- Clinical Definitions
- Anesthesia/Euthanasia and the Brain
- Common Protocols for Animal Euthanasia
- The Process of Physical Death in Animal Euthanasia
- What You May Witness
- Practical Decisions
- Perspectives of the Veterinary Professional
Session 2: Considering and Preparing for Animal Euthanasia
- The Good Death
- Facing Fears of Animal Euthanasia
- Perceptions and Beliefs about Euthanasia
- Is it Time? When to Consider Euthanasia
- Factors to Consider:
* Facts/clinical information
* Quality of life and pain assessment
- Reasons for Animal Euthanasia
- Advance Directives
- Allowing Flexibility
- Dealing with Guilt
This class has a lot of tools that can be used to help others
Just having a class on euthanasia has helped. It’s been a lonely experience in the past as I’ve had to go alone and didn’t have family or friends that were understanding or supportive. This class has a lot of tools that can be used to help others. The process, knowing that in the excitement stage the animal isn’t conscious or in pain, the use of pain shots or sedative shots to help. The ways to spend time with the pet and honor the relationship. Also knowing that it’s hard for the vet and staff. I’ve gained more compassion for the vet and how difficult it can be for them. Every question was well answered and explanations were easy to understand even though I’m not a vet tech.
~ Linda K, California
Windi is a knowledgeable and compassionate presence, thank you!
Very valuable class. The class was helpful in its scope of the subject of euthanasia, and, as a practicing animal communicator, I know the information given will be very useful in supporting animals and especially their people through what is often a difficult, stressful, and sad time. Most significant learning for me was what happens physically with euthanasia and the importance of good communication with the vet. Windi is a knowledgeable and compassionate presence, thank you!
~ Carla S, California
So many fine details in one class
This class was the first time I had heard the details of euthanasia. I appreciated Windi’s eloquence in describing the various aspects of the process, including one’s own belief system, physical capability of caregiver, and so many fine details in one class. As soon as I completed the mp3 recordings and study of the outline, a client called to ask me to communicate with her dog about euthanasia vs. continued “pawspice” [hospice care] that she has been providing. She had broken down, felt guilty, felt incapable of continuing, and all of those things that Windi covered. I was so prepared to answer questions and help her understand some options, as well as to address her ‘burnout’. Thank you, thank you.
~ Judy R, Michigan
Between the written information and all she talked about, I now have a totally different view of euthanasia
This is such a hard topic to think about and discuss. I admit that I almost didn’t sign up but then felt I owed it to myself, my own animals and my clients to learn everything I could. When my own animals have been euthanized, it’s always been so emotional that it was hard to take in the technical, medical information. So I signed up and am very grateful that I did. Windi is a powerhouse of information and experience. Between the written information and all she talked about, I now have a totally different view of euthanasia. Thank you!
~ Tracy C, Pennsylvania
I am so much more prepared
What was in the past something so hard for me that I don’t think I was there adequately for my animals, now seems more like a normal, if still heartbreaking, part of life with my animals. I am so much more prepared, both with knowledge and emotionally.
~ Ingrid C, Iowa
Feel so much more confident to be able to support my animals, myself and my clients
This class has not only helped me personally, but has prepared me with so much knowledge to help my clients during these times. I now feel so much more confident to be able to support my animals, myself and my clients with this greater understanding of the process. Very powerful class!
~ Sidni M, California
Mercy might mean administering euthanasia to ease pain and suffering. Or perhaps mercy means offering that extra measure of comfort, support, encouragement,
food or medicine.
To be merciful is to be soft
and gentle with myself
as well as with the one dying.
Mercy is taking the time,
making the effort to center myself
and find my inner peace.
Then I can be still, to listen and accept whatever the animal asks for. Then I can be at peace with a decision for euthanasia.
~ Rita Reynolds, Blessing the Bridge