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End-of-Life Care and Grief Counseling

Compassionate support at a difficult time

end of life careThe end of life is just as important as the beginning or the middle. The way we handle a death is a direct reflection of the way we have loved.

At Rockledge Veterinary Clinic, we do all we can to keep you and your beloved pet together for as long as possible. At the same time, we understand that an end will come. Whether your pet passes away from old age or from illness or accident, we will do all we can to ease the process. Anything we can do to make your grief a little less painful is worth our tears.

We understand how you feel.

All of us at Rockledge Veterinary Clinic have experienced the death of our own beloved companion animals. Those deaths have ranged from newborn pups and kittens; to young animals stilled by disease, accident or even aggression; to geriatric pets who have lived a full life and needed help making the final transition.

We will cry with you and share our stories. If you don’t mind, we will laugh and remember the happy times when you came to our office with your beloved companion, because we care for them, too. Many of us here have been with you from the first office visit—full of promise and wonder and questions. When you are here for your pet’s last visit, we can assure you that those final moments will be as peaceful and full of love as we can humanly make them.

What to expect

When there is no longer a medical cure for your pet, hospice care can help keep you pet comfortable. Depending on your pet’s condition, we may teach you to do several things that can keep your pet comfortable and pain free at home as long as possible

When the time comes, we perform most euthanasia in our office, unless you have made prior arrangements for a home visit. We understand that this can be a difficult decision to make. You may have a lot of questions, and we will take the time to answer them. We will also give you time to say good-bye to your companion. We will ask you to sign a consent form indicating that this is your choice. When you are ready, we will administer a sedative to make your pet sleepy. We then administer the euthanasia solution, a concentrated dose of sodium pentobarbital, sometimes via an intravenous catheter to make your pet’s passing quick and painless. If you wish, you may remain with your pet throughout the procedure. We will also give you private time with your pet afterwards.

If you cannot stay for this final procedure, know that your pet will not be alone. One of us will stay with your pet until he or she has passed.

Options for final arrangements

People often ask us, “What do we do once our pet has died?” You have several options. Whenever possible, we encourage you to discuss final arrangements for your pet in advance. This will enable you to make the best decision for your situation without pressure. No matter what you decide for your pet’s final resting place, we can assist you with the arrangements.

Burial:  You may choose to bury your pet at home. We suggest that you check with your local municipality for details and restrictions. You can also have your pet buried at a pet cemetery.

Private cremation: With this service, your pet will be cremated individually, and you will receive the cremains. We use and recommend crematories that have been in business for a number of years and have always treated our clients and their deceased pets with respect.

Group cremation: With this service, your pet will be cremated, and his/her cremains will be buried with those of other pets at the crematory facility. Most crematories also offer burial options. Your pet will not be put out with the trash.

If your pet passes at home and you are not able to bring him/her into the office for cremation, some crematories offer a pick-up service.

Processing your grief

We encourage you to talk to family and friends and remember all the happy times with your companion animal. If you feel you have no one to discuss your feelings with, call us. We can recommend a certified grief counselor or one of the grief support groups or hotlines in the area. Below, we have listed some grief support websites we have found helpful. These sites offer chat rooms, memorial pages, suggestions for at-home memorials and recommended reading materials. We also have a section on our website devoted to remembering.

Read more:

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
Rainbows Bridge


map 401 Huntingdon Pike,
Rockledge, PA 19046
215-379-1675 (fax)
care credit
We accept Care Credit Patient Payment Plans.


Monday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Sunday Closed

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