THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- The 1921 Noble Prize in Literature winner, Anatole France, once said “until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” These words are well-understood by anyone who has ever owned and loved a family pet. It is often very difficult to fathom the idea of letting go when a pet becomes ill, especially since many consider their pets members of the family. Luckily, there is a new local business to help soothe the pain for both pets and their owners. “The purpose of Lap of Love is to provide end of life care to pets with compassion, dignity and love,” said Cheryl Maguire, DVM, the owner of Lap of Love’s North Houston. “This includes hospice services and euthanasia, all performed exclusively in the pet's home.” Each Lap of Love doctor specializes in which pets it will assist. Dr. Maguire, who mostly services the Houston area North of I-10, including The Woodlands, helps dogs, cats and rabbits, in addition to other small mammals such as ferrets. In-home euthanasia allows for pets to spend their last moments surrounded by those who love them in the comfort of their own homes. “The in-home euthanasia process is tailored to meet the individual needs of the pet and their family,” Dr. Maguire said. “The family chooses where they and the pet would be most comfortable including outside if this is desired. The pet is sedated with a cocktail of medications that includes pain and anxiety relief. The pet is then humanely euthanized with another injection that is pain-free.” Lap of Love’s in-home euthanasia provides the option of taking care of transportation and assistance with cremation, allowing the pet owner to focus on the grieving process. A memorial keepsake is created, and a personalized pet loss booklet with information about grieving, is provided. Lap of Love also offers veterinary hospice for those pets dying of a terminal illness, as well as pets with a life-limiting disease such as arthritis, hyperthyroidism and diabetes. In veterinary hospice the pet owner is the main person providing the in-home hospice care. “Veterinary Hospice is a growing field that is modeled after the human hospice concept in that the goals are to maintain comfort, dignity and quality of life for the terminally ill pet,” Dr. Maguire said. “…As a hospice veterinarian, I go into the home and evaluate the pet in its own environment then create a treatment plan specific for that pet and the disease process that is afflicting it. This may include making husbandry changes, providing pain relief, administering fluids, wound care, supplementing the diet and helping to manage incontinence.” Dr. Maguire, who just started her division of Lap of Love in September, was inspired to get involved with the company after her experience with in-clinic euthanasia for some of her pets. “I believe in-home euthanasia and veterinary hospice are services that have been needed for a long time and I am honored to be a part of this growing movement,” Dr. Maguire said. “As a practicing veterinarian for over 14 years I knew that there was a better way to provide end of life care to our patients and Lap of Love is making that a reality every day.” In addition to Lap of Love providing a more peaceful way for pets to live their final moments, it also provides a great amount of comfort to the owners. “I hope that owners get some peace and comfort during a time that can be so difficult for them,” Dr. Maguire said. “For many years owners have desired a more personal, peaceful, end of life experience for their pets, but until recently have had very few options to provide their pets with such. By providing these options to owners, I hope that Lap of Love can help empower them to extend their love and devotion for their pet while feeling educated and prepared. I also would like to give them the freedom to grieve and honor their pet in a private and personal way that only an in-home experience can provide.” For more information visit the Lap of Love website link below.