South Central WI Archive
  • South Central Wisconsin
  • August 2015
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Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia

When we think about pets, what usually comes to mind is a cute furry little kitten, or a happy, playful puppy. What happens as these pets we come to love inevitably age and come to the end of their life’s journey? How will we make decisions for them that puts their welfare first over our emotional needs? Who can we talk to about our concerns?

Dr. Katie Hilst, founder of Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia LLC, has been providing pet owners with peaceful in-home euthanasia for over 13 years. Her journey into this business began when she worked in busy veterinary clinics where other veterinarians would shy away from difficult conversations, finding them emotional and tiring. “I found that having honest, thoughtful discussion with clients about what was best for their pet, and helping them to assess their pet’s quality of life was very fulfilling to me.” Through listening and helping people work through their concerns, Dr. Katie could help their pets. She has authored a pet quality of life scale called JOURNEYS, after which her business is named. Dr. Catie Hawkins and Dr. Laura Purdy have joined Dr. Katie in providing in-home euthanasia. Dr. Catie’s background as a middle and high school science teacher has given her the ability to help families work through difficult situations. Dr. Laura brings with her years of experience working at UW Madison in the canine oncology lab with pets and families, and working as an elite dog trainer helping furry friends be the best they can be.

Journeys Home offers in-home euthanasia 7 days a week within an hour radius of Madison. Families can say goodbye to their pet in the peaceful privacy of their own home, where their pet is most comfortable. Pets are given a sedative/pain reliever/anesthetic combination first, so they are comfortably asleep before the euthanasia. Journey’s Home offers cremation services through Memorial Pet Services, transports pets to the crematory, and returns the cremains back to the home. The doctors also make a clay paw print impressions for families to treasure.

In addition to home euthanasia, Journeys Home offers free phone consultations for owners about end-of-life pet concerns. Anyone wishing to discuss their concerns may call 608-347-1897, or visit to email the doctors questions. After families have lost their furry loved one, Journeys Home sponsors a memorial service called “Remembering Our Pets” annually on National Pet Memorial Day (the second Sunday in September). Invitations are sent out to all families who have lost a pet in the previous year. The event is a way to offer community and support to all who are grieving the loss of a pet.

Journeys Home offers help with the decision-making process, a peaceful end to the journey and support for families afterward. Dr. Katie is certified in Pet Loss & Grief Companioning, a certification through the Pet Loss Professionals Association, of which she is a member. Focusing on end-of-life concerns and euthanasia has helped Drs. Katie, Catie, and Laura see the value in laying pets to rest in a familiar setting surrounded by the family that loves them. They all feel it is very important to honor our pets because they provide love without judgement. Their advice to pet families is to celebrate your pet’s life, treasure every moment and live for today. Celebrate the bonds you have with your loved ones (including those with fur and those without)! 

Drs. Katie, Catie, and Laura can be reached via the website, or by calling 608-347-1897. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Friday,and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

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