"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." - Anatole France
Every dog has a story…
I am often asked how I can do such a sad job every day with so very little happiness or sunshine. After more than three decades of helping families say goodbye to their beloved pets in the comfort and privacy of their home, the answer is becoming a little clearer in my own mind. There are several reasons; many are quite obvious. Giving grieving families a chance to privately let their pets go without the stress and anxiety of a visit to the veterinarian or emergency clinic is a relief and truly appreciated by all who choose home euthanasia. The families that I help are unquestionably the nicest, most appreciative people I have ever had the honor to help. After 30 years of private practice where a veterinarian is directed by time constraints, scheduling issues, and emergencies that interrupt the flow of a workday, the joy of spending as much time with a family as needed to help them through the final chapter of their loved one’s life is a blessing.
The incredible impact our team makes when assisting loving families say goodbye is immeasurable. Every pet, dog or cat, has a story. More often than not a grieving family shares a small part of their beloved pet’s special story with us. It is a life story that makes each house call special and unique. Letting families share their pet’s treasured memories is therapeutic to all of us. The special tribute below that was shared with me after a peaceful goodbye is the biggest reason we devote our time and emotions with the saddest part of the human-animal bond. We all have a “Scooby” that impacts our lives, changes our perspective on life, and is a part of our own journey in life.
If you looked up the word ~compassion~ in the dictionary, a picture of Dr. Mark Ferris would be there. He helped us so much with our Rudy. His kindness will never be forgotten.
It was a huge comfort for Dr. Ferris to come to my home and relieve my 13 year old boxer, Daisy, of her suffering. To know that she was crossing the rainbow bridge surrounded by her loving family, her favorite blanket and familiar smells, made her passing all the more peaceful. Thank you, Dr. Ferris, for your tenderness and caring ways.
New Cumberland, WV
Fox lived a magnificent and fulfilling 20 years and it wasn’t until the last few months that this cat who relished nearly everything about his life became too worn and sore to interact, even with those to whom he’d given decades of enjoyment.
Fox was telling us it was time, and it was to our immense relief that Dr. Ferris agreed to visit our home to gently and mercifully ease this cherished family member into his last moments. No jostling Fox’s aching body into a carrier for a last, bumpy ride to an unfamiliar and sterile clinic; instead, Fox peacefully—and gratefully, we’re convinced—spent the final hours of his life at home, unstressed and surrounded by all that was familiar.
Fox’s entire life was a gift to us. We were grateful that Dr. Ferris’ home euthanasia allowed us to pay back Fox with the dignified and serene passing he deserved.
Stephanie and Bill
Throughout the years, Mark has shown genuine compassion while taking care of all three of my Great Danes. He always had my best interest at heart.
When my Great Dane, Sabrina, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, Mark said she would probably live around 3 months. I was devastated; however, Mark was very comforting and told me immediately to go for a second opinion.
Upon taking Sabrina for a second opinion, I was given the same diagnosis. Their recommendations were to amputate her leg, administer chemotherapy and then radiation. In following this plan of action, Sabrina’s life might be extended by a few months. But I wondered, what would be her quality of life?
When I returned to Mark’s office, he had asked me what I had decided. I told him that Sabrina was a happy dog and I just couldn’t visualize her running on three legs or putting her through chemotherapy and radiation. Mark respected my decision. To him, the most important thing was Sabrina and her quality of life. That is when I realized how much compassion and dedication Mark had for animals in his care and their owners.
Mark had taken care of Sabrina since she was 9 weeks old. She was 5 years old when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, so he knew her history. After I took Sabrina home, Mark asked me if I would give him a call periodically or bring Sabrina in for an update. Once or twice a month I would take her in to the animal hospital for a visit with Mark. He always made time for Sabrina and me. I was so grateful for those times, so Mark could calm my fears and answer any questions that I had.
Sabrina lived for 18 happy months, during which time we made many visits to Mark. When her life seemed to be nearing the end, Mark gave me his personal cell phone number and told me to call him at any time. So when I made that call Mark came to my house and gently put my Sabrina to sleep in one of her favorite spots.
Mark will always be a special friend to me and he will always have a dear place in my heart.
Linda and Heather
Sixteen years ago, you called me and said, “I’ve found the kind of dog you’re looking for.” That’s where Abby’s story began, so it is only fitting you could be there as her story ended.
To some people, animals are just pets. But to me, they are family and Abby was a huge part of ours. And so, with heavy hearts we are mourning her loss, but know we will see her again one day.
My family and I cannot begin to thank you enough for your kindness, patience and comforting presence during such a difficult time. It was very important for Mike and Alivia to be home during Abby’s passing and I am grateful that you patiently waited for them to arrive. We are so tremendously thankful that she got to pass peacefully in her own home surrounded by those who loved her most.
Our hearts are broken, and we are missing Abby terribly, but one day soon we will open our hearts for another friend like her. And just like I believe all dogs go to Heaven, I believe there are angels walking among us, and you’re most certainly one of them.
In memory of Abby and in honor of you and Hilltop Animal Hospital, we have made a $100 donation to the Hancock County Animal Shelter.
Mike, Alicia, Alivia, Evan, and Gracie
It was devastating when we realized we had to say goodbyes to our sweet boy Sammy (aka “Fat Boy”). Your compassion and empathy really helped both my daughter and I through this very difficult time, and for that, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We will forever be grateful for your support during his end of life care.
Becky and Taylor
I just wanted to again express my gratitude and appreciation for the TLC and compassion you and Missy showed to Jesse and myself. As you know, it was extremely difficult for me but your calm nature made it a little less difficult. You are doing a service beyond words and I’m so thankful I found you. Jesse was my “baby” and it helps when others recognize it too and treat her as such.
Donna and Jesse
Thank you so much for your kindness. I really appreciate the very gentle way you treated Sadie. I will never forget it.
Mary Beth and Brent
In a world full of sadness and stressors, our pets tend to bring us the most joy. It is critically important to give them the best life possible and it is equally as important to give them a peaceful goodbye. Our experience with Dr. Ferris was one of the only things that made my 14 year old Gracie’s passing bearable. We did not want to make the choice, as most pet lovers do not. However, when a friend recommended Dr. Ferris to us, due to his compassion and empathy, I knew I had to make the phone call. From the minute I made the call, to the quick response, to the compassionate voice, to the arrival at our house, to the ease of our pain, to the peace he brought our dog, to the gift of not having to take her to a veterinary office, to carrying her body out, to doing cremation, to the delivery of her ashes in a beautiful urn and a beautiful paw print and the kindness he showed – simply could not be compared to anything. Taking all of that into consideration, I will never choose another way to say goodbye to my pets. Everything added together, the price was beyond reasonable. We recommend Dr. Ferris to every pet lover we know. You will never regret this choice. I will never forget his compassion and honesty. Dr. Ferris is a great man, helping to ease all our pain.
Mike and Carla
On a Sunday in August I was faced with a heartbreaking decision regarding my 21 year old cat, Barry. He had become extremely disoriented and was vocalizing as if in pain. I had seen his health decline over the previous weeks but had never experienced his cries for help like this Sunday. Having known Dr. Ferris for many years both at the Chester Veterinary Clinic and then at Hilltop Animal Hospital in Paris, I called him at home seeking some advice. I knew that he has dedicated the last 2 years to helping owners with the end of life decisions at home and he agreed to offer his medical opinion. I knew in my heart it was the right time and place to say goodbye to my loving friend Barry. Dr. Ferris came right away with a veterinary technician and when I was ready, let Barry pass away peacefully in the privacy and comfort of his home. I am so thankful Dr. Ferris was able to help me in our time of need. Having had many pets in our house over the years and having to sometimes make the difficult drive to the animal hospital for end-of-life services, I was so glad that on a weekend I had the good fortune of using his services. I hope pet owners are aware that in-home services like Peaceful Goodbyes exist and that they make the sad and difficult process of saying goodbye to their pet a little easier.
We just want to say thank you so much for caring for Shadow from the time he came to live with us, until the time he was laid to rest. We will forever remember your compassion for him and us, especially in his final hours. Please accept this meal card as Shadow loved to eat and we’re sure he would want you to have it.
Thanks again Dr. Ferris!!
Mark and Cindy Y.
I can not express how much easier this process was with Dr. Ferris. I am absolutely devastated about our beautiful dog Leia’s passing, and I don’t think I could have done it all without Dr. Ferris being there every step of the way. He was so gentle and loving while helping our baby over the rainbow bridge. He explained everything in detail and I could just tell that he’s in this business because of his passion for animals. He came back today with her ashes and a framed paw print, it was so personal and SO appreciated. When he stepped in he checked on our other dog to see how she was coping with the loss! He truly cares.
I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am for Dr. Ferris and his services. He is meant for this line of work, and I’m honestly so thankful we found him.