Lap of Love is a network of veterinarians around the country (locations) whose goal is to empower every owner to care for their geriatric pets. Our philosophy centers around the human-animal bond and the need for that bond to be as undisturbed as possible during this most difficult time. The desire to bring this important service to families across the United States is slowly being realized as additional veterinarians begin working under the same philosophy. Lap of Love is honored to have some of the most compassionate and empathetic vets working with us.
Suzanne Cosentino is a veterinarian who represents Lap of Love in Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area. I reached out to Cosentino in 2018 to find out more about Lap of Love, and how she and the organization she works for help serve pets and pet parents.
Question: How did you find out about Lap of Love, and what inspired you to go into this line of work (end-of-life care for pets)?
Cosentino: I initially heard about Lap of Love from a colleague who worked for the company in Houston. Then, two years ago, I met the co-founders, Dr. Dani McVety and Dr. Mary Gardner at the Central Veterinary Conference in Kansas City. They were speaking on several end-of-life subjects, and they were so knowledgeable and passionate about giving animals the best life and death that we can, and their passion was infectious. I was in a mixed practice at the time, and really enjoyed my job, but knew that this was an opportunity to help animals and their families in a special way.
Both of my grandmothers spent their last weeks to months in hospice care, and I was truly awed by the kindness and compassion shown to them and the rest of our family by everyone involved in the hospice. I feel that, if I can bring even a fraction of that to the families I help, I hopefully will be leaving this world better than I found it.
Question: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Cosentino: The most rewarding part of my job is when I help a family, and they tell me that it was a better experience than they could have hoped for. I think sometimes people think that I am only there for the pet, but caring for the family is so important, too.
Question: What information would you like to pass on to pet parents who are in the middle of caring for a sick or dying pet?
Cosentino: You are not alone. I know it can feel overwhelming and lonely and sad, but there are people who do care and will do what they can to help. Even if Lap of Love doesn't have a veterinarian in a particular area, we still have a team of amazing people who can help you find resources, or just lend a sympathetic ear. The toll-free number is 855-933-5683. Hop on the Lap of Love website, and there are lots of tools for determining a pet's quality of life, education on a number of health conditions, and more.
If your pet is ill, your quality of life suffers, too. We have four budgets: financial, time, physical, and emotional. If anyone of those budgets is tapped out, our relationship with our pet is becoming damaged, and we need to do something. Many times, that something is humane euthanasia, and that is okay. Euthanasia is not "giving up," it is acknowledging that we love our pet enough to make tough decisions. I feel that it is better to make that decision a week early than a day late.
Question: Do you think services like Lap of Love are becoming more popular amongst pet parents.
Cosentino: Absolutely. I meet so many people who say, "I wish I had known about this before!" Pet parents and veterinarians alike recognize how a peaceful passing at home is less stressful for the pet, the family, and frequently the clinic staff, as well.