Panhandle gets Lap of Love, providing palliative care services for pets

This is a situation rarely mentioned, but inevitable for all pet owners.

There will come a time when your furry furry friend cross the rainbow bridge.

Losing a pet can be painful, but Lap of Love, an organization made up of hundreds of veterinarians across the United States, helps provide a sense of comfort through its end-of-life and palliative care services.

“Your vet is the only person who is going to understand that your pet is part of your family,” Dr. Jessie Gamauf said. “Some of the families that I help are their children. They have never had children. So today is the most difficult day they will face. I have always been very convinced that both The most important appointments you were going to have with your pet are the first and the last. The last will be the hardest, and it will be the one they will remember.”

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tower of love, based in Tampa, was established in 2009 to make those difficult goodbyes easier – uninterrupted and in a familiar setting.

“You should make it as peaceful and comfortable as possible, for the owner and for the animal,” Gamauf said. “When you have to take them to the clinic, even in a general setting, we try to make it quiet, but there are still people talking in the hall. We try to make the room pleasant, but there It’s still cold, and it smells funny. The owners are trying to hold themselves back, because they’re in a public place, and they wouldn’t openly cry like they would at home.

From West Pensacola to Milton and surrounding areas, Gamauf travels to you. In addition to making appointments throughout the week, she answers questions from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

Gamauf added that there are situations where the owner has a pet that has received a terminal diagnosis, but wants a second opinion.

“The purpose of hospice for us is to come into the house, to see the environment that they live in,” Gamauf said. “Maybe it’s mobility issues, and we need to find ways to accommodate the house. Or find ways to manage the pain. Making sure we’re managing our hydration. We’re trying to work in conjunction with their primary physician, so once our visit is done, we send a report to the primary physician with recommendations.”

If pets aren’t ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge, Gamauf can look for ways to make owner and pet as comfortable as possible.

“We’re in the backyard in the sun,” Gamauf said. “We are in their favorite spot on the bed. We go where the pet, owner and family feel comfortable, and they can grieve as they wish.”

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Since she can remember, Gamauf has always wanted to be a veterinarian. She cleaned kennels when she was in high school. She was a technician when she was in college. She graduated from the University of Illinois and spent 18 years as a veterinarian in Fort Walton and Mary Esther. But it was only a chance encounter with Lap of Love founder Dr. Dani McVety that changed his course.

“It wasn’t on my radar,” Gamauf said. “I had never even thought of it. But not only do you have to serve the animal, you also have to take care of people, and in general practice, I missed that. You have to respect the human and animal bond. This last moment is the purest of this bond.”

For more information, visit or call 850-343-4777.

Kalyn Wolfe is a freelance columnist for the News Journal. Send new business tips to [email protected]

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