THE pain of saying goodbye to a much-loved pet is being eased for Surrey animal lovers, thanks to a special space introduced at a new Farnham veterinary practice.
Farnham Veterinary Hospital in East Street has created a Rainbow Room where owners can have their pets put to sleep in a peaceful, private and homely environment.
This room is available to clients whose pets need to cross the rainbow bridge, either due to old age or illness.
Comfortably furnished with a sofa, cushions and rug, it has been designed to look like a home-from-home, and owners can choose to hold their pets in their arms, have them on their lap, or cuddle them on the floor.
Farnham Veterinary Hospital clinical director Kevin Clayton said: “Our team strives to offer the very best care to pets at every stage of their life, from puppies and kittens through to adulthood, and in their golden years, too.
“We understand how difficult it is to say goodbye to a pet, and felt that when the time comes, both pet and owner deserve a calm, caring and dignified experience. Our Rainbow Room is a space where a pet can make its final journey peacefully, and will help to preserve positive memories.”
Clients can take all the time they need to say their farewells and stay with their pet until they feel ready to leave.
Kevin said: “A pet is an important member of the family, and the last thing you want at such a difficult time is to be hurried out because the next client is waiting to see the vet.
“We have also given the room a separate entrance, so someone who is upset and grieving doesn’t have to enter or leave through a busy waiting room.
“Being able to use the Rainbow Room can also help ease the pain in the future, should a client have another pet. If they bring in a kitten or puppy for routine healthcare or treatment, for example, they won’t have to go into the same room where they said goodbye to their previous pet.”
Zoe Thornton, from Elstead, spent time in the Rainbow Room with her 16-year-old cat, Florry, and said her pet was relaxed and purring right up until the moment she passed away.
Zoe said: “Florry was a rescue cat who had been part of the family for 14 years and it was heartbreaking to lose her, but it really helps me to know that she was so calm at the end.
“The Rainbow Room was very peaceful and it doesn’t look or smell like you’re at the vets, which definitely helps you and your pet feel more relaxed.
“Florry was curled up in her basket, so I sat with her on the floor, and afterwards the vet left so I could have some alone time with her. There was no rush for me to leave.
“This really helped because I was able to have a little cry before going home and being brave in front of my daughter, Rose, who is eight.
“The hospital also gave me some information to help Rose understand what happens when pets go to heaven, and I thought that was very kind and helpful.”
Farnham Veterinary Hospital opened in April and is a state-of-the art, three-storey facility offering the highest levels of care to pets and their owners.
It is the largest first-opinion veterinary practice in Surrey and also treats patients that have been referred by other veterinary surgeries.
The 10,000sq ft hospital boasts the latest high-tech equipment, including a CT scanner, water treadmill, dental X-ray machine and ultrasound.
It is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and has its own dedicated out-of-hours emergency team called Farnham Night Vets.