Loving and caring for a pet is one of the most selfless things that we humans do in our lives. The companionship and unconditional love we give and receive from our furry friends almost cannot be described adequately in words.

Many have referred to it as the “Peter Pan Syndrome,” always seeing them as a puppy or a kitten, even when they have reached their senior years. Needless to say, when the time comes to say goodbye, the hurt, the pain and the sense of loss can be simply overwhelming.

This is where Dr. Julie Rabinowitz and her staff at Peaceful Passage step in to ease this tremendous burden. Dr. Rabinowitz moved to Baltimore in 2001 after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in veterinary medicine.

During her seven years of practice working at different veterinary offices, Dr. Rabinowitz says one request always came up — “Would you please consider doing a house call when it is time to say goodbye to my pet?” After seeing how much clients appreciated this service, Dr. Rabinowitz’s practice was born.

Peaceful Passage was started in 2008 by Dr. Rabinowitz as a full-service end-of-life practice. She now has a staff of two veterinarians and 10 specialists who assist in every aspect of end-of-life care.

“Many times, people call and are so distraught they can barely speak,” says Dr. Rabinowitz.

Her highly-trained support staff takes its time to discover each family’s individual needs and then guides them through the process. They will contact the primary veterinarian and obtain any information to help them better understand your pet’s individual personality and health issues.

Most of their requests are same-day or next-day service. Providing an at-home easy transition is what makes this practice so unique. Peaceful Passage will make all of the arrangements, with services including cremation, paw prints, nose prints, urns and even jewelry with your pet’s ashes.

The one question Dr. Rabinowitz is asked most frequently may surprise you — “Should my other pet be present in the room when we are saying goodbye?” The answer is yes. Over the years, sibling pets who are present during this process seem to grieve less and for shorter periods of time.

Most of Peaceful Passage’s clients come from veterinary referrals. Veterinarians realize that this practice can offer a warm, at-home passing, which can truly be a gift.

I couldn’t help but ask Dr. Rabinowitz, “What keeps you going? It must be so hard to do this every day?” Her answer was, “Ending a pet’s suffering, and being able to do it in their home, is a gift.  Connecting with our clients is what keeps us going.”

This unique practice is a gift to us all. For information, visit peacefulpassage.net or call 443-956-2113.

Joy Freedman is a dog behaviorist and obedience instructor. She can be reached at joyofdogs@aol.com.