My name is Marie McInerney, or “Dr. Mac” to most of my clients. I am a native of Northern California and was fortunate enough to grow up with a backyard full of different animals – cows, sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, fish, rodents, rabbits, and, of course, many dogs and cats. I loved caring for all of our animals and saw that each one was special and had its own personality.
I first became interested in veterinary medicine when I had an English Mastiff that was constantly in and out of the vet’s office with different ailments. I became excited about the possibility of being able to diagnose and treat these beautiful creatures myself. I went on to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. Afterward, I attended the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in College Station, TX to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
When I moved to south Florida in 2001, I worked at a small animal practice in Plantation and it was there that I developed a special interest in the particular needs of geriatric pets. I saw that the older dogs and cats required a gentler, more specialized type of medicine and making these animals comfortable and happy became my focus.
During this time, clients would occasionally ask me to come to their homes to help their terminally ill pets when it was “their time”. Clients not only wanted their pets to be free from the pain of transportation and fear of the vet’s office, but they also wanted to allow their beloved animal companion to pass in its own home, feeling safe and surrounded by the people and things it loved.
This inspired me to begin a service attending exclusively to pets in their home environment. To learn more about the specific needs of the homebound patient, I traveled to Colorado and studied with Kathleen Cooney, former vice president of the IAAHPC (International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care). I also completed a certification offered by Compassion Understood – a program devoted exclusively to the end-of-life process. The content of the course involved the three important components involved in this process including the period up to the final decision to euthanize, the period around the final farewells and the journey that pet owners must travel after the loss of a pet. In addition to this, I continually attend educational seminars on the topic of end-of-life-care to ensure the best treatment of our animal companions.
There is no doubt pets are happier and so much more at peace in this setting than when they are brought to the clinic. Being at home evokes a tranquility and safety in our pets which makes the euthanasia transition peaceful and easy. For owners, there are no time constraints that are associated with a vet visit and they can grieve, or celebrate a life well-lived, in privacy of their homes.