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New Home Pet Euthanasia Service

MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES–Owning a pet comes with benefits and challenges. An animal provides comfort and companionship to those who live alone; they are workers for those who have livestock. They offer support to those with medical conditions and are all-around fun to have in a household.

Saying Goodbye

The hardest part of being a companion to an animal is the goodbye. Unfortunately that time comes eventually to nearly all pet owners.

Until now, unless you had a special relationship with a veterinarian, you had to transport your animal to a veterinary office or hospital to say your final goodbyes. No matter how kind and caring the personnel are, it’s a cold, lonely feeling to walk  a medical office with your best friend and leave alone.

Dr. Heather Aubrey, veterinarian at Animal Hospital of the Sierra, and Tom Atkeson, veterinary assistant at the same facility, saw a need and determined to meet it.

Communities Served

On January 14, 2024, they established Mountain Shepherd Veterinary Services (MSVS), a home euthanasia service. They cover the greater Oakhurst and Coarsegold area as well as Mariposa, Fish Camp, Yosemite and North Fork. If someone outside those communities requires their services, they consider the request on a case-by-case basis. MSVS also provides aftercare through West Coast Pet Memorial Services.

When asked why they opted to start this business, Tom said, “Over the last five years we frequently had clients tell us they wished there was an option to have home euthanasia because their pets were afraid at the veterinary office. We also saw people in the community ask if any services were available on social media in the mountains as services out of Fresno were often out of their price range. After providing services for some clients on a case-by-case basis, Dr. Heather and I decided to start our own business to meet the demand for mobile home euthanasia services to the community in a price range we hope better serves our community.”

As the owners and only employees of MSVS, their availability depends upon their caseload. However, they endeavor to make themselves available on an emergency basis whenever possible.

Dr. Heather and Noodle

Dr. Heather graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2007 as a DVM. She has worked in emergency, exotics and general practice since then. For the past five years she has been an associate doctor at Animal Hospital of The Sierra in Oakhurst. A native of the Bay Area, she grew up in Marin, CA.

Dr. Heather & Tom

Tom Atkeson has worked at Animal Hospital of the Sierra for the past five years also. He started as a kennel tech and worked his way up to Veterinary Assistant. He often functions as a surgery assistant, monitoring anesthesia and assisting during surgical procedures. Tom grew up in Oakhurst and is a veteran of the US Coast Guard.

Mountain Shepherd Veterinary Services doesn’t offer specific office hours, but their phone line— (559) 580-6217—is always open.

Pet Services Offered

They provide services for pocket pets, exotics, domestic animals (dogs and cats) and small livestock up to 200lbs, such as goats and sheep. That way the animals can be laid to rest in a setting that is familiar to owner and pet, providing the comfort both require at a difficult time.

As to future goals for MSVS, Dr. Heather and Tom have many ideas on how to expand their business, but want to establish themselves as a home euthanasia service first and foremost.

As residents and veterinarians in the mountain area, they fully understand and empathize with their clients’ needs and strive to meet them in the most compassionate manner possible.

Photos Courtesy of Mountain Shepherd Veterinary Services


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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online