INDIANAPOLIS -- Pets are like family members. We feel their pain when they are sick or aging.
Making a decision about how best to care for them can be very difficult.
Lap of Love is a network of veterinarians across the country who want to empower every pet owner to care for aging or ill pets.
They help maintain the comfort and quality of life for terminally ill pets or elderly pets until the pet passes away naturally or the owner elects for peaceful euthanasia.
According to the group, you should take the time you need to make a decision about your pet, but they also caution about waiting until the last minute when it could be an emergency and cause a great deal of stress.
It's an important consideration if you're someone like Shannon Willey, who has a 12-year-old Chihuahua with kidney failure. Marshall, the dog, has an uncertain future, and Willey knows she'll need help to keep him comfortable. That's why she called mobile veterinarian Dr. Dan Genatiempo.
"For Marshall, he's on canned food right now just to make sure he can get more water into him," Genatiempo said. "But as time progresses, a lot of dogs need fluids actually under the skin."
Willey said Marshall's condition has no cure.
"We can't get rid of it," she said. "So, my goal is to keep Marshall around as long as possible."
Watch the video below for advice from Lap of Love about how to know when it's the right time to say goodbye to your pet.