‘Goodbye Kisses’: Alabama Animal Hospital comforts pets and their humans with sweet treats

SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WRBL) – The love of a good dog, cat or other furry family member is one of life’s greatest blessings. This sentiment is a treasured fact at Smiths Station Animal Hospital in Alabama.

When the end of life approaches, veterinary clinic staff understand that the sudden loss of an animal’s unconditional love can be devastating and difficult to manage.

This week, the animal hospital released a photo of a jar of Hershey Kisses called “Goodbye Kisses.” One of the doctors at the veterinary hospital, Dr Nicole Namie, captioned the photo, saying: “This jar is reserved for our euthanasia appointments…because no dog should go to heaven without taste chocolate.”

The post and the clinic’s gentleness towards families and their pets is connected to animal lovers everywhere who know that if chocolate isn’t good for dogs, at the end of their lives, it’s one last bittersweet treat.

The post has been shared nearly 100,000 times and the love is growing.

Dr Namie spoke with our sister station WRBL News 3 about the overwhelming response, saying the practice of offering treats and snacks to their euthanized patients is a practice they have been doing forever.

“We are trying to provide as much comfort as possible during a terribly difficult and emotional time. My staff always kept small snacks and treats aside especially for these appointments. Typically, these are treats that I wouldn’t recommend giving to my patients, but in their final moments, I think it’s important to give them something special. It’s not a service customers expect or anticipate, but they seem to really appreciate. They seem to find comfort knowing that their pets are going to heaven with full bellies and love in their hearts,” she said.

If the weather is nice, Dr. Namie says the clinic will help families organize a picnic outside to spend their last moments with their furry member.

“Our customers and patients are like family. So when we lose a patient, we really take it to heart as if we were losing one of our own. We recognize that they are saying “goodbye” to a family member; in some cases, a family member who has existed for more than ten years. It’s a pet their children grew up with and created a decade of memories with. Choosing to euthanize a pet is an incredibly vulnerable time. In many cases, it’s the first time children have to say goodbye to someone they loved,” she said.

In the veterinary field, Dr. Namie believes that compassion fatigue has become an epidemic. Smiths Station Animal Hospital says making a family’s last moments with their pet memorable doesn’t take much and it goes a long way. The clinic hopes that more veterinary practices will begin to give ‘goodbye kisses’ and renew a sense of caring and community.

Benjamin M. Yerger