Dr. Kristen Arp

Dr. Kristen Arp

I am a 2002 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. I have always loved taking care of pets.  As a child, I even learned to tend to wounds my big fluffy kitty use to come home with after a night on the town. That's when I knew I would become a veterinarian!

Every life stage our pets go through is unique, and requires different care. There are challenges with each one.  I enjoy working with them all, from the tiniest fuzz ball kitten, to the confident and strong adult dogs,  to the dignified elders. I approach each as the individuals they are, and love getting to know them, and adapting to their needs.

The special soft spot  I have for the grey- muzzled crowd, and my desire to help pets as they move through the last stage of life- and to help their families as they navigate this journey- has led me to further studies since finishing vet school. I hold a special certification in hospice and palliative care.

The end stages of life can a be difficult and sometimes scary journey, but with help, it can be peaceful, and maybe even beautiful.

I know I cannot make losing a loved companion easy. It just isn't. But I will do all that I can to make it easier

IT ALL STARTED WHEN...

I first considered offering in home services for dogs and cats while I was still in vet school.  For the first 10 years of my career, I put off this dream, while working in a more traditional office setting.  I saw families struggle to bring 4 dogs in at once.  I saw moms with preschoolers in tow.  I saw elderly dogs that struggled to get in and out of the car.  I dreaded the rushed pace, and the impersonal relationships.  I knew there was a better way, and when the opportunity to start my own house call practice came in 2012, I knew it was time.   I knew I could make things easier for families that want to provide the best care for the fur kids, and want to know that they have a vet that cares about their pets' individual needs, from babyhood through their golden years.

After working in a traditional practice for many years, I knew many of the limitations of typical end of life care and philosophies, as they are often approached in the office. When I first started my mobile practice, I found that I was often asked to help with end of life decisions and services. During these visits, I quickly learned just how much of a difference having these services at home made for the pets and the family. I was often thanked, as the experience was compared to previous ones families had gone through in an office setting. They were grateful that their pet did not have to travel, feel more pain and anxiety, or leave the comfort of their favorite spot. Families were also relieved that these services could be carried out in the privacy and security of their home.

As I learned more about hospice and palliative care for pets, I realized that this, too, was a great fit for in-home care. Whether a pet had received and an imminently terminal diagnosis like cancer, or was struggling with the slow decline of their body or their brain, I could provide them with better comfort during their last days, weeks or months. It was not all or nothing, aggressively treat or euthanize. Just as hospice and palliative care could ease suffering for patients and families in human medicine, it could also ease the transition for pet patients and their families. I could also help families in making decisions to achieve the goals they wanted for their pets at the end of their lives.

We can work together to honor what is best for their pet, and for them, as we travel a difficult journey together, whether that means hospice or palliative care, or it is time to let the pet earn her angel wings.

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