Poll: Is this memento from a vet a caring gesture or a 'WTF?!' action

I’ll start by saying I don’t think and my friend doesn’t think it was meant to be cruel in any way, but it made her burst into tears and I can imagine it would many others in her position.

A friend/coworker of mine recently had to have her dog put to sleep. She hated to do it, but he was old (about 14) and in sharp decline with no real chance of getting better, so she took him to the vet she has used for years. It was a major boo-hoo moment for her as it would be for me or most other pet owners.

A few days ago, roughly a month after she had her dog put to sleep, she received a package in the mail from her vet’s office. Inside was a framed certificate that looked something like a diploma that contained the dog’s dates of birth and death (birth date is an estimate), his name, a poem about how wonderful dogs are, and… this is the really ‘eww’ part… his footprint.

I don’t know and she doesn’t know if the footprint was made post mortem or if it was made on one of his many previous visits, but it was clearly his- at least judging by the size and shape and all- leastwise it was some dog’s actual footprint.

I can see somebody thinking this is a thoughtful thing to do for longtime vet clients. I can also see- and lean on the side of- those who think “Fuck me with an ice cold spork, what were you thinking?” misfire, something like getting an ornament with a picture of your grandma in her coffin as a Christmas card from the undertaker. But I don’t want to flavor the opinions of others-

What do you think?

Probably done post-mortem. My vet gives you the option to have such a plaque made (among other things), but mentions it among the various options on the list of what can happen after death/euthanasia, and charges for it. We’ve just had our ferrets communally cremated at the pet cemetery that the vet uses, no ashes or mementos kept.

I think it was supposed to be a thoughtful gesture that obviously backfired tremendously in this case.

I remember an earlier thread on this where a vet gave someone a piece of clay with their dead pet’s paw print on it. I think it’s a nice idea, as long as the animal was alive when print was made. I wouldn’t want one though, since I wouldn’t want to display something like that.

I think it’s a nice gesture because I’d truly love something like this to also remember my pet by.

I think it’s a nice gesture and there’s nothing creepy or WTF about it at all.

I would have appreciated something like that after losing my cat years ago. Can see where maybe some, like the OP’s friend, might feel differently. Still, I think it was offered sincerely, in good faith.

We used to do those for the sympathy cards from the emergency clinic. I got more than one note from clients I’d worked with, thanking us for both the card and the print.

I accidentally ran over a neighbors do a few years ago, and the vet was not optimistic the dog would survive a very expensive operation. The dog was almost 15, (and had been briefly seen in a clip on AFHV) so the family decided to have him put to sleep. They buried him on a little hillock overlooking their house. They have a similar plaque, and they (and I) are comforted by it.

I guess I am a little depressed such a nice gesture could misfire like it apparently did . . .

I lost my cat over a month ago, and the vet offered to do that. I said yes right away. I didn’t see anything creepy about it. I loved getting the pawprint in the mail. I also had my cat cremated and have her ashes on my bookshelf.

I get why some people might find it weird, though.

My vet sent a postcard about a month after. It was a thoughtful gesture, that, although brought tears to our eyes, was appreciated.

It’s not like he stuffed the dog and posed it for photographs wearing a deerstalker hat.

I think more people would appreciate it than wouldn’t, so it’s a nice and usually successful gesture.

When we had to put our 13-year-old dog to sleep last year our vet sent us a sympathy card with a little poem in it. We all thought it was a very nice gesture. A paw print… would probably have freaked me out, I have to say, but that’s just me. It is a caring gesture, just one that I wouldn’t personally want. A card and a poem is nice though.

Looks like I’m in the WTF minority here. I don’t think this should have been done without asking the owner first.

Frankly, my first thought would be how much of my final vet fee went into this ‘certificate’ which would be going straight into my bin.

My vet did exactly this when we had my little guy put to sleep. I didn’t know they would, and yes, I’m sure they did it post-mortem, and that did make me feel a little weird for like, half a second. But I was really glad they did, and grateful to have a little memento of him. I don’t display it, exactly; I keep it in a little decorative box, along with a few other tokens to remember him and another cat.

And of course, it made me cry like a baby, and I’m getting a little teary remembering it now.

I would so love that.

I voted “nice but didn’t think it through”. I think there probably are some people who would treasure such a thing.

I had a similar thread a couple years ago and personally I was really weirded out. The guinea pig would NOT have cooperated while alive, and messing with a dead animal’s paws is just mean. If we have another one put to sleep, I’ll tell them "thanks but no thanks"in advance.

We still have the damn thing somewhere. Have NOT shown it to the kids.

Fortunately (?) the most recently-departed piggy was found dead in her cage. I had to hastily wrap her in a bag and put her in the freezer… ground was too frozen to bury her, and I didn’t want to just toss the corpse in case the kids wanted to have a funeral at some point.

I am going to go home and make footprints of my dogs tonight.

I think the certificate is kind of schlocky, but the footprint is something I wish I had of my previous dogs. My dog-before-last I was in too much shock to think about it and probably couldn’t afford to have cremated, but I wish I had his ashes now like I have his successor. I have their collars hanging up on hooks in my bedroom closet.

Yeah, I don’t find the paw print weird in and of itself. I can see it as something someone could want/be comforted by (although I personally prefer to have his photos and favorite toys around as mementos). I find it weird that the vet didn’t ask first, though.

Missed the edit:

My vets’ office sent me a sympathy card in the mail (I didn’t even know they made sympathy cards for cats), and yes, I cried, but I really, really appreciated it. It was nice to know that we weren’t just an invoice to them. (And I don’t know if it was a coincidence or if they did it on purpose, but the drawing of a cat on the front of the card looks a lot like my cat who passed away, which I also appreciated.)

Should that ever happen, you can rest assured it was certainly less than $5 if it even factored in at all. None of the vets I’ve ever worked for have ever factored in the cost of sympathy cards, cutting locks of fur, or paw prints into the billing, other than it being a tiny, tiny part of the general overhead. And I mean a tiny part–over the course of your pet’s life, you pay more for thermometer covers, q-tips, and disinfectant to clean the exam table after you leave than you do for these certificates. I mean, it’s a single sheet of printer paper, a Dollar Store frame, and 1/500 of an ink pad, plus five minutes of someone’s time.