- This story originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of COMO Magazine.
At-home, end-of-life service for our beloved furry friends.
While making end-of-life care decisions for a beloved pet is not something most want to think about, it is a reality that many will deal with. Paws in Heaven provides in-home pet euthanasia services, lending compassion and comfort — to both pet and human — during an immensely emotional experience.
In 2011, Angie Randazzo and her family were living in St Louis, when her father became terminally ill. Her family made the tough decision to keep him home – where he loved to be — and to begin hospice care. While it was a hard time, Angie says it was also a blessing to have him there at home, and the hospice team was kind and caring in the family’s time of need.
Her own heart wrenching experience gave Angie — then a practicing veterinarian for about 17 years — the idea of offering end-of-life service for pets in the home.
When Angie’s family moved to Columbia in 2021, rather than continuing to practice veterinary medicine, she decided it was the right time to plan the launch of her new business. When her family was settled in, she was able to hit the ground running.
To get the word out about her new at-home services, Angie contacted local pet care establishments to let them know about her business. Veterinary clinics, pet boarding facilities, and pet groomers were open to taking her cards and giving their customers information about Angie’s services — for when their need for her arose.
In the beginning, Angie was able to care for around 10 clients per month; now she provides care to roughly 30 to 35 clients per month.
While it’s grown in capacity, Paws in Heaven is a small, simple operation — it’s just Angie and her truck. About 90 percent of her services focus on at-home euthanasia, and around 10 percent is quality of life or hospice care for pets when the pet owner or family is not already established with a veterinarian. Many new clients are people or families that are new to the area.
“It’s like a double-edged sword; it is my business, but it is sad and such a hard time for people losing their pets,” she said. Angie explains that it feels like an honor and her calling to be able to come into peoples’ homes, to sit with them, hold their hands, and walk them through a cherished pet’s end-of-life experience. The emotional connection — typically with someone she hasn’t met until arriving at their home — creates a special bond from “the amount of trust they show when they’ve only just met me.”
Paws in Heaven