Dr. Louise Rathjen was born in London, England and lived in Houston, Texas prior to settling down in California. She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine at Western University of Health Sciences in 2011 and completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. Dr. Rathjen and her family moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012 and she has been practicing here since. End of life care became increasingly important to her based on both personal experience and her time in practice.
During the last few months of her internship her black Labrador Retriever, Jake, became increasingly ill. She found herself in the difficult position of deciding when to put him to sleep. Dr. Rathjen, like all pet owners, was not ready to part ways with her best friend. She wanted as much time as possible with Jake, but didn’t want to put her own wishes above his comfort. Jake, being no different than other dogs, wasn’t fond of visits to vet’s office. He would get anxious with anticipation of tests or procedures he would have to endure. Jake’s happy place was his bed in the living room and that is where Dr. Rathjen decided to put him to rest.
This firsthand experience changed the way Dr. Rathjen felt about how and where euthanasia should be performed. Seeing how peaceful Jake’s passing was, Dr. Rathjen was inspired to give other pet owners this same option. She started Restful Paws so that pets could have a peaceful and dignified passing in the comfort of their own home.