Albany & Surrounding Areas
All services are provided in the comfort of your home.
Includes a brief examination by the veterinarian, a full assessment of your pet's quality of life, and a custom treatment plan to help you care for your pet and monitor their condition.
Includes a discussion with the veterinarian, medication to ensure comfort, gentle euthanasia, pawprint impression keepsake, lock of fur, and Lap of Love's Eternal Pawprints booklet. The additional cost for the varied cremation services are detailed in the Aftercare Pricing section.
Includes a brief examination by the veterinarian to help explain your pet's condition, discuss symptom management including pain and anxiety, and prepare an end of life care plan using the appropriate quality of life scale to manage your pet along with your family's needs and desires.
There may be an additional charge for extended travel (see Service Area below), holidays ($50 - $100), pets over 99 lbs, appointments outside normal business hours (when arranged), aggressive pets, and some exotic species.
Although we mainly see dogs and cats, some of our veterinarians can assist you with other species such as pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, birds, fish, and goats. Call for pricing and availability.
With this option, your pet is cremated privately at a licensed crematory. The ashes are contained in a lovely wooden urn with an engraved nameplate and will be returned to your primary care veterinarian within three weeks. They can also be made available directly from the crematory or mailed to your home or office.
This option is for families that don't wish to have their pet's ashes returned nor wish to bury at home. Pets are respectfully cremated with other pets at a licensed crematory and ashes are scattered by the crematory.
There may be a fee if additional assistance to safely carry your pet out of your home is needed.
We are here to answer your questions every day, from 7am - 11pm. Appointments are scheduled throughout the week, please call for availability.
Sometimes, pets take a turn for the worse overnight, so we do our best to accommodate same day appointments with a few hours notice when possible.
If this is a medical emergency, please contact your local veterinarian or one of the emergency clinics listed in the Local Resources section.
Melanie Santspree, DVM
From a very young age when I grew up I wanted to become a veterinarian. Animals were drawn to me, and even the most grumpy kitty would let me evoke a few purrs. After growing up in the small upstate New York town of Loudonville, I attended Sarah Lawrence College to pursue the unusual combination of english, studio arts, and science. After spending some time to truly considering my calling, I returned to my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. I spent time milking cows, working with horses, and cleaning kennels to gain experience. I graduated from Cornell University with a bachelors in animal science and subsequently attended Michigan State University earning my doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2011.
After graduation I returned to upstate New York and worked for five years in general practice to gain insight into the most challenging parts of what it means to truly love your pet. It was during this time I realized that even in general practice my passion always gravitated towards caring for the elderly pet. I aspired to help families make the difficult decision of when it was time to let go.
Through the painful loss of my own pets, and recent loss of my mother in hospice, I learned so much about how hard and complicated that journey can become for anyone. In many ways the most important appointment is the one when the difficult decision has been made to love your beloved pet the best way you know how- by letting them go to ease their suffering. I am honored and humbled to be able to become a part of the journey we take with our beloved companions with the dignified, painless, and loving passing they deserve- at home, in their favorite bed, or on their owner’s lap.
I have decided to dedicate my life to providing the most comfortable care for the geriatric or sick pet, and the most respectful and painless passing possible. My goal for you- for your family- is to preserve the life time of amazing memories that comes from the intimate bond you have when you love a pet. By providing this gift you honor your pet's life, and you honor the treasured memories they will always leave behind in your hearts. I am grateful and honored to join the Lap of Love family serving the upstate New York area with my five year old son. I enjoy spending time with my family, painting, drawing, music, exercise, reading, and traveling when I have time!
"“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same”
There are no words to thank Dr. Mel for her compassion, care & kindness as Tian Tian took the last part of his journey here with us. As hard as it was, Dr. Mel made everything so much gentler & easier to go through. Dr. Mel gave Tian the most gentle care as he went to sleep- in my arms.
She was so caring not just for Tian Tian & myself but for his buddies, Tai Shan & Jake Shan. Tian Tian's transition was gentle & peaceful . It was what we wanted for Tian Tian as a gift of love & Dr. Mel gave us the gift. Dr. Mel came & quietly left leaving footprints on our hearts."
Lynn OsterbergOlmstedville, NY
"We knew the end was near for our beloved Lexi. We debated the best way to handle such a painful, delicate situation. After much discussion, it was decided that we would have someone come to the house to allow Lexi to pass peacefully, with her family, in her own home. After some online research, we found Lap of Love, and subsequently Dr. Melanie Santspree. This was such a blessing.
Dr. Mel came to our house and was so warm, compassionate, and comforting. She took what was probably the most difficult thing we've ever been through and made it as peaceful as possible. She was only at our house for an hour and a half, but me, my boyfriend, and Lexi all felt such a strong bond with her. There was a connection made that we were certainly not anticipating. It was so theraputic to talk to her beforehand as she assured us we were doing the right thing. We enjoyed telling her stories about Lexi and seeing that she genuinely appreciated hearing them. She allowed Lexi to pass peacefully, with grace and dignity, in one of her favorite spots in our home, with her family. For that, we will forever be indebted to Dr. Mel. It takes a truly special person to do the work that Dr. Mel does, and she is just that.
Jay and I give our highest recommendation possible to Dr. Melanie. She's a wonderful person who helped us through an immensely personal and painful situation. She handled it with class and compassion. Thank you Dr. Mel."
Angel BoyerLatham, NY
"This was such a difficult decision to make, we have always had fur babies in our home and saying good-bye is extremely hard. Our dog Willy was 16 yrs old and lived a beautiful, healthy and happy life and so we wanted his death to be as peaceful as possible. Dr. Mel was so very compassionate, understanding, caring and gentle with our little dude Will. This is a picture of us before Dr. Mel came to our home! Thank you from the bottom of our Hearts."
Karen & Dale HebertWest Charlton, NY
"I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Mel. She helped me and my beloved kitty through a most difficult process with her kindness and compassion. As it happened, I had to make the decison to help end his suffering while my husband was away. She came into my home in the evening on a bitter cold night, and was so patient and caring and talked me through the process every step of the way. She took every measure to ensure my fur baby was comfortable and without pain and I was so grateful to be able to hold him in the comfort of my home while he left this world peacefully. Thank you, Dr. Mel, for what you do, and how caring you are in the process. I will forever be grateful."
Susan WatsonEast Greenbush, NY
"When our little baby girl Deeka got lymphoma and had to be put to sleep, I did not want to put her through the stress of going in the car and to the vet just to never return home again, so we decided to have our little girl (10 Year old tuxedo cat) put down at home. It is never an easy choice to put an animal to sleep, but when its time, its time, and when it was Deekas time, Melanie came with a sense of peace, and had a natural way of making us feel like we were doing the right thing for our little Deeka. She gave us the time and space we needed for her last moments right here at home, and it was wonderful to be able to have Deeka pass on her bed looking at her papa. Thank you Melanie, for your comfort and special attention given to Deeka. We miss Deeka, but at least she lived a great life of comfort, and Melanie provided comfort for her at home at the last moments of her life. RIP little girl, And thank you again, We will be calling you when its time again with all our future animals
Eric, and Jackie Barcomb."
Eric and Jackie BarcombSchenectady, NY
"Our Mac was 13 yrs old, and though his beautiful spirit was still as high as ever his breathing was so bad that he heaved for breath even while eating!! The breathing was excruciating. In the last 2 weeks this had become terrible for him and for me watching, I kept struggling, giving him the medication, that helped but not that much, and with trying to decide if it was his time. So, I made the call and the Vet, Dr. Melanie, came on Monday 11/7. It was time, I love him so, but it was time for him to be released and I just seemed like I couldn’t do it. Then when Dr. Melanie walked in the door she got a full on what we called a “Mac Attack” much slower than usual, but still all wiggles and kisses! Mac never seemed to meet an enemy, everyone was his long lost friend. I was lost, in shock and grief and Dr. Melanie was so comforting, never rushing me in any way, truly compassionate and empathic to Mac and to me. I am 64 yrs old and have MS and CHF and Mac is the last dog I will ever have on this earth, and Dr. Melanie seemed to know that too. Dr. Melanie waited until Mac calmed down and she listened to all my stories about him and helped me to keep strong in this most difficult moment, as I knew he was suffering but my heart did not want to let him go. Dr. Melanie hugged me and said this was the right time and with her strength, confidence and compassion, I was finally able to let Mac go. While he laid with his head across my feet, Dr. Melanie first gave him a sedative to calm him while we still said our goodbyes and out of the blue Mac suddenly did one of his tricks for us while sedated and laying at my feet and my husband and I began to laugh and cry and I said to Mac are you doing Poodle Puss and he slowly did it again. This was a gift that Dr. Melanie gave us by not rushing the end. She explained everything as she went along and when the final shot was given Mac was fast asleep on top of his favorite blanket, Dr. Melanie even helped my husband carry Mac to his resting place, he was a large, bright, beautiful Labradoodle. He is resting now under our large Apple tree... Mac was my last dog I miss him terribly, his cat, Kizzy, misses him searching everywhere and even waiting for Mac by his water bowl. It was hard for us to let go but Thank you so much Dr. Melanie for the empathy, compassion and patience. I am so thankful that you were here for Mac, Jim, Kizzy and me. Dr. Melanie, I received the Sympathy card, Thank you, you truly are a beautiful soul."
Margaret RomeynAmsterdam, NY
Pet Life and Loss Support Services
The Companion Animal Bereavement Group, through Upstate Veterinary Specialties
The Northway Animal Emergency Clinic
ASPCA of Upstate NY in Queensbury
Upstate Veterinary Specialities
The Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital
Cornell University Pet Loss Support Hotline
(518) 374-3944, ext. 101
Pet Bereavement - Animal Protective Foundation
Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
Out of the Pits
Helping families in the following areas:
We proudly serve the Albany areas including some or all of the following counties: Albany, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Schnectady, Schoharie, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, Washington and Columbia. Due to the expansive area covered, there may be a travel fee of $30 - $75 based on your location
Preferred methods of payment are check (made to 'Lap of Love') or cash.
Most pet insurance companies cover Lap of Love services. Please have any paperwork ready for the veterinarian to complete so that you can submit it for reimbursement.
Lap of LoveP.O. Box 2736Glenville, NY 12325
News Channel 13: More pet owners choose in-home euthanasia