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This heart-wrenching video introduces Baxter, a 19.5-year-old therapy dog who, though he cannot himself walk, provides peace and comfort to hospice patients at the end of their lives. Have your tissues ready, folks What a glorious purpose for this dog’s life! Bless him and all those like him. They’re gifts to us all.—Sid

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While out walking my foursome of Westies today along Minnehaha Parkway, a bicyclist called out, “Thank you for that! That’s quite a site.” She reminded me yet again of how little animals need to do to bring a smile to our faces. Some animals, however, take that spreading of joy and comfort mission quite seriously. Take the following story of Frankie by Barbara Techel.—Sid

Hospice plus Therapy Dogs equals Golden Moments

Frankie outside of Sharon S. Richardson Hospice Community

Becoming a volunteer in hospice with my therapy dog, Frankie was something I wanted to ease into.  It was last on my list of places to volunteer.  I wanted to get my feet wet first and experience this line of work in a senior assisted home and hospital setting.

The perception of being a volunteer in hospice is that it is depressing.  Some may wonder why you want to surround yourself with people who are dying.  Hospice and therapy dogs have intrigued me ever since I read Jon Katz’s book, Izzy and Lenore, Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey and Me.  The special bond that took place between patients, Jon’s dogs and Jon often had me in tears.  It was sad when the patient died, but at the same time it was the connection that formed between two people, and the dogs that had me feeling this was something indescribable taking place that could only be felt if one experienced it.

Though I was fascinated about hospice work I set aside the idea of volunteering until I felt “ready.”  To prepare myself Frankie and I began visiting Libby’s House as well as Memorial hospital.  Some of my most joyful times are during these visits.  Sharing Frankie with those that are lonely or sick fills my heart with warmth I’ve never known before.

One day I received a call from my friend, Luann. She volunteers with her dog, Sophie at Sharon S. Richardson Hospice (SSR).

She told me an elderly married couple, Mary and Tom were staying together in one of the suites at SSR Hospice.  Tom had just passed away.  Months before I had donated several copies of my book Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog to SSR Hospice in hopes it would help children visiting there.

Luann said, “Mary and Tom read your book together and she would love to meet Frankie.”  I was touched by the sweet image of the senior couple reading Frankie’s story together. Luann said we would need to visit soon as Mary was preparing to move back home.

Though a bit apprehensive about what to expect I put aside my feelings.  It was important to me to do this for Mary, who was grieving the loss of her dear husband.  If Frankie and I could bring a little joy to her life at this difficult time, it was something I felt compelled to do.

I was nervous driving to hospice that warm fall morning.  As I drove into the parking lot and saw the grounds in full autumn bloom, I felt this amazing peace wash over me.  Walking through the front doors I felt I was walking on sacred ground.  It may sound odd, but it was one of the most tranquil feelings I have ever had.

As Frankie rolled into Mary’s room and I walked beside her, I saw Mary sitting in a chair gazing out her window as if in a reflective state.  As she heard us approach, she turned, and with the biggest smile and joyful voice she said, “I prayed I would get to meet Frankie and here you are!”

She gave me a big hug.  She then lavished many pets and love onto Frankie.  Mary told me over and over how much we made her day.  To see her face light up in the midst of losing the love her of life, was just as much a gift to me.  To know Frankie brought some joy to her as she was in the depth of grief gave my heart a jolt of what making a difference really means.

Meeting Mary was the push I needed.  I was hooked. I knew this was something I wanted to experience more of.

Frankie gives me the confidence to walk into the rooms of complete strangers, knowing they are transitioning. I realize this may be the only time we meet them, or we could also develop a friendship.  I’ve learned to accept whatever the outcome is to be.

I’ve learned by observing Frankie to not judge, listen more than I speak, and treasure each person we encounter. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of someone’s last days or months.  I’ve also learned that hospice is not about dying, but rather living.  No matter what stage someone is at, each breath and moment is precious.

There are many special therapy dog teams that volunteer at SSR Hospice.  In writing this story I asked some of them to share their thoughts about why they volunteer.

Nancy, leader of our monthly therapy dog meetings wrote a very special poem about what her dog Stuart has taught her about hospice.  The part that especially moves me is:  “Sometimes it is about that golden moment when it is about anything else.  When Stuart prances in and goes to work, everything changes.  That golden moment of distraction, those with the least strength light up, lean forward, smile boldly and come fully to life…and it is a different world.  It is an overwhelming feeling and you can’t imagine it if you haven’t been there.”

Jayne said, “I realized it was very selfish of me to not share all the love and joy Magic has to give to others.” Magic is her standard poodle. She told me people often comment on what a big beautiful dog he is.  Jayne said, “Magic has changed more than one person’s mindset about “foo foo” poodles. When you meet Magic he is a regal, proud poodle. To know Magic is to truly experience the ‘magic’ love of a dog.”

The magic of all dogs in the environment of hospice is something one truly can’t grasp unless it is experienced.  For me, being a part of this community with Frankie, has me wanting to reach out more, to care more, and ultimately experience more golden moments because it is in those moments that the meaning of life comes full circle.
© Barbara Techel 2010
www.joyfulpaws.com

Barbara is the multi-award author of, Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series. She is an educator helping kids see their challenges in a positive way and also a passionate advocate for animals with disabilities. Barbara and Frankie routinely volunteer as a therapy dog team at local hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice centers.  Since 2005, Barbara has been a contributing writer for the Depot Dispatch sharing stories of her animals, as well as other furry friends she has met along the way.  You can visit Barbara and Frankie on at www.joyfulpaws.com

The following is an article written about a remarkable woman, Micky Golden Moore, founder of Beyond the Paw Print, whose story is a prime example of how facing one’s grief can prove not only healing for one’s self, but also can lead to major positive life changes. Her efforts bring comfort to those who struggle with “disenfranchised grief.”—Sid

May 14 • 2009 A25

It’s Not Therapy

Aspiring grief counselor helps people come together to also grieve for pets.

BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL—entrepreneur
| by Judith Doner Berner
| Special to the Jewish News

detroitjewishnews

Micky Golden Moore: “Pet loss grief is not intended to be compared to the loss of a person. Many times, even close friends and family can be dismissive. Sometimes, the purest love is from an animal. Human relationships are fraught with complications.” Staff photo by Angie Baan

Everyone loses a loved one at some time in their lives. But few take the steps that Micky Golden Moore has to understand their grief.

After the death of her parents, the Metro Detroiter, who graduated from West Bloomfield High School and holds a Ph.D. in speech communication from Wayne State University in Detroit, entered a master’s program in hospice and palliative studies at Madonna University in Livonia. The switch from a career of communications consulting and teaching was
partly a result of the care and comfort she saw her dad, steel executive and Jewish philanthropist Louis H. Golden, receive from West Bloomfield-based Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network (JHCN) when he died in 2003 from a recurrence of cancer.

It was further driven by the depression that Moore suffered when her mom, Sylvia Golden, a lifelong Hadassah member, died three years later. “She was my best friend. I knew that I had to understand what this was,” Moore says. “I’ve always turned to academia to find my answers.”

Moore, a Farmington Hills resident, graduated May 3 from what Madonna heralds as “the only university-based hospice program of its kind in the nation.” She plans a career in grief counseling.

“This program has changed my life,” she says. “I feel very passionate about the opportunity to help others journey through their grief, loss and reconciliation. “Everyone’s grief experience is unique and depends on who died, the nature of the relationship with the deceased and how the individual died. I don’t want anyone that I help to feel isolation. You walk alongside them. You bear witness as they work through the grieving process. There is no magic dust.”

Shifting Sands
Part way through her studies, Moore was prompted by the death of her two cats to begin a support group for others who had lost pets.  “Pet loss grief is not intended to be compared to the loss of a person,” she says. But when she wrote a research paper, her findings showed that pet loss is one of the forms of “disenfranchised grief.” Many times, even close friends and family can be dismissive.

“Sometimes, the purest love is from an animal,” Moore says. “Human relationships are fraught with complications.” She formed Beyond the Paw Print LLC and put together a website: www.beyondthepawprint.com. The name is based on the clay paw print that many veterinarians give clients as a remembrance of their pet.

Her bereavement group meets 7-9 p.m. the second Monday of each month at Orchard United Methodist Church, 30450 Farmington Road in Farmington Hills.

“This is not a therapy group,” Moore says. “The goal is to acknowledge and validate the unique nature of each loss.” The page-long Code of Conduct includes asking participants to avoid giving advice or comparing their loss to that of another participant. No pets are allowed. The first meeting in March drew a dozen participants. Ten people came to the second meeting, she says.

Positive Response
Kiirsti Sharp, practice manager of the Hilldale Veterinary Hospital in Southfield, attended as an observer. She saw that those who came “needed Micky’s support and the support of each other. People were hugging each other. They felt understood.”

That was true for Mikki Stein of Farmington Hills who says the sessions have helped her come to terms with the
death of a dog “whose time was not up.”

“People who aren’t animal lovers just don’t want to listen,” Stein says. So when she saw a piece about the support group in a local newspaper, “I felt it was bashert [fate, destiny].”

As Stein shared her story with those who attended, “It was the first time that I felt anybody heard me. It was so uplifting. I felt such a sense of relief.” She’ll continue to attend whenever she can, Stein says. “It’s important to listen to other people the way they listened to you.”

“It was very helpful,” seconds Joely Moss, a Farmington Hills mother of two young children. She went online to find Moore’s support group at the death of the dog that she and her husband had owned since before they had children. “It really feels good to be around people who totally get it,” she says.

The support group is free. Moore’s website also promotes two related businesses — a video pet tribute service and a training program on pet loss for veterinary clinicians.

Dr. David Whitten, DVM, who heads the Hilldale clinic, says Moore conducted a workshop for his staff and developed a grief packet, which they hand out. “We thought we already were doing a good job. She made us even a little smarter.”

On-Task Learning
Moore has earned the confidence of two who are her teachers and mentors.Paul Nguyen, Ph.D., of Karmanos Cancer Institute Hospice in Southfield guides the internship required for her degree and was at her side at the initial pet support group meetings.

“As a facilitator, Micky is very helpful,” Nguyen says. “People enjoy being there because it’s a safe place to deal
with their grief when their family members don’t understand.”

“I’m an advocate for pet loss support,” says Kelly Rhoades, Ph.D., professor and chair of Madonna’s Hospice, Palliative Care and Bereavement Studies program. “It’s relevant to end-of-life care.

“It’s not a loss that’s always validated. To some people, pets are their children. We have to meet people where they are. Micky has taken this to the program level.”

When Moore began her degree, Rhoades says, “She wanted to give back to the hospice program. One of the things I most admire about her is that when she commits to something, she goes far beyond. She wants to learn everything.

“She has a lot of compassion and understanding — and now she has the skills.”

Moore won the Karmanos Cancer Institute Crystal Award as Volunteer of the Year in April 2006 for developing a required workshop for volunteers in the institute’s speakers’ bureau. Her volunteer efforts, she says, “acknowledge and honor my parents’ memory” and “their legacy of giving.”

She credits husband Bud Moore, a financial executive at Ford Motor Company, for “supporting me through each and every single endeavor. Without him, none of this would be possible.” ■

A strong case can be made for keeping the elderly united with their pets. I had a dear (now deceased) friend who was forced to move into an assisted living facility and be parted from her beloved Pekingese Zeke. Clearly bereaved from losing not only her home but her pet, my friend’s emotional and physical health deteriorated swiftly, so much so that she was forced to move to an advanced care nursing home. The only good thing was this new nursing home allowed her to keep Zeke. He, in fact, became the “house dog” and enjoyed the run of the whole facility, frequently visiting other residents and beloved by all. My friend Mavis was able to die in her own room with Zeke by her side.

As I wrote in a story in my book “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” Zeke was so protective of/worried about leaving his human mama, he would growl (very uncharacteristically for this sweet dog) whenever we tried to get him off the bed to feed him or take him outside. He wouldn’t eat or drink for nearly two days. For Mavis’ part, though in hospice care at the time, she felt she couldn’t “let go” until all the details were taken care of regarding who would adopt Zeke when she died. She made arrangements with her foster daughter to take her dog, and you could feel the weight that had been lifted from Mavis’ shoulders.

Shortly thereafter, when Mavis did finally pass, Zeke immediately became chipper again and willingly leaped down from her bed, eager to eat, drink, and go for walks again. It was as though, once she was freed of her body, Mavis’ spirit was able to reassure Zeke that all was again well and he could stop watching over her.

This, to me, illustrates the depth of the human-animal bond and our ability to communicate with one another even after we’ve left this physical life. Imagine Mavis’ ongoing suffering, and Zeke’s as well, if they’d been forced to be apart at this crucial time of transition.

Mavis and Zeke

I hope someday all senior living centers will accept the benefits of pet ownership vastly outweigh any inconveniences and will allow their residents to remain united with their animal companions. The following article from K9 magazine illustrates my point still further.

—Sid

Pressure Mounts For Older People To Keep Pets

Submitted by Jennifer White on April 23, 2010 

A survey of more than 4,000 members of the public by PFMA, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, reveals 90% of people think that separation from a pet is traumatic for older people entering residential care or sheltered accommodation.

The TNS research also found 83% agree pets make their owners happier and 54% think pet owners should be able to make the choice about entering care facilities after seeing the accommodation policy.

Pets provide significant benefits to elderly people; those who keep pets when entering care homes enjoy a smoother transition into residential care, as well as significant health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Other proven health benefits for older people with pets include: reduced blood pressure and cholesterol; improved recovery from heart attacks and strokes; better social interactions in people with dementia; and fewer GP visits.

Conducted in March 2010, the research helped shape the PFMA’s goal to ensure all leading UK housing providers implement responsible pet policies that enable older people to make an informed choice about their future. This commitment is part of the organisation’s 2020 vision to make a better world with pets, launched to mark its 40th anniversary.

The PFMA is working closely with SCAS (Society for Companion Animal Studies) and MPs taking the issue forward – including Ian Cawsey, Nick Palmer and Nigel Waterson – to strive for fairer treatment of the older pet-owning public.

Ian Cawsey, MP for Brigg and Goole, said: ‘Today we have more than 11 million elderly adults living in Britain, of whom approximately 25% are pet-owners. This figure is estimated to rise to 14 million by 2026 and the majority of these people will eventually require some form of residential care. Unfortunately growing older often involves inevitable heartache and loss but being separated from a pet when entering care facilities should not be part of it. This is why I welcome the PFMA’s 2020 goal to ensure care facilities implement responsible pet policies over the next decade.”

PFMA, Chief Executive, Michael Bellingham, explains: “Having analysed the research and consulted SCAS we are delighted to announce our 2020 ambition to ensure fairer treatment of the older pet-owning public. The importance of pets to people in care facilities cannot be under-estimated. Over the next ten years we want to make a big difference to the lives of older pet owners.”

This latest call to action follows the successful passing of shadow minister for older people, Nigel Waterson’s bill – Care Homes and Sheltered Accommodation (Domestic Pets) Bill -which aims for a more “enlightened and responsible” policy for allowing pet owners in residences to keep their beloved animals.

CASE STUDY: A SUCCESSFUL PET-FRIENDLY HOUSING SCHEME

Wandsworth Borough Council operates a positive pet policy and has been permitting pets in sheltered schemes since 2001. Wandsworth’s executive member for housing Martin D Johnson said: “Pet ownership is an enriching part of many elderly people’s lives. As well as offering companionship, they keep their owners active and are a link to social activities that prevent isolation.
We’ve had pets in our sheltered schemes for nine years without a single significant problem. Our experience proves this type of housing can easily accommodate animals and there is no need to deny elderly people the pleasures and benefits of pet ownership.
We want other housing providers to rethink their attitudes to animals and realise the huge benefits they represent.”

OTHER SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PROMOTING BENEFITS OF PETS TO OLDER PEOPLE:

Older people who are forced to part with a pet when moving into residential care can suffer feelings of bereavement that are similar to the loss of a family member. Severe reactions can lead to depression, disturbed sleep or eating patterns, and even physical illness (source: McNicholas, J. & Collis, G.M. (1995), ‘The end of a relationship: coping with pet loss.’).

· Pet ownership in older people is also associated with better coping with major life stresses, such as bereavement, which is more common in older people. Pet owners adjust to spousal bereavement better than non-owners (source: McNicholas et al 2005, BMJ).

To find out more, please visit: www.pfma.org.uk

The Sanctuary Animal Refuge and Hospice is a wonderful organization that provides a home/hospice care to animals that would otherwise be euthanized. Read about them and visit their site to donate to this worthy cause. —Sid

The touching of souls…The love of the animal human bond, the trust it takes to rebuild an abused relationship, the hope for a better future and the healing that comes with it all.

The Sanctuary Animal Refuge And Hospice

The touching of souls…Love, Trust, Hope, Healing

The touching of souls…The love of the animal human bond, the trust it takes to rebuild an abused relationship, the hope for a better future and the healing that comes with it all.

// First and Foremost, the goal of the Sanctuary Animal Refuge and Hospice is to provide sanctuary to any animal that has been the victim of abuse or neglect. We will provide them medical and hospice care until the very end of their days – guaranteeing them a safe home forever. Many of these victims are brought into Humane Societies that are hurt, sick or otherwise need extensive medical care. These animals are often euthanized because of the cost of the care that is needed, having nothing to do with the temperament of the animal. If they are capable of providing the medical care needed, the animals are then adopted out. Some come back because the new owners are not aware of or  are incapable of providing the extra attention these special needs animals require.

BYE BABY
No more lonely cold nights or hearing that I’m bad.
No more growling belly from the meals I never had.
No more scorching sunshine with a water bowl that’s dry.
No more complaining neighbors about the noise when I cry.
No more hearing “shut up”, “get down” or “get out of here”!
No more feeling disliked,… only peace is in the air.
Euthanasia is a blessing, though some still can’t see, why I was ever born If I weren’t meant to be.
My last day of living was the best I ever had.
Someone held me very close, I could see she was very sad.
I kissed the lady’s face, and she hugged me as she cried.
I wagged my tail to thank her, then I closed my eyes and died.
Written by an Animal shelter volunteer in Massena, NY

At the Sanctuary, we will be providing that medical attention and extra care. We will rehabilitate the animals that are brought into our facility. A great many of the animals that would have been euthanized have a wonderful quality of life left in them, and always return the kindness. These animals, once given the security of a lifetime home, go on to provide love and education to others. They will often become “surrogate” parents to new members of the Sanctuary, creating a comfortable secure feeling for all. They also respond by showing, by example, the visitors that will come to the Sanctuary how kindness, love and caring nurtures the soul – both human and animal. This enriches our lives and helps educate and prove that there are other options beyond euthanasia. Quality of life – room to run, play and explore and a chance to give back is what we offer these animals – for as long as they live. These animals did nothing to be in these situations and we cannot turn our backs on them.

Living quarters for the animals will not be kennels or crates. They are individual or sometimes paired “condos” or “town homes” that are furnished with all the comforts of home. Environmental comforts are controlled; each has a couch and their own bed to sleep in, toys are plenty and food is wholesome and nutritious. Volunteers play with them on a structured schedule so that there is plenty of exercise, human interaction and lots and lots of love. Food and special dietary needs are taken into consideration by a staff dietician that prepares the meals for all the animals, carefully monitoring their individual needs. Having a carefully prepared and monitored diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Some animals are especially suited for human companionship and teaching roles. We take these particular members of the Sanctuary and let them enrich the lives of others by bringing them to schools to help children learn pet responsibility or to nursing homes to allow them to share their love with people who normally cannot have a pet full-time. Special field trips to the Sanctuary are also planned for groups such as the boys and girls clubs. This is how the Sanctuary will contribute to and enhance our community. Can you visualize with me how people can benefit from the warm, loving companionship of a treasured dog, cat or ferret? For children and adults to feel that connection when they know that they are helping a pet that so desperately needs human help? Do you remember what it feels like to have that companion with you – that unconditional love you felt when it seemed no one else was there? These are the animals that need the help of the Sanctuary.

Some animals already have the loving, caring homes they deserve – it’s just that what would happen to that treasured pet if something happened to you? The Sanctuary will guarantee a place for your pet. We promise to keep your pet filled with love, give them room to play and any medical care they will need to live out the rest of their lives if you can’t provide that to them. That’s phase two of the Sanctuary. Wouldn’t that be a comfort? Knowing that your special companion has a place that will give them all the love and care that you would – if you could? I know it makes me feel so much better. Its hard to imagine anyone taking care of my Rosie the way I do.

Phase Three is a critical one; What happens to the pets of women and children in domestic violence cases when they leave home? Do you know that a large percentage of those women and children won’t leave the violent home because they are afraid of leaving their pets behind? We won’t let that happen anymore. The Sanctuary vows to care for those pets until the victims of domestic violence get situated and find a home that is safe for both themselves, and their pets.

This is my dream – My Vision – and it is as clear as day to me. I want to be able to look into the eyes of these animals – the sick, injured or abused animals – and see hope, comfort and love. I have seen too many eyes looking back at me asking for a warm meal, a warm bed or just a soft stroke of my hand. Without fail, every one of those animals that I have intervened with has given back to me ten fold what I have given to them. I know that every one of you that holds their pet in their heart knows exactly what I mean.

The need is great, and unfortunately, it does not come free. We hope to be able to raise enough funds to purchase land to build our facilities by the end of the year 2010. We raise all of our money by fundraising and to date have not yet received any special grants or endowments. We need approximately 50 acres to be able to realize the goals that we have set forth. The need is great – but I also know from experience that the kindness in the hearts of animal lovers is also great.

For the Animals,
DJ Rotter


sanc·tu·ar·y     (sangk-choo-er-ee)
any place of refuge; asylum

hos·pice
1. a house of shelter or rest for pilgrims, strangers, etc., esp. one kept by a religious order.
2.  Medicine/Medical
A.) health-care facility for the terminally ill that emphasizes pain control and emotional support for the patient, typically refraining from taking extraordinary measures to prolong life.
B.) a similar program of care and support for the terminally ill at home.

Our Mission:

To protect the health and welfare and provide medical care and a nurturing environment for animals that have suffered from abuse or neglect and to assure that the same environment is provided to them as long as they live.

Our Vision:

We envision the day when animals will not suffer because of human neglect, abuse or abandonment.

If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man.  All things are connected.  Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.

~Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce

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Determining when it’s time to end the life of your dearest nonhuman friend is always excruciatingly painful, so for some people, providing hospice care/pain management to a terminally ill pet is a viable alternative. Obviously, hospice may not be appropriate or even possible in every instance, but for those with the capacity and courage to let nature run its course while mitigating any pain or discomfort being experienced by their pet, it may provide a unique and powerful bonding experience.

Note, I am not advocating hospice in cases wherein the animal’s suffering is being prolonged simply because the human being, due to fear of loss or sheer selfishness, demands that the pet stay around just for them. A fine line separates the two circumstances, and it is important for people to have a strong support system to turn to for validation and support for a difficult but loving decision to supply hospice care for their companion or, alternately, to provide them with  a stern shaking to wake them to the truth of what they’re doing when that decision becomes detrimental to both human and animal.

A case in point for the latter is found in the client of a friend of mine. This lady has spent $80,000+ and extended the suffering of her paralyzed 125-pound German shepherd for more than a year, although he continually urinates blood clots and has to be carried to the car (by people hired to do this task) to go to the vet two to three times per week.

There is absolutely no quality of life there for this poor dog, but she is keeping him alive as long as medical science (and her bank balance) exists to allow it. This is NOT what is intended by hospice care! This is animal cruelty from a woman whose denial is so profound she refuses to acknowledge that her pet deserves a peaceful release. My friend and her staff have repeatedly tried to make this woman aware of the error of her ways, but so far it has been to no avail. I believe that deeper underlying psychological issues are plaguing this woman and she could benefit from professional counseling, but as we all know, we cannot help those who refuse to accept their need for it.

Albeit an extreme case, I think it illustrates an important point about how easily a well-intentioned act can become terribly wrong.

The following ezine article “Grieving the Loss of a Pet – 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Hospice Care For Your Pet” by Deborah A. was what spurred my discussion of hospice in the first place:

Most pet owners develop a special bond with their pet, and if they learn that their pet has a terminal illness, they may not be ready to think about euthanasia. Providing hospice care until an animal dies, can be an alternative to euthanasia. Hospice means to give pain control and physical and emotional comfort care, rather than to provide a cure. Hospice care also gives the owner more time in grieving the pet loss.

Hospice care is provided by the pet owner and any available family, in the familiar surroundings the pet is used to. The idea is to minimize visits to the veterinarian, thus lessening feelings of anxiety in the pet. Not too many pets enjoy visits to their doctors’ office! By continuing to care for your pet in his/her final days, you will have more time to come to terms with the continual deterioration and say good-bye in your own manner.

Your veterinarian and other office staff will provide the training necessary to have hospice care in the home. Regularly scheduled phone conversations should be arranged so that your pet’s condition can be evaluated and revisions made as needed. When considering if hospice care is the correct choice, it may help to ask the following five questions:

1) do you have the capacity, support, and time needed to care for a pet that may need to be cleaned up, turned, given medicine, unable to stand, or has stopped eating and drinking?

2) is it possible to control your pet’s pain?

3) are you going to feel secure in learning to give your pet a shot?

4) are all family members unanimous in their decision to provide hospice care?

5) did you decide on hospice because of ambivalence about euthanasia, or does your pet show signs of still getting pleasure out of life?

Grieving a pet loss is not an experience anyone wants to go through. However, providing hospice care to a your pet – a valued member of the family – can allow your pet’s death to be a more gentle and loving process.

Deborah A. is an animal lover with a special interest in helping others cope after the loss of a pet. Are you trying to move past the grief of your pet’s death? CLICK HERE or go to: http://www.petlosshelp.info to get more tips and relief in coping with your pet loss.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Deborah_A.

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