Today is a special Topical Thursday post because we’re joining with bloggers around the world in the Blog the Change for Animals event to highlight an issue where you can make a difference for animals.
Many of you probably read the story last month about Joan Price, a woman who had unexpectedly entered hospice at an assisted living facility after a hospital stay, leaving her cat, Isis alone in Joan’s apartment. Luckily for Joan, her story came to the attention of the amazing Dorian Wagner, who used Facebook to help find both an immediate foster and a permanent adopter for Isis. There’s much more to the heartwarming story, and it’s still ongoing.
Joan and Isis found a whole group of caring people on the internet to make sure that Isis was well cared for, but a lot of people in hospice and their pets aren’t that fortunate. While pets may be a source of great comfort for hospice patients, they can also be a source of worry when the patient can’t provide the kind of care their pets need. Caregivers focused on taking care of the hospice patient are often too busy with those tasks to be able to take care of pets.
A small but growing number of nonprofit hospice organizations recognize this and are implementing “pet peace of mind” programs. These programs are designed to help keep pets at home at a time when the terminally ill need their comfort the most. Those nonprofit hospices are often seeking volunteers to feed pets, scoop litterboxes, walk dogs, and even provide transportation from the hospice patient’s home to veterinarians or groomers.
Some of these hospice programs also help with placement planning for the pets so that the hospice patient has the peace of mind of knowing that their beloved cat or dog will have a good home if their family doesn’t have one to offer. Our local hospice organization even has PetFinder listings to help locate great homes for the pets of their patients who have nowhere else to go.
You may not be able to participate in helping care for the now-famous Isis, but there are pets of hospice patients in your community. You can make a difference close to home by making time in your schedule to help care for a cat or dog for a hospice patient. If you’re thinking of adding to your family with a new pet, consider making an adoption commitment for a kitty or pup of a hospice patient when it’s time for the patient to give up their beloved pet.
The patient’s peace of mind that their beloved pet is safe and cared for is priceless.