Animal Hospice Care and Daily Life
Being offered a terminal diagnosis for our beloved animal (or human) can be a heart stopping moment, but as Emily Dickinson’s beautiful quote says – hope is always available to us.
“ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers – that perches in the soul – and sings the tune without words – and never stops—at all.”
With hope in hand – it’s time to learn about animal hospice care. We all know about human hospice care and its wonderful benefits, but the option of hospice care for our animals is lesser known – and the Animal Hospice Group aims to change that – for any and everyone!
Animal hospice care offers a focus on living well all the way to end of life. It isn’t focused on the length of that animal’s life, but the quality. And so hope is not for the longest of life, but is focused on each and every day, with the desire for peace, happiness, and joy for the animal and the caregiver.
It’s time to address the specific issues of daily life and care for your beloved friend with choices best made once one has a diagnosis, specific symptoms and behavioral changes have been noted and a treatment plan is in place.
Adapting to the daily practicalities of hospice care for your pet is not as difficult as one would expect. Proper planning is essential, though. Just as nature seamlessly transitions from one season to another, previous daily patterns of care will disappear and new patterns and routines will take their place. It’s all a part of the natural cycle of life.
Some Tips for Daily Life with Your Senior Pet
“After the verb ‘to Love,’
‘to Help’ is the most beautiful verb in the world.”
- Bertha von Suttner
- Create a journal or notebook to record things such as emergency telephone numbers, medications, nutritional supplements, and more
- Designate a place to keep medical supplies, supplements, and equipment
- Consider mobility aids like wheeled carts, harnesses, slings, steps, ramps and carpet runners, yoga mats etc. for unsteady paws
- Choose beds and bedding depending upon weather and need for warmth or coolness
- Layer and waterproof bedding for easy changing if soiled
- Definitely consider incontinence aids ahead of time such as wraps, pants, diapers, and hospital sheeting
- Litterboxes – low-sided for ease of access – or simply a waterproofed towel on the floor and placed near the bed
- Feeding will likely require creativity and change!
- Smaller amounts more often, liver powder or a little kibble sprinkled on top
- Baby food, egg yolk, canned food, pureed food
- Allow the animal to decide when and where to eat
- Elevated feeding and water bowls
- Offer food warm, cold, wetter, or drier
Photos: Feeding Hope through a syringe, senior horse out for socializing, and Reiki performed on elderly pig. Courtesy of BrightHaven.
Of equal importance to providing for the physical needs of your beloved pet is the need to provide continued social stimulation. Plan for and schedule special time together in gentle grooming, play or simply cuddle time, all of which are so good for emotional health and can also be great stress reducer for you as well.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
- Leo Buscaglia
Please also take the time to just “be” with your pet in loving silence. If your best friend knows you are listening with an open heart, you will be able to communicate on a level previously unknown to you.
“Lots of people talk to animals…Not very many listen though…That’s the problem.”
- Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
Short Course Open For Enrollment
Animal Hospice University (a division of Animal Hospice Group) has created a 5 lecture Short Course - Compassionate Care: Introduction to Animal Hospice Short Course. Learn about the profound physical, emotional, and behavioral changes during the stages of dying. Delve into the ethical considerations surrounding end-of-life options, debunk common myths, and understand the BrightHaven After-Death 3-day process. To learn more about the Short Course, please click here.
S P R E A D T H E C A R I N G
& gift animals and their caregivers the urgent help they need
We have started the groundwork and we need your help! All proceeds will benefit the development and daily operating expenses to support the non-profit AHG Helpline for our Advisors (Interns), Senior Advisors (Mentors), and most importantly the animal caregivers who seek our animal hospice guidance. Your donation(s) is tax deductible. The Animal Hospice Group is in affiliation with BrightHaven Inc., a CA 501(c)(3) Corporation.
Please consider donating toward Animal Hospice Group's cause during this Season of Giving and Year-end Charitable Giving.
Please show us all that you like this article by sharing, commenting, and/or giving this a "LIKE" on Facebook. Photo in the post header: senior cat Tarka taking a drink while lying on cozy bedding (courtesy of BrightHaven).