Please click on the topics below (blue buttons) to discover common questions we have collected from animal practitioners, animal caregivers, and current AHG students. If you have any additional questions, please contact us on our Connect With Us page.
Q: What is the difference between hospice care and palliative care for animals?
Both hospice care and palliative care are valid approaches for your animal companion that can be adopted when your goal shifts from cure to comfort. Palliative care refers to relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease at any stage of an illness or a natural decline in health whereas hospice care begins after a terminal diagnosis is given and curative measures are ceased.
Both approaches include caring for the entire family--animals and their closest caregivers--on the physical, emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual levels.
Q: What kind of diseases, conditions or circumstances would warrant hospice and/or palliative care?
The following most frequently warrant hospice or palliative care for animals:
organ failure (kidneys, liver and heart are common examples)
cognitive dysfunction or dementia
situations in which geriatric animals are gradually approaching the natural completion of their life
any life-limiting condition that gradually contributes to an excessive burden of caregiving
treatments or interventions that the family deems unacceptable
any condition that negatively affects quality of life to the point where it has the potential to cause suffering.
Q: How do I know if hospice care is the right decision for me and my animal? What would my responsibilities be?
Many animal caregivers choose hospice care in order to have the time to say goodbye to their companions, to plan for their death, and to ensure that all decisions about the animal’s needs are guided by their personal view of the animal’s particular requirements. If you have the resources to support comfort care, the time and desire to care for your animal during the last days or weeks at the end of life, and a good support team in place, then hospice care may be the right choice for you and your companion animal.
Q: Should I plan in advance for after death care such as burial, cremation or other options or should I wait until the time comes? What about memorialization?
Making after death care arrangements ahead of time helps you prepare emotionally so you won’t have to be confronted with these decisions during the time when you are grieving and most vulnerable. Consider memorializing and paying tribute to your animal companion’s life to promote emotional healing, as well as a richer understanding and validation of your family’s loss. Dr. Kathryn Marocchino will be lecturing about aftercare, memorialization and remembrance in Module 8 (see Curriculum).
FAQs About AHG Certification & Pricing
Q: Who is a candidate for the AHG Certification Program?
The following IDT members can benefit from animal hospice education and experience:
Animal Hospice Case Workers
Chaplains and Clergy
Integrative/Alternative Therapy Practitioners (i.e., those who use Bach flower essences, aromatherapy, animal communication, medical intuition, etc.)
Grief Counselors and Bereavement Support Facilitators
Rehabilitation and Warm Water Therapists
Reiki and other energy workers
Rescue and Sanctuary workers
Veterinary Support Staff
Q: How will the AHG Certification Program help me in my career and/or in my life with animals?
You will be qualified to become a member of an interdisciplinary team (IDT) and by working alongside veterinary practitioners, you will be able to provide comprehensive hospice care for your own or for others’ animals with confidence and competence.
Q: Do I have to attend all the Zoom Discussion Group meetings while I am doing the Coursework?
You are only required to attend a minimum of three Discussion Group meetings during the time you are doing the Coursework. Although, you are more than welcome to attend every Discussion Group meeting while you are completing the modules. The Discussion Groups are held once per month for a couple of hours. They are scheduled roughly around the middle of the month.
Q: The website mentions 24 hours online training and 20 hours of live training. What if my work schedule interferes with the dates/times scheduled for the 20 hours of live training?
The online Helpline training is on-demand and lasts for three consecutive weeks, with the final segment of the internship devoted to staffing the HelpLine. You will be able to sign up for 8 shifts of 6 hours each, and you have 3 months in which to complete the Internship. If your work schedule prevents you from completing it within that time frame, please talk to Michelle to request accommodations.
Q: What is the difference between the AHG “Certificate of Completion” and the AHG “Certified Animal Hospice Practitioner”?
Q: I am an animal caregiver and have a family of one cat and two dogs. I wonder how or why I would benefit from your course, by taking either modules 1 through 9 or by taking modules 1-10?
Taking Modules 1-9 and obtaining a AHG Certificate of Completion will give you the tools and knowledge to confidently and competently care for your own animals as well as guide family or friends in caring for their animals through chronic illness, aging and the end-of-life journey.
Q: My animal companion was just recently given a terminal diagnosis. Would this program help me to help him as he approaches the end of his life? Will it also offer me emotional support?
This program will definitely help you! Please visit our curriculum page to read about the various lectures offered. Many of these lectures will provide the guidance and the emotional support you seek. Please follow this link: https://www.animalhospicegroup.com/site/curriculum
Q: Will this program help me in decision-making for my animal’s end of life?
Q: Will your program help me to support a natural passing for my animal or to know when or under what circumstances I might have to consider euthanasia?
Our program will definitely offer you the guidance you need to choose a hospice-supported natural death for your animal companion. It will also offer you the tools and knowledge to determine under what circumstances the euthanasia procedure may become appropriate. Hospice-supported natural death, euthanasia-assisted death, and quality of life are all topics throughout the Curriculum and the Internship but especially by Dr. Amir Shanan and Gail Pope in Modules 4, 5, and 6 (see Curriculum).
Q: I am concerned about my child’s well-being while he or she prepares to lose a beloved best friend. Would this program help guide me so I can be there during that difficult time?
Yes, Michelle Nichols and Dr. Kathryn Marocchino will be lecturing on grief and how it affects individuals of all ages in Modules 7 and 8 of the Curriculum. Children learn responsibility and love while caring for their family pet. Similarly, aging, illness and death provide rich lessons about the cycle of life. As is the case with adult caregivers, children can learn techniques to remain involved with their animal friend’s care so they feel important and even inspired by this tender and memorable time. Depending upon your child’s temperament and your careful preparation, consider allowing them to be present at the time of death. If you would like other opinions about how to assist with coping and grief work based on your child’s developmental stage, you might consider a child therapist professionally interested in pet grief and loss.
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