Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hospice Volunteers for Pets: Pet Food Recall

With the recent mass recall of toxic dog and cat food, pet owners across the country have agonized over their pets’ health. Many owners bombarded veterinarians with requests for guidance in preventing kidney failure and death of their animals. While many pets were determined to be fine, some died, leaving owners devastated.

Pets are loved unconditionally by millions of pet owners. The same inspiration that compels owners to protect and cherish humans also stirs them to want peaceful death journeys for their pets. Fortunately, hospice care for pets has become a reality at the Colorado State University Argus Institute for Families and Veterinary Medicine. Visiting the homes of pet owners, hospice volunteers, who are veterinarian students, help terminally ill animals that are expected to live three months or fewer. Like hospice volunteers for humans, they also offer emotional support for pet owners.

I think this application of the hospice philosophy will develop in more places and positively impact human hospice care by strengthening understanding of its meaning. As more hospice conversations take place, the word “hospice” will become more embedded in everyday language and more appealing to the general public. You can read more about hospice care for pets here. What do you think about this form of end-of-life care for pets?

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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