Helping Hospice & Palliative Patients Care for Their Pets

By Kathy Hosler

Peace of mind. Few things in this world are more precious. Yet attaining peace of mind is not always easy, especially if you are facing a devastating illness and you are not sure who will care for your pet if you can’t.

We have all heard countless stories of older pet owners that struggle to care for their beloved companions. And many are really concerned about what will happen to their precious pets if something happens to them.

Have you ever had one of your clients tearfully implore you to take their pet if they have to go into assisted living or if they should die? Is there any way that you can help these people when they face a life changing situation? Yes, there is. That’s where Pet Peace of Mind and the services they provide enter the equation. They have a solution for this heartbreaking problem.

“Pet Peace of Mind (PPoM) is a national non–profit organization. We have been working with hospice programs all over the United States since 2009 and we are the only non–profit in this mission space,” says Dianne McGill, President and Founder of Pet Peace of Mind. “Our mission is to help hospice patients keep their pets with them all the way through end of life. We want to enrich their quality of life and well–being by providing a national support network to help care for the pets they love. And when the person passes, the program’s goal is to ensure the pet goes to a new forever home instead of ending up in a shelter, or worse.”

Some terminally ill patients receive help from family and friends, but many patients have no one to turn to. As they get too sick to perform even the most basic chores, pets are often neglected or may be treated as an afterthought by family members or friends who are unfamiliar with the patient’s bond with a beloved pet.

“Pet Peace of Mind provides the solution to this heartbreaking situation by teaching non–profit hospices how to meet the pet care and re–homing needs of their patients,” Dianne continues. “We provide them with a program model and everything that they need to put it in place. In addition to specialized training and ongoing advice and support, we also provide the hospices with funding to help with pet care expenses.”

Routine pet care such as grooming or a trip to the veterinarian can become an impossible task for a hospice patient. Sometimes daycare and boarding are truly essential if the patient must go to the hospital anywhere from a few hours to several days for treatments or procedures.

The need for this program is great and it is growing by leaps and bounds as our population ages. If someone is terminally ill and goes on hospice service, PPoM volunteers come to their home and help with any daily pet care needs such as walking, feeding, waste pick up, etc. The volunteer will transport the pet to the groomer or veterinarian and Pet Peace of Mind will give the hospice money to cover those expenses if the patient needs financial assistance.

This is a huge heartstring program that resonates with anyone who is connected to the pet care industry in any way. Pet Peace of Mind shows hospices how to put valuable networks in place. It’s a very significant part of the success of the program.

Local veterinarians, and grooming and boarding facilities are all connected in the pet community, and these pet professionals often know who has recently lost a pet or who is looking for a pet. Local PPoM volunteers can reach out to them when a pet needs a new home.

“We want everyone to know that hospice is not about dying. Hospice is about living every day to the fullest,” Ms. McGill says. “When people get over thinking that hospice is only about dying, they fall in love with our mission.”

“We want to get this information into the grooming, boarding, and daycare communities because we know how much the program will mean to them,” says Dianne. “Part of what we direct hospices NOT to do is to make any pet care provider feel guilty or obligated to provide services for free. Pet care providers’ time is valuable and they need to make a living. We want to make sure that hospices have the funding to pay for services that the pet needs.”

Pet Peace of Mind has about 150 local programs in the United States. They are on a mission to increase awareness and to raise funds to sustain Pet Peace of Mind long term. This program is improving the lives of many pet owners and their pets across the country.

In 2017, Pet Peace of Mind will be adding the Hospice Angels program. This program will provide a practical way for those working in the pet care industry to support the important work of the organization. The program will increase visibility for your business and provide access to specific opportunities with hospice programs in your community.

Visit their website www.petpeaceofmind.org to see how you can make a donation, get involved in the program, and spread the word about the wonderful work that is being done. Help give someone a very precious gift—the gift of Peace of Mind. ✂

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