What is Hospice?
Hospice is a system of support for pet owners who have the physical and mental strength to care for their animals during the most difficult of life’s passages—natural death. It provides compassionate care and comfort to both the owner and beloved pet for this difficult and emotionally taxing time. Hospice services compliment veterinary care and intervention.
The goal of animal hospice is to provide comfort, dignity, and a sense of peace to animals reaching the end of their natural lives. The focus of care is on sustaining the highest quality of life for whatever time remains.
Hospice offers assistance for animals making an important journey. Their owners, who know them best, are in an optimal position to facilitate that transition. As the owners of senior animals know, dying is part of the experience of owning an older pet. Hospice can be short-term, or continue over a longer period.
To make it work, owners must be willing to devote time and energy, and to accept the interruption to their normal schedule. The hours spent with an animal during the last days of its life can be an enriching experience for you and your pet. Hospice care gives families more time with an aging pet and helps them adjust to approaching death. It strengthens the bond between owner and pet and helps prepare the owner for the loss of a special companion. Hospice care allows an aging pet to enjoy the last days of life in familiar surroundings, in the company of loved ones.
This process takes a lot of energy. Not only physical energy, but also emotional and psychic energy, at a time when you will be preparing to experience the sadness of overwhelming loss. The final days are the time to spend with your beloved and devoted pet and help them cross the "Rainbow Bridge," to remember good times and build new memories together, to make this transition a peaceful one. Though hospice is an alternative to premature euthanasia, it can also offer support in decision-making when the quality of life can no longer be assured and euthanasia must be considered.