Hospice For Dying Animals

I read a very moving article today about serving as a hospice for dying animals.  The author works in a large no kill animal shelter for cats.  Some of the animals are unplaceable in homes for various reasons -- often the are terminally ill with HIV, FIP, FLK, CRF.  This woman has taken home many cats so that they can die or perhaps be euthanized after spending their last days in a loving home environment.  Many of them need extensive care, just like a person would at the end of a long illness.  I was so touched by how this woman thought that it was so important that these poor cats should be loved and cared for.  OTOH, I thought that altho it waas a wonderful, compassionate idea, I don't think that I could ever do it.  I have fostered kittens for the Humane Society, and found that very rewarding, but also quite demanding.  You get the joy of having kittens for several weeks to socialize them so they can go to a good home knowing about litter boxes, eating, scratching posts and living with people.  The shelter insures that they are healthy and have whatever medical care is necessary.  You just have to love them.  

Having lost too many cats thru the years to old age and terminal illnesses, I don't think I could establish a loving relationship with an unknown and ailing cat for perhaps months or weeks,   knowing that death would be the inevitable result.  I don't think I have that great a soul and that infinite amount of selfless love.  I do believe that this woman, and others like her, must be amazingly wonderful people to do this.  I admire them greatly and think we should support them however we can.

It saddens me enough to know how many poor, homeless animals are already out there needing love and attention.  The no kill shelters do a tremendous job caring and loving all these unwanted animals, trying to find homes when they can.  The fact that they accept seriously ill animals, and do not immediately euthanize them, is going the second mile in compassion in my book already.  They feed, doctor and love these poor neglected creatures until the end approaches.  I had wondered what happened at that point.  Now I know that some blessed people take them home to make their passing as easy as possible.  I am just overwhelmed at the greatness of heart that these people must have to do this.

LunarPanda LunarPanda
66-70, F
5 Responses Mar 24, 2009

As hard as it is to do, I think it is very important at the end of a beloved pet's life that you put your feelings of loss aside and only consider the animal's needs.Think about their quality of life. As long as they are able to eat and get around OK, as long as they are not in obvious pain (sometimes it's very hard to tell esp w/cats) and seem to enjoy your presence, leave them alone. But when they can't or don't want to eat and you can't tempt them, are having trouble moving and don't seem to enjoy you or anything else very much, tell them that it's all right to let go now and that you are going to stop the discomfort and pain. Tell them how much you love them and how much they have enriched your life. Then take them and stay with them at the vet's until they are gone. Sometimes, after you talk to them, they may choose to go quietly on their own that night. That is a blessing for you both.

What a great post Lunar. I never thought of this need.

Right now, I am just glad that there are some people who are ready and willing to do this type of work. God bless them a thousand fold.<br />
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I try to do my part, but there are SO many creatures out there in need of so much care and love. Thanks for your good words. LP

"I don't think I have that great a soul and that infinite amount of selfless love."<br />
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You'd be surprised at how great a soul you have, and the infinite amount of selfless love you can muster when needed. <br />
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Don't sell yourself short.<br />
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Compassion is a wonderful trait, even when we know the outcome, but do it anyway, just because it's right. for human or animal.

That is so sweet. My baby (my little dog) died at home in his mommie and daddy's arms.