Patient, Lloyd Norman, Volunteer Susan Keele and dog Tucker have all benefitted from our Pet Peace of Mind Program.
With the aid of a grant from the Banfield Charitable Trust and other generous donations, Pet Peace of Mind © (PPOM) at Hospice helps hospice patients care for their pets by providing food and litter, volunteers to help with pet care and grooming, routine medications, vaccinations and routine veterinary visits, boarding or foster care during emergencies, and guidance in finding new homes for pets when the time comes.
For some people pets are their sole source of companionship. The human-animal bond is an important one. Pets provide a significant source of unconditional love and acceptance. They also provide a sense of normalcy during life transitions and provide a sense of responsibility and purpose outside of ourselves.
According to research done by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, patients felt that pets helped them cope with illness and caregivers did not view pet care as an unwelcome burden. In fact, caregivers said that pets helped them feel better when they were sad and provided a comforting sense of routine and normalcy in the household.
Animal companionship can become even more important when a person enrolls in hospice. Hospice Volunteer, Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, describes her experience with a patient and his dog, Tucker. “Their relationship elevates his spirits and enriches his life. Tucker gives him someone who cares that he is alive, someone to get up out of bed for, someone to love and interact with all his waking hours, someone to sleep with, someone who accepts him as he is, and someone he can spoil. What Tucker brings to this man not only enhances his own life, but also facilitates the work of caregivers and eases the stressful concerns of family and friends. I truly believe these last months of his life have been easier, more secure and happier because of Tucker’s presence.” Through Pet Peace of Mind © people like this patient will have the support they need to take good care of their beloved pets – even as their own abilities decline.
The staff and volunteers at Hospice of Humboldt understand how important animal companions can be to patients and family members. Pet Peace of Mind © volunteers honor that bond by helping to care for pets in the home when a patient no longer can.
The Pet Peace of Mind© program needs support. To become a volunteer or make a monetary donation, please contact Dennice Stone, Volunteer Coordinator at 707-267-9813.