We visit hospice patients, staff and visitors all the time. And we really like it, too. But did you know there is hospice for dogs too? Sam here. Last weekend, Mom and I went to the annual anniversary picnic of our photographer friend, Ariane at DelaFoto Studios. You may remember her, right? She’s the one that makes me look soooo good here and here. Each year, Ariane hosts an anniversary picnic for her clients and hosts a rescue group.
This year one of the rescue groups that participated was Cayleb’s Kindred Senior Dog Rescue (“CKSDR”). We were able to meet with the Executive Director, Sophiane Nacer and Rebecca Shattuck, Behavior Specialist. These two amazing women work tirelessly to provide foster, forever, and sanctuary homes for senior dogs in need. This small rescue accepts adoptable, terminal, and special needs dogs over the age of eight and firmly believe that no dog is too old or too “un-adoptable.” Sophiane introduced us to little Annie, a sweet, albeit slow moving 16 year-old Pomeranian who was quite the life of the party. She entertained everyone with her always hanging-out tongue and tiny arthritic steps around the picnic area. Don’t you just want to put her in your pocket?! Little Annie attends vet classes with Sophiane and goes with her everywhere and is one of several grey muzzles currently with CKSDR. While Annie has only 3 teeth left, that ‘minor’ fact doesn’t seem to keep her from filching Cheerios and giving loads of kisses. Even though she has many physical ailments including kidney and heart failure, a collapsed trachea, severe arthritis, and difficulty hearing/seeing, she still manages to enjoy life to the fullest. According to the website, Annie is “a little dog with a big heart (both figuratively and literally), and an even bigger personality. She continues to bring us joy each and every day that she’s been with us-now going on three years.”
We were so impressed with their program where they provide a sanctuary home for senior dogs so they can live out the rest of their lives in a home environment. It’s basically a hospice center for canines. While it’s been said all dogs may go to heaven, on occasion some of them go to hospice first.
How does it work? Volunteers open their homes to terminally ill or otherwise un-adoptable senior dogs, giving them a place to live out their lives however long they have left, and then they can pass away peacefully in a home environment rather than in a shelter. Even thought it’s a very tough part of senior dog rescue, it is also the most rewarding knowing you made the end of their lives just a little bit better.
CKSDR provides all medical expenses with arranged vet visits. Basic supplies such as leashes, collars, ID tags, blankets, crates can be provided if needed and food when donated. Behavioral training is also provided free to the pets. Volunteers are expected to care for the pet for the rest of its life. Many of the terminal dogs may only live a few weeks, some rebound in a loving home environment when expectations are exceeded. But when the time comes for the dog to cross over the Rainbow Bridge, CKSDR provides assistance through that process for both the volunteer and the dog.
Since mom and I work at our local hospice, we know how tough it can be, and how wonderful the staff caters to patients and their families. CKSDR does the same thing for these dogs. How cool is that?!
Do you have a canine hospice in your vicinity? What are your thoughts on canine hospice?
Live, love, bark! <3