Caring for A Senior Pet – The Last Chapter
Hospice Care for Pets
I have started to write about a very emotional and sensitive topic it seems a 100 times over – senior pet care…. but I have yet to get out the right words, to connect in a “blog” on such a personal level, that you hear me and you understand that I am here for you and your animal companion deeply and intimately in your time of need. Can I capture the essence? I will try. Senior pet care when it comes to hospice, death & dying is not an easy topic to write about, but it’s even more difficult to endure. There is such a need for support for you and the animal going through what I call the “last chapter” of their life. It doesn’t end there though…after…what happens after they are gone? How do you know they’re “OK”, how do you deal with grief, get closure, move on and find comfort among feelings of loss, guilt and excruciating pain from losing a loved animal companion? Or what about when the animal loses their person? They certainly grieve too. This journey is unique to every single being as they go through it and it’s different each time it happens with another loved animal companion. However, those immersed in this last chapter of life all need the same things; support, validation, healing and compassion. And that my friends, is what I do. Let’s see if I can unravel the layers one step at a time and likely one blog at a time.
When I started Animal Intuition, I didn’t foresee how much I’d dealing with senior cats, dogs & horses and certainly not about death and dying. I thought about how fun it was going to be to work with animals all day. That thankfully and purposely I wasn’t a vet that had to deal with euthanasia because of course, I didn’t have the stomach for it. I thought about helping, healing, and supporting. Even having been through losing pets myself, I had no idea there was such a gaping hole surrounding the needs of you and your animal companion during this time. It’s emotional, it can be draining, but it is also one of the most rewarding things I get to do. I have found I have the heart for it and the strength for it; I can be in the moment, feel what’s happening, share the tears and the pain, support everyone and yet, provide peace of mind and comfort along the way. I give myself fully to my patients, supporting you the way you uniquely need and I am truly honored to do so. There are days this the work takes it’s toll, but I accept it and know that I’ll refuel and be ready to help again tomorrow. Because, it’s THAT important.
Like I imagined, many days are fun, funny, heartwarming and fulfilling. But when it comes to the “last chapter”, there’s often another side that is overflowing with tears, uneasiness, sadness, stress and fear. However, I am here to bring peace and comfort to you and make this chapter easier and more enjoyable as it plays out. I embrace my talents and pour on the compassion with full authenticity – it’s in my heart and I’m grateful that I can help others in such a special way. I am often the voice of the animals, sharing their wishes and where they’re at physically, emotionally and mentally. I am the missing link in a time when you want guidance and support and it all comes from love and compassion. It comes from understanding, healing energy and more love.
So, what exactly do I do during this time? Practically speaking, I aid in senior and hospice care through a variety of healing modalities; cat, dog and horse massage, Reiki, acupressure and aromatherapy. I offer consults about which supplements and essentials oils can be supportive for animal companions based on their health and dietary situation. As we near the end, you may ask for animal communication sessions to determine if or when their pet needs help crossing the bridge. Also, you might find it helpful to have a session or two after your pet has passed to help grieve and find closure. Most of the “hands-on” work provides comfort care to the animal to alleviate pain, boost their immune system, and help them rest easier – overall care to support and balance them physically and emotionally. Most people focus on the physical attributes initially, but quickly see how the sessions stimulate the animals mentally and balance them emotionally. It’s a bigger surprise when they see how the sessions bring peace and comfort to themselves.
These are valuable skills and talents and honestly they make so much difference for both the animal AND you, their person. You can see the difference; whether their dog sleeps through the night, or can take a short “W-A-L-K” again, or simply seems more comfortable. Sometimes it’s when the horse joins back with the herd, gets playful again and you can see him relax. Or when your cat jumps up to their favorite perching spot again and regains their appetite. No matter how small or noticeable the change is, I have found it matters as much to you as it does the animal itself.
Looking beyond the healing, of most significance is the compassion, understanding and the peace of mind it all provides. The support, empathy and unconditional love and care I offer to your family during this emotional roller coaster is really what it’s all about. Combine healing skills with a passion for helping others, and I’ve found a true gift I can provide during all phases of senior care for animal companions. Each patient is unique in their needs and desires for care and we walk together in this journey. I’ll guide you through the unknown waters of hospice and eventually losing your loved one, while helping to honor and cherish your relationship.
Though the emotional side of my work and passion stems from many areas, today’s focus on the end of life journey, “the last chapter”, is one of the more endearing and greatly needed areas. It’s a time of reflection, of coming to terms with your pets mortality the best you can, of watching them deteriorate, of embracing every precious moment with them, and of wondering if or when you’ll need to make the most difficult decision on their behalf to help them cross the bridge. It’s daunting and heart wrenching. But, I can tell you that each tear and all your worry is worth it when it comes to caring for your senior pet. Because you love them and you shared a wonderful life together. They are worth it. You are worth it!