Pet Peace of Mind
Many people dealing with serious illness worry more about their family than their own care. And, for many, their constant companion is a pet. What happens if you’re too weak to walk the dog or change the cat litter?
NorthCare joined Kansas City Hospice this year in offering Pet Peace of Mind. A grant has helped purchase pet-related items and services, and many willing volunteers are trained to offer assistance. Pet Peace of Mind volunteers help with the things that pets need to make staying in their homes possible. They walk dogs, take pets to the vet or groomer, change cat litter, make sure there’s plenty of food and check to make sure everything is going well. PPOM has funds to pay for care when necessary and works with area vets and groomers to find discounted fees.
One client who can no longer leave home independently has two service dogs, one retired, who need frequent walking. The 12-year old service dog cannot keep pace with the younger dog, so PPOM volunteer Joyce has walked each dog separately twice a week for almost a year.
PPOM works with families to make sure there is a plan for finding new homes if needed. But sometimes plans go awry. This Fall, volunteers helped care for an older gentleman’s four cats. He was very concerned that his poor health meant that his kitties were not getting enough attention. PPOM found purr-fect homes for Sadie and her three adult kittens. The three siblings went to their new home and settled in happily before Christmas. Sadie had a place, too, where she went when her owner died. But, Sadie and the resident cat did not get along. She had to go back home to an empty house. PPOM was able to work with Kitty Cat Connection to get Sadie into foster care, where she will be loved until her furever home is found.
PPOM encourages people to plan ahead, but sometimes it’s just not possible. “Jane” lived alone with her two beloved dogs. With no family in the area, she made a happy family with “the girls.” When she needed surgery, Jane arranged boarding and told the girls she would be back in a week. The surgery did not go as expected and Jane’s condition was far worse than anyone knew. Instead of going home, she went to NorthCare Hospice House. In a panic, she focused not on her care, but on what would happen to the girls. Frantic messages came to the Pet Peace of Mind team from every caregiver who interacted with Jane. Volunteers got busy and found a foster home for the girls and picked them up from the vet, who had kindly kept them at no charge. They made plans to find a new home and a volunteer went to see Jane. She told Jane about the nice big yard and promised to bring photos. She promised the girls would have a wonderful happy life. Jane was thrilled and found the peace of mind that had eluded her for days. She went to sleep, comforted by the knowledge that her girls were safe. She passed quietly in her sleep that night.
Pet Peace of Mind is staffed by volunteers and funded by donations. To help, call (816) 363-2600.
Update: Sadie has gone from a wonderful foster home to a furever home where she is cherished.