Hospice and Pets Go Together
Hospice Savannahâ€™s Pet Peace of Mind program
By Christy Smoak, Volunteer Coordinator.
A little over a year ago, we started our Pet Peace of Mind program at Hospice Savannah. We have helped over twenty patients keep and care for their pets at home. One patient that stands out in my mind has three dogs, one she has had for years and two she recently rescued. Lady, a Golden Retriever and Gidget, a terrier mix, had been homeless for a while and were blessed by coming into this patientâ€™s life.
Our program helped these dogs get their shots, nails clipped and checked over. Lady was having pain issues and needed attention as soon as possible. She was trembling, not receptive to touch and not barking. Our lead Pet Peace of Mind volunteer, Chuck Jones, helped the patient by picking up and transporting the dogs to the vetâ€™s office for treatment. Gidget got a clean bill of health and Lady was diagnosed with two large kidney stones that needed removal immediately, and was also heartworm-positive. She received surgery for the stones and treatment for heartworms. Today, Lady is a happy, very loving dog who does not meet a stranger. The patientâ€™s daughter tells us that these dogs have changed her and her motherâ€™s relationship. It has made them closer given her Mom a purpose to live for.
Another patient has a dog named Patches, 13 years-old, who was not eating, had lost an excessive amount of weight, and was just not doing well at all. The patient was unable to drive and had no family support to help. Chuck picked up Patches and took her to Case Veterinary Hospital. Patches had a badly abscessed tooth which made it difficult to eat. Dr. Carla Case-McCorvey treated her with antibiotics. We further helped this patient by supplying canned food weekly to help Patches gain weight and return to her happy, loving self. Patches and the patient have been together for many years.
We also granted a patientâ€™s final wish by re-homing her three dogs to new families. The first dog, Isabelle, was given to a lady who lives alone downtown. Chuck met with her and Isabelle to see how they would fit. Isabelle took to her and never left her side through the whole visit. Upon leaving, the lady not only thanked us for Isabelle but also for caring for her Mother years ago. Isabelle now has a great home and is spoiled rotten! The other two dogs, puppies of Isabelle, also have new homes with young families and are well loved.
Pet Peace of Mind provides so many avenues of help for our patients and for our patientsâ€™ pets. It is a very hands on and rewarding program.
To find out more about volunteering with this program, please call Christy at 912.629.1048. To donate to the program, please visit www.HospiceSavannah.org/PetPeaceofMind