Home hospice helps families through pet's final days

Editor's note: From our October Pet Package

It's been said that all dogs go to heaven - and probably cats, too. But, as Peg Beehan knows, that doesn't necessarily make it easier to see a furry family friend through its final days.

Beehan, a licensed clinical social worker, runs Buttercup's Pet Hospice along with veterinarian Anne Stanland. Together, the duo strives to ease the pain associated with seeing a pet through its final days. They offer a two-pronged approach to in-home pet hospice care.

"It's based on the human hospice principal that a pet's last days are a difficult time for the pet and the guardians," Beehan said. 

Beehan has been counseling clients for thirty years in grieving losses of all kinds, she said. After facing her own life-threatening illness years ago, she became a strong advocate for choice and compassion at the end of every life. She developed an empathy for those with animal companions after losing three pets of her own. 

"We have such emotional ties to our pets, that's where my services can really ease that suffering for the pet and the human," Beehan said.

She and Stanland handle each client on a case-by-case basis, realizing that everyone has unique ties and memories with their beloved pet, she said. They visit clients at home so that guardians can avoid repeated trips to the veterinarian or an emotionally draining drive to have a dying pet euthanized.

Stanland provides pain management to ailing pets and helps caregivers become confident in caring for their pet at home. Beehan's focus is on the person as she see's distraught pet owners through the emotionally challenging decisions that must be made in the last days of the process.

Walking the last mile with a pet is an emotional challenge. Beehan and Stanland hope to ease that pain by offering presence and support.

"We help them through the entire process and the decisions they make, and the timing of the decisions," Beehan said. "We help them let go and to deal with the grief afterword. They often feel that having professional assistance a phone call away during this time is invaluable."

Visit buttercupspethospice.com for more information.


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