MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Among the tens of thousands of animals taken in every year, some of them turn out not needing a new home for very long.
That’s why Anne Ahiers from the Animal Humane Society came up with the idea of a hospice program.
“During part of their normal … veterinary exam, we discover an animal while … usually appearing healthy, is actually at the end of their life,” Ahiers said.
She says it takes a special kind of person to take in a pet they’ll likely fall in love with, near the end of its life.
“It’s emotionally challenging to have that end-of-life decision, but it’s very meaningful as well to kind of be able to be there at the end of that animal’s life and to take that on,” Ahiers said.
She says while a hospice pet may require more medical care and a quiet household, the most important need is just love for their remaining days.
A 10-year-old cat named Tigs is just one of their hospice pets currently up for adoption after discovering he has kidney failure. Tigs is very sweet, and he’s looking for a loving home to spend the rest of his life.
The program has already been surprisingly well received. Stephanie Means came to the Animal Humane Society last January to look at a dog, but she saw Princess first.
“So I read her little synopsis on the front and, you know, it said, ‘My name is Princess. I’m shy, I’m affectionate and I’m part of the hospice program,'” Means said. “And of course that caught my eye right away.”
Princess had cancer, and with a soft spot in her heart, Means brought her home and into her family.
Sadly, Princess only made it six weeks — but Means has no regrets.
“I’m guilty of waking up at like 5 in the morning to make her scrambled eggs when she would no longer eat her dog food. I wouldn’t do it for my fiancé, but I’d do it for my dog, you know!” Means said. “But she was really great. We had a wonderful, wonderful time, albeit short, with her.”
So far, 19 hospice pets including terminally ill dogs, cats and even guinea pigs have been adopted.
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