Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Loving Care

     In our work, many people ask us why and how we can do this work.  To those who haven't spent much time around death - and in particular good death - this can seem perplexing, especially when we say we truly love what we are doing.

     Hospice work brings people and animals together on a very deep level, beyond the superficial and to the heart of what matters.  Two hospice theorists, Joyce Hitchinson and Joyce Rupp explain it this way:
"...the two most vital moments, defining moments, in the human experience are birth and death.  How a person approaches dying becomes the bulwark on which rests all that affords meaning and integrity for a person."

     Although speaking about people, the same applies to how we approach death with our animals.  Those that chose to come to us for hospice care have already chosen a different path - some with uncertainty, some with trepidation, all with determination to make the dying process better for their animals and a deep commitment to doing what it takes, even without knowing what that may be.

     Our job as hospice caretakers, as Hutchinson so beautifully puts it, is to "accompany each dying [being] to the door that opens to the other side.  [We] walk them home with loving care, quiet joy, tenderness and compassion." 

     It doesn't matter how you view "the other side" - whether it is a heaven, reincarnation, reuniting with a universal spirit or energy, or merely a return to the earth to feed the next cycle of creatures.  Our job is to get you there tenderly, with compassion, without pain, and having accomplished whatever work needs to be done before you depart, while supporting those who love you before, during and after you depart.

     Our job is 100% love - what could be better than that?


  1. RT Have you lost a pet? "In Memorium"

    I have written about the loss of my dog, Buddy. He was a Beagle who ate my shoes and slippers to the point that I bought him his own slippers to eat. When Buddy died my heart was broken. I painted a portrait of Buddy, and very proudly, it hangs today at the Jepson Museum. Friends have asked me to paint portraits of their pets who have passed or been lost or, in the case of my beloved German Shepard, Sheeba, kidnapped. Here are a few of my paintings including Buddy's portrait.

  2. Thank you, Jim for sharing your story and lovely artwork. Art can be so therapeutic both to create and to view. We encourage our clients to do what moves them and to create a keepsake that will speak to their hearts long after their pet has passed.

    Best wishes to you and your family,
    Founder and Director
    New England Pet Hospice