Thursday, January 31, 2013
"In November, we accepted "the Trickster" into our adoption program, a mousy brown tarantula. We renamed her Annabella. Her original home was very small and smelled awful; she also had a fungal infection on her abdomen. We bought her a new luxury home, did some research and found out she needed a heat source and was a native of South America. Believe it or not, we received twenty calls from adoptive homes interested in Annabella! She went to a home in Colorado Springs where she is warm, happy and clean. She is not aggressive and spends most of her time fixing up her new home and eating crickets. Two weeks ago she molted, an exciting event for her new family. She is now five inches long. She will be visiting some elementary schools to educate kids about spiders."
This story also comes from Paula-- "A situation resulted in a request for us to find five homes for five pets in five days. The animal family consisted of three dogs, one kitten and a ferret with no hair. Two of the dogs were adopted by a nurse in Pueblo, but the Pug, Zena the Warrior Princess, was a different story. She was twelve years old and had pneumonia. Our Consulting Veterinarian, Dr. Sadie Maybach, examined her and started her on antibiotics. Poor Zena had cataracts and a partially collapsed trachea, too, so we were skeptical about finding her a home. One of our nurses in Canon City adopted her and gave her the treatment she needed--now she is full of energy and part of the family. The bald ferret was adopted by Misty, our hospice volunteer, and treated for her condition. The rehab center in Denver examined the ferret and assured Misty that with the correct medication, she will completely recover and have a full life with her new family. Last, but not least, the kitten was adopted by a home in Canon City. Gizmo loves sitting on his kitty tower and watching the birds outside."
And from our hospice partner in Texas, Hospice Midland, PPOM Coordinator Susie Mauldin, comes this story--
"I was alerted to the need of a new patient with her three cats. A volunteer and I went to visit the patient on a Friday afternoon. The patient introduced us to the cats and said that she wanted them placed in new homes. She had been paying someone to come over daily to feed them and change the litter boxes and this was becoming a financial burden. We told her we would be glad to bring volunteers to help her stay with her beloved pets as long as possible. Once we got back to the office, I contacted our PPOM volunteers and made arrangements for the first volunteer to be there Monday morning at 8 am, as per the patient's wishes. On Monday, the volunteer came and helped care for the cats as arranged, but on Tuesday morning she couldn't get an answer at the patient's door. The hospice nurse was already on her way and volunteered to help with the lock box on the door. Much to their surprise, the patient had passed away during the night. Once her caregiver arrived, we discovered that the patient had left her entire estate to a small shelter in a distant town to care for her cats. The shelter arrived within hours of her death to pick up the cats. The last surprise was the biggest one for me, however. The patient hadn't mentioned that she had a large pond in the back yard with over 100 exotic fish! Well, we put the word out to the community and people from all over came to take the fish in containers to new ponds. Best we can tell, all of the fish were saved, too."
Sunday, December 30, 2012
"Last week, our patient Curtis was in the process of moving his trailer to another trailer park. Since I am a volunteer for Hospice Austin's Pet Peace of Mind program, I drove over to the trailer park a week earlier to deliver a cat carrier to transport Curtis's beloved cat, Stevie, to the new location. On moving day, another Hospice Austin volunteer had arrived with his truck to tow the trailer and take Curtis and Stevie to their new home. The move was going smoothly until Stevie Cat decided that he'd really prefer not to be taken in the plastic cat carrier. He put up a pretty big struggle and managed to bust out of the carrier and bolt off through the parked trailers. They tried to find him, but because the trailer was already hooked up they had no choice but to give up after a while and continue to the new park.
The next day, the news was relayed to the Pet Peace of Mind Coordinator who immediately contacted me to see if I would be willing to help search for Stevie. Well, within two minutes of receiving the email, I was in the car with my 15 year old son, who is always looking for a driving opportunity. Since I knew where Curtis's trailer had been parked, I started there. We interviewed neighbors and scoured the area. No Stevie. I had a feeling the cat was somewhere close, but too scared to come out. Before he lived with Curtis, his previous owners had declawed him, so he was unprepared for the outside world. But based on my own experience, I had a hunch that Stevie would respond to Curtis's voice if he were around the area.
The next morning, I picked Curtis up from the new trailer park and we went back to search, this time with missing-cat posters, tacks and tape. For over an hour, we walked every square inch of that trailer park, to no avail. It was not looking good. Every once in a while, Curtis would stop and close his eyes and take a few long deep breaths. I could see that he was making an effort to calm himself down. It suddenly struck me that it might not be a good idea to walk around in the heat with a stressed out man who had already had two heart attacks and major heart surgery, but it was also becoming clear that this man was not going to stop looking. My son and I went to the adjacent apartment complex to put up some of our lost-cat posters while Curtis waited at the car near his old trailer parking spot. Suddenly, Curtis heard a muffled meow under the porch deck of his former neighbor. After Curtis sat still and talked to the cat for about 10 minutes, a small black head appeared in a hole under the deck. Stevie! Those big green eyes were such a beautiful sight! It took another few minutes to coax him out a few more inches so Curtis could grab him and hug him tightly. I was waiting with a much stronger carrier out of sight. With all four of our hands, we managed to insert an unhappy Stevie into the carrier. Mission Accomplished!
With Stevie safely in the crate, Curtis just stood there and then opened his arms to give me a big crushing bear hug--that was wonderful. We were both ready to cry--we were so relieved and happy to have Stevie back. I had only met the cat five minutes earlier, but I knew that if we had not found him I would have been driving over to that park every single day for weeks to keep looking. We drove back to the new park and installed Stevie in his old home where he immediately began weaving in and out of our legs and purring like a lawnmower. We celebrated their reunion with a can of tuna fish. It was a good day, and I went home on a "cat high" that lasted all weekend long.
I am so grateful for the Pet Peace of Mind program. Without this resource, Curtis would be heartbroken and lonely (as if having to move his house and being on hospice were not stressful enough) and Stevie would be, well, never having tuna fish again. There are a lot of us animal lovers who volunteer at Hospice Austin, but without this special program we would not get connected to people like Curtis who need us to help them with their pet problems. And since we all need to be needed, everyone wins."
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
"Generally, I am a positive person, but there are times that it is hard to be. I received a referral for a placement for a cat that I didn't think I had any chance of placing at all. The cat, Bruiser, was twelve years old, had never been around dogs or children, didn't like people, was known to bite and had its front claws removed for safety. The cat's owner, a home hospice patient, was a sweet 95 year old lady who loved him very much. After talking to her about him, I realized that Bruiser had a history of abuse and that he was only aggressive when cornered. He didn't come out while I was there visiting, but the patient shared some photos with me. I took down all the information I needed and assured her that I would do my best to find a home for her cat. A few days later, I received a volunteer request for the same patient. She wanted to have her hair done, so I contacted one of our beautician volunteers to fulfill the request. Later that day, the beautician came by my office and asked about Bruiser. It seems she and Bruiser had bonded. He came out of hiding while she worked with the patient's hair and seemed to become enamored with her. I made a call to the patient to confirm and we talked about Bruiser's future. The patient was thrilled to know that this woman would become Bruiser's new owner. The patient died three weeks later and Bruiser made a smooth transition to his new home."
It's true that not all pets find homes this easily, but our PPOM Coordinators do an amazing job with pet placement. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have taken a patient's pet into their home. For some patients, there is no better gift you can give them than the peace of mind they have from knowing their pet has a forever home.
Friday, August 31, 2012
|Buffy and his owner|
"When we began our program in January 2010, I wanted to provide pictures of some of our patients with their pets to help tell the story of their importance of the Pet Peace of Mind Program to our community. I had asked our social workers if they had any recommendations of a family with pets that would allow me to take pictures and needed our services. I was quickly given a name of a patient and his wife. They lived on the bottom floor of their son's home. The house was near Pine Mountain, Georgia on the side of
a steep hill in the woods. They have a cat named Buffy. By the way, 'Buffy is a boy', I was quickly told. I took several pictures and visited with the family. I told them all about the Pet Peace of Mind Program. it turned out that Buffy needed to be neutered and was due for his yearly vaccinations. I arranged for a volunteer to pick up Buffy a few days later. Everything went well and the family was pleased Columbus Hospice could provide these services to them at no charge.
Several months later, I received an urgent call from the family. Buffy had been attacked by another animal. He had a gash on his side and was very lethargic. The family was in a difficult situation financially, as the patient's son had recently lost his job. Even their home was for sale. Given their situation, they couldn't afford to take Buffy to the veterinarian not knowing what the final cost would be. Our patient was very distraught and feared Buffy would have to be euthanized. Thanks to the Pet Peace of Mind Program we were able to take Buffy to the veterinarian and not only save his life, but give him the ongoing care he needed to get well. Our patient had told us that Buffy was an important part of his life. He had a sense of comfort watching him lie in the chair next to him purring. The simple companionship of his cat made a difference in his quality of life.
As you can see from the picture, Buffy returned from his adventure and promptly settled in, right back where he belongs...in his loving home."
Imagine the guilt and grief this patient would have experienced if they had put their beloved cat to sleep without knowing there was help available through Pet Peace of Mind. What if Buffy had died from his injuries because they couldn't afford to take him to a veterinarian? The last thing a terminally ill person needs is more grief. Thanks to Terri and Pet Peace of Mind at Columbus Hospice, the patient can continue to enjoy his beloved cat.