|Photo Lisa Pembleton/ABC News|
The second story came from our hospice partner in California, Hospice of San Luis Obispo. When the story first came to light, a video was posted online of a little terrier named Kirby. Kirby's owner, a hospice patient, spent many hours with him, providing him with lots of attention and affection over his lifetime. He was there beside her when she died and the family took him to the cemetery with them when it was time to say goodbye. Several family members and friends of Kirby's owner were ready to take him into their homes, but there were problems. Kirby kept escaping and seemed to have a talent for getting out of back yards. When he disappeared the last time, he was found by strangers several miles away---at the cemetery by the grave where his owner was buried.
These images remind me of how easy it is for people to forget that dogs bond deeply to us--they understand that we are part of their family and they spend time and energy doing all they can to keep that bond intact. If allowed, they will sleep with us, share meals with us, and protect us from harm. For those of us that offer our love and companionship in return, we are rewarded with unconditional love and affection for as long as we are willing to receive it. Imagine how difficult a decision it must be for a terminally ill owner to part with a pet when they need that love and affection the most- to give up a pet they can no longer feed or take for a walk. Imagine instead the comfort that patient receives when a hospice volunteer steps in to provide the care, allowing the pet to stay with the person they love most. That's why we call it--Pet Peace of Mind.
Click here to see the local news story about Kirby. Hospice of San Luis Obispo reports that he has a new home with an elderly woman who shares her couch with him. Hawkeye has a permanent home with one of Jon's friends.