Hospice and Pets

Fourteen years ago was my very first time in a Hospice care facility. With no real knowledge of what hospice care really meant, I had no idea what to expect once I finally got up the nerve to go inside. Once inside, the very first thing I noticed was a very large Golden Retriever walking freely through the halls. Soon after entering my mom’s room, I noticed the dog walking in the room across the hall so I asked my mom’s nurse “Whose dog is wandering around and who does it belong to?” She responded, “Oh what color was it?” I remember thinking is there more than one? She must have sensed what I was thinking and quickly that there are different therapy dogs floating around here at any given time.

Just then, the Retriever made his way across the hall into my mother’s room. About that time, the dog jumped onto my mom’s bed. I didn’t want to overreact, but was concerned about the dog being so close to my mom. The nurse saw the concern on my face and quickly introduced me to Eddie, explaining that he was therapy dog and that he visits the residents and assured me it was a good thing.

That evening, I did a little research of my own and found that there are indeed health benefits to having a dog around. Pets are non-judgmental, and they provide a touch, and a look while having a calming presence about them that can help calm a patient in his or her last days. The next day I noticed when Eddie visited throughout the day that my mom appeared to be at peace. It was almost like she and Eddie had a connection. And though my mom was heavily sedated to be made comfortable, she seem to react each time the dog entered her room and it was very cool and calming to see.

In the end Eddie was right there in the room, as if he knew that the lady he’d met not so long ago was now ready to leave us, and he wanted to be there to offer her any comfort he could in her final hours. After Eddie made sure that my mother made her transition, he made his way over to me to offer me comfort.

Hospice services at Methodist Eldercare will be hosting Hospice 101 on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 7pm at Wesley Glen Retirement Community, 5155 N High St., Columbus, Ohio 43214. Please RSVP to this event by calling Kenya at 614-451-6700 or register online at www.wesleyglen.com/events. If for some reason you are unable to attend, please feel free to contact Kenya George at the number listed above for more information.


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