While she was still conscious, she wanted to say good-bye to Suzie, a basset-mix who was her favorite of her and Dad's two dogs. I remember taking Suzie for her first-ever elevator ride, her claws clicking on the tile corridor floor, and hoisting her up to the hospital bed so that Catharine could touch her.
Walking around a corner on that same floor, I came upon a bulletin board filled with photos of patients' pets who needed homes.
I had not thought about the problem of patients' pets until confronted with it in my own family. Fortunately, I could give a home to Suzie, and my sister took the Jack Russell terrier—he hates cats, and M. and I had two cats at the time. (Aside from that, he is a fine little dog.)
The Banfield Charitable Trust of Portland, Ore., funds programs to help out-patient hospice patients keep their pets at home, a related issue:
Unfortunately, many people in hospice care are also physically or financially unable to care for their Pets. Simple tasks like feeding, walking, grooming, or a trip to the veterinarian are difficult, if not impossible. Pet Peace of Mind allows hospice patients to complete their end-of-life journey with the comfort and companionship of their Pet, without worrying about their Pet's current or future needs.
They have been appealing to dog-bloggers to help drum up votes that will help them win a $250,000 grant from Pepsi. It's one of those online-voting contest where you can vote as often as you like.
You can go directly to the "Help Hospice Patients Keep Their Pets" page, but the site wants to you register or, if you use Facebook, to log-in via Facebook. (The latter did not work for me; I kept getting error messages.)