More than just an animal

Puppy 6-2-09

My home is affectionately nicknamed “The Van Scoy Zoo”.  At one time, I had, under one roof, two cats, a dog, two turtles, thirteen fish, a newborn baby and a husband.  What can I say?  I’m an animal lover, although with constant litter changes and late night dog walks I sometimes have to remind myself of this fact.

I am also an end-of-life advocate and practicing ICU doctor.  I’ve told my husband that if I become ill and my life nears an end, that I would want an animal, preferably my own pet, with me when I die.  In the hospital, out of the hospital, it doesn’t matter.  I want an animal. Anyone who loves their pet can probably understand this.

I learned of a group called Pet Peace of Mind, whose mission is to keep hospice patients and their pets together as long as possible, even through death.  The group also helps find placement for the pets after a patient passes away.  For an animal lover, this work is profoundly important.

Similarly, I recently read this article from the Health AGEnda blog, a story written by Chandelle Martel called “Man’s Best Friend”.  The essay won 3rd place in the John A Hartford Foundation’s Heroes of Geriatric Care Story Contest.  It details the relationship between Ms. Martel’s patient, Arthur and his 9 lb Yorkie, and the effect their separation had upon his illness, and the joy of their reunion.

Return to

Purchase Last Wish: Stories to Inspire a Peaceful Passing here


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