Woman creates dog “hospice” to give dogs love and dignity in their final moments

8 minutes read

Dogs can make our lives far more enjoyable, more rewarding and just plain more exciting, but for many of us we wish we could avoid the heartbreak and the trauma that come from losing those furry members of our family. Unfortunately, some choose to do just that. Choosing, for one reason or another, to leave their dogs behind while they are on that final journey through the end of their lives.

 

Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice/Facebook

 

Not so for 48-year-old Nicola Harrison, a Nottinghamshire woman who decided to open her own hospice program taking in those poor dogs right on the threshold of that pain.

 

Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice/Facebook

 

Nicola, an avid dog lover, worked in a kennel in her area and was surprised and heartbroken at the many dogs who were left there with no one to care for them or love them. Worse yet, many of these dogs were dying, and they were doing it completely alone. It was a terrible circumstance for which Nicola found the answer, a hospice center.

Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project is a program that Nicola now runs out of her Mansfield home and, similar to the hospice programs used for humans, this program seeks to make the end of life more peaceful and enjoyable for these dogs. Nicola takes in terminally ill dogs who are within 6 months of the end of their lives, and provides them with the care and love that they deserve. It’s perhaps a more wonderful time of life than they’ve had even during their normal lives, because Nicola pulls out all of the stops.

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Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospital/Facebook

 

Where some of these dogs have been used for breeding purposes or as guard dogs, some of them have been well-loved family pets. Even still, they’ve likely never been treated quite this good. After all, dogs in their final days can be afforded a little more freedom on what they do and what they eat than those who are healthy and in the prime of their lives. These dogs are given the best days of their lives, which might just make the loss of their old family a little easier to bare.

Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice

 

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With this program, Nicola’s dogs get to eat ice cream, steak and plenty of other treats they might otherwise have been denied. They get to celebrate their birthday and they get to be showered with love, affection and attention. For Nicola, it’s the perfect way to show them how much they matter in those last days, especially since far too many are abandoned in these final weeks.

 

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Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice

 

The sad truth is that far too many animal owners are incapable of caring for their pets in those final days because the rising costs associated with terminal illness are just too great. The increasing need for care based on those illnesses can also be far too much for them to handle with increased medical needs or support. As a result, these owners are forced to make that difficult choice to give up the care of their pet. Others, make the selfish choice of passing off final care for their pet because the idea of watching them die is too much for them to handle. While it seems easier for the owner, it’s definitely not for the pet.

 

Source: Screencap via BBC

 

While it’s hard enough for a dog to lose their family and their loved ones in normal circumstances, losing them when they are scared, suffering and dying is even harder. Being suddenly completely alone when they once had a loving and caring family is even more of a heartbreak for these dogs because they already don’t understand what’s happening to them. Now they’ve lost the one thing that they really did care about, their family. And being left in a completely unfamiliar environment, where they don’t know anyone and where no one gives them love and affection is even more heartbreaking for all involved.

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Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice

This is one reason that Nicola spends so much time, effort, and yes, money, on each of her dogs. While she can only take on two dogs at a time, Nicola showers each dog in her program with the most enjoyable experiences she can during the time she does have them. Whether she cares for them for only a couple of weeks or a full year, the loss of each dog is still heartbreaking for her. She says that it’s no more or less heartbreaking no matter how long she has with each dog.

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Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice

 

Focusing on that, however, might have made her less inclined to continue the program. What she chooses to focus on instead, however, is the joy that it brings to dogs who would otherwise spend their last days in a kennel, thinking that they are alone and unloved. It’s a tradeoff that she continues to feel is absolutely worth it.

 

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Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice

 

Today, Nicola’s program continues to expand until it’s not only about providing hospice care to dogs in need (though she still does that as well). She’s now also providing assistance to pet owners in the way of support, advice and more for those who are seeking to do the right thing, and support their dogs to the end. Providing for a dog in their final days is the perfect way to thank them for contributing to your life in such a spectacular way and with the help of Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice, many owners are doing what they can to make these final days better for their own dogs.

Nicola seeks to provide more information about not just making those days great for your dog, but also about how to manage all of the medical needs that these dogs need. It’s not just about having fun, after all. Having a terminally ill dog is also about putting in time and effort to keep them in the best possible condition until the end.

 

 

Source: The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice

 

Receiving donations from all over the world makes it a little easier for Nicola to finance her project, which runs approximately $600 per dog, based on the bucket list that she makes for each. As a 501©3 organization, all donations to her program are tax deductible and used to help make yet another dogs stay just a little more comfortable and happy.

Be sure to check them out on Facebook.

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Source: BBC




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