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This is an incredible story of compassion and teamwork that demonstrates how Columbus Hospice’s Volunteer Services, along with our Pet Peace of Mind program, provides care not only for our patients and their families, but also for the animals they love.
Recently, Columbus Hospice Volunteer Services received a call from a patient’s neighbor. She was looking after the patient’s dog, Pooch, while the patient was in our inpatient Hospice House, and sadly, the patient’s wife/primary caregiver was going through a health crisis of her own and would be hospitalized for an indefinite period of time.
The neighbor was unable to care for Pooch on a long-term basis. A Columbus Hospice staff member met the neighbor at the patient’s home and retrieved the dog, who was elderly and blind, but also gentle, friendly, and curious!
Columbus Hospice staff contacted the nearest veterinary hospital, Smiths Station Animal Hospital, who immediately made space for Pooch. Through our Pet Peace of Mind program, we were able to have Pooch updated on vaccines, bathed, and boarded until it could be determined if either of his owners would return home and be able to care for him. After being assessed by Dr. Namie, Columbus Hospice was notified that Pooch had a urinary tract infection, for which he was provided antibiotics, and because of his age, many of his teeth were in need of extraction.
Once again, we met and it was determined that through our Pet Peace of Mind program, we would be able to provide the oral surgery needed and insure that Pooch was cared for and comfortable. By this time, unfortunately, Pooch’s human dad had passed away in our Hospice House, and his human mom was still hospitalized. Columbus Hospice staff remained in contact with the patient’s wife to offer support, and to assure her that Pooch was safe and cared for, awaiting a reunion with her when she was able to leave the hospital.
In order to keep Pooch from having to stay any longer in the kennel at the vet, a Columbus Hospice volunteer, Tawanna Jamison, offered to pick him up and foster Pooch in her home. Pet Peace of Mind provided her with food and a new kennel. During this time, Pooch’s mom had been taken to a local nursing facility where she could receive rehabilitation.
Columbus Hospice Volunteer Services staff maintained contact with her, and once she adjusted to her new location, Tawanna began to take Pooch to visit his mom. She cried, saying over and over, “God bless you. God bless you. Pooch is all I have left.”
While we may not know the outcome of this story at this time, we know that Pooch’s owner had peace that his dog was safe at the time of his death. We know that Pooch received all the care he needed and continues to receive love and care every day. And, we know that while Pooch’s mom is going through one the most difficult seasons of her life, she is still able to have her loyal companion of 14 years in her life, thanks to a selfless volunteer who simply said, “I just want to be a blessing.”