Hospice of Jefferson County offers patients peace of mind for their pets

wwny Hospice of Jefferson County offers patients peace of mind for their pets

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - When a family member or loved one goes into hospice care, making arrangements can be a lot to handle and that includes pet care.

Hospice of Jefferson County has a "Pet Peace of Mind" program to help patients with the care of their pet at a time when it's difficult to provide for them.

"If people can't afford to take their animal to the vet, or even things as basic as food for the animal, we want to make sure, certainly, that while we are there to care for the patient, we want to encompass everything and be there for the pet as well," said Nancy Morrow, director of volunteers.

Pet Peace of Mind is a national program. Hospice received a small grant and partnered with the SPCA to provide for the patients who need it.

"The program will take care of certain things like vet bills. I recall one where the cat needed to be spayed and they took care of that for them. So this program is pretty amazing for what it can do for people and hospice patients and their pets," said Shawn Smiley, hospice registered nurse.

As part of the program, patients also receive frequent visits from volunteers with their therapy dogs to help make their day better.

"It's been a great journey for us; we love the thought of being able to just help every patient have the best day that they possibly can," said Tom Deuson, volunteer.

As part of the Pet Peace of Mind program, therapy dogs like not only visit the patients in hospice, but will also go to their homes.

"So many times people have said things like, it's made such a difference," said Deuson.

For more information on the Pet Peace of Mind program, contact hospice at 315-788-7323.

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