The animals in our lives give us so much joy and love throughout their lives; for many of us they truly are members of the family. If you are one of those kinds of people, then this site is for you!
Many ways of support have been thought up by ingenious animal guardians who have chosen to continue to care for their disabled or aging animal loved-one as chronic health challenges developed, when the only other option offered was euthanasia. Yet even for the animals lucky enough to just age gracefully, simply slow down a bit more over time without any major health challenges, there will come the time when it is clear that life time is running out. What to do now?
Whether we read about it or have already chosen the option before, we are all familiar with and grateful for the availability of euthanasia to end an animal’s life. Many however are not, or not as familiar with another option, which in many circumstances can allow an animal to live out its life in full, and die peacefully in its own time.
It is rare that the wonderful wish for an animal to die in its sleep is fulfilled; more often it requires very special and fairly intense care to ensure that an animal remains comfortable throughout the dying process. This special care is called hospice, and those who have had a human loved one benefit from this type of care, have personal experience of its tremendous value.
In some circumstances, and even to end hospice care, it may be best to choose euthanasia, but in the majority of cases, with skilled comfort care it will not be necessary.
Giving care to a dying loved one, whether human or animal, is a deeply touching and often physically as well as an emotionally taxing endeavor. It may not be for everyone, but those who elect it for their animal, despite inner trepidation, will often choose it over and over again as the occasion arises.
What makes ALL the difference in this profound journey is to have the support of people who have gone through it before so that you don’t have to do it alone.
This is what GRACE is about. We are here to support you in your journey. We have been there, many times, and we are eager to share how it can be done.
Each of the GRACE founders do this work for our own organizations and in our own ways, which you can explore in our bios. Our vision is for GRACE to develop into an independent service offering public resources dedicated to what we call “true hospice” for companion animals.
We sometimes add the word “true” to hospice as unfortunately, the word “hospice” in animal care still today is widely used by professionals for care that would be more accurately called “palliative care until euthanasia”. We welcome all efforts to enable an animal to live out more of its life in comfort and palliative care until euthanasia becomes the right next step. But, we also know that, for those seeking to give “true” hospice for their animal this confusion of terms can make it almost impossible to find the support that may help them to achieve their desired goal of having their animal pass peacefully without “having to play god”.
We understand people choose euthanasia for loving reasons; each of us has done it before. AND we want everyone to know that, just as lovingly, there is another option most of the time! With skilled care, dying does not need to be avoided due to our fear and unfamiliarity, and our choices no longer need to be fueled by the fear of suffering. Those who can provide the proper care to their animal throughout its last weeks, days and hours will discover why those who have done it before will full heartedly do it again.
Children too can have an amazing capacity to participate in the care of their beloved animal, as the photos on this site bear witness. Their natural love for the animal allows them to learn early on that when one gets old, one often needs kind help from others.
Just as compellingly, animals can teach the possibility of channeling the love we feel into the care that we give, until this mysterious process we call dying (that will happen to all of us) is completed in peace and calm.
It can be done.