Mourning Elephant Mother Carries Dead Calf in Weeks-Long Ritual

By Rich Co

According to a LiveScience feature, asian mourning elephant mothers, much like their African counterparts, perform rituals for their dead calf.

New research shows that Asian mourning elephant mothers, similar to their African counterparts, mourn their deceased by carrying the dead calf in their trunks for days or sometimes weeks.

Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and conservation biology institute, along with Nachiketha Sharma of the Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, explained that Asian elephants (Eliphaz Maximus) are social creatures that exhibit emotional responses to the loss of one of their conspecifics.

Pokharel and Sharma, co-authors of the study, pointed out that understanding how elephants react to death could have far-reaching implications for their conservation.

The two researchers observed that people who see an elephant react to a dead relative develop some sense of kinship, compassion, and empathy toward that species.

They added that anything that directly connects people could pave the way for coexistence in elephant ranging countries.

African Elephants and Asian Elephants

The researchers pointed out that African bush elephants (Loxodonta Africana) have been observed to react emotionally when a member of the herd dies.

The elephants’ reactions include approaching the corpse and touching it with their drunkards, kicking at the carcass, and standing nearby as if standing guard.

However, Asian elephants live in forested habitats, the researchers point out, which makes it more difficult to observe the animal.

Brian Aucone, senior vice president for biological sciences at the Denver Zoo, pointed out that Asian elephants can be up to 100 feet away from the observer and the observer still can not see the elephants because the forest is so dense. Aucone is not involved in the study.

Studying Videos

The two researchers, along with Raman Sukumar, a co-author, decided to conduct the observation using YouTube, a video platform. In their search for keywords related to Asian elephants and death, the team found 39 videos of 24 instances between 2010 and 2021 in which Asian elephants reacted to the loss of a herd member.

The search found only 4% for semi-captive elephants, i.e., animals working in the timber industry or tourist parks in Asia. 16% are captive elephants and the rest, 80%, of the videos show wild elephants.

The research team reports that some of the most noticeable behaviors in the videos are when a calf dies. In five of the 12 videos, an adult female is seen carrying the calf. Judging by the condition of the corpse, the mother elephant had been carrying the dead calf for days or weeks.

Other common elephant reactions seen in the videos include restlessness or alertness when elephants are near the corpse.

The elephants also show exploratory movements, such as approaching or examining the body, or touching and smelling it. Aucone pointed out that elephants communicate through their sense of smell, so it is not surprising that the elephant sniffs the corpse.

Aucone also pointed out that this is similar to cases where the zoo has to euthanize older elephants due to illness or infirmity. The staff gives the herd a chance to say goodbye to their fallen member. The survivors often sniffed the deceased elephant or put their trunks to its mouth, which is a social behavior among elephants.

Complete Article HERE!

Life after living

— pet-loss professionals help people work through their grief

By Tracey Tong

When her beloved golden retriever Shelle died of kidney disease, Sharon Van Noort didn’t get to make the final arrangements. “I wasn’t told where she went, and what was done with her body,” she says – just that she’d be taken care of. “Back then, it wasn’t acknowledged that families needed care too.” Without closure, Van Noort continues to grieve her companion – 33 years later.

“Taking the time needed to say goodbye, and having a veterinarian who truly understands the importance of the cherished pet, make a huge difference in moving forward through the grieving process,” says Faith Banks, a certified hospice and palliative-care veterinarian and pet-loss professional in the West End. “If grief is not processed and worked through, it sits and waits for the next opportunity to strike.”

Through the experiences of other pet owners, Van Noort found a way to right a wrong. Six years ago, Helen Hobbs, co-founder of the pet funeral service Pets at Peace Toronto, licensed her business and Van Noort opened Pets at Peace North in Orillia.

Faith Banks and Faithful Pet Memorial offer nose prints of deceased pets, as well as teeth, fur, paw prints and bags of ashes

“Making funeral arrangements can give closure, which is so important,” says Van Noort, who has 25 years’ experience as a respite provider in the children’s mental health field. Like Hobbs and Banks, Van Noort looks after bereaved families as much as she cares for their pets.

Banks, who founded Midtown Mobile Veterinary Hospice Services in 2012, heads an all-female team of 20 veterinarians, hospice-care coordinators and aftercare providers. She opened Faithful Pet Memorial, a division of MMVHS, in February.

Faithful Pet Memorial is the first Toronto facility to offer pet aquamation, a water-based cremation process that, Banks says, has become “increasingly popular as concern for the environment grows.” Compared to flame-based cremation, aquamation uses 90 percent less energy, leaves one-tenth the carbon footprint and does not produce fossil fuels, greenhouse gases or mercury.

Faith Banks and Faithful Pet Memorial offer nose prints of deceased pets, as well as teeth, fur, paw prints and bags of ashes.

From their respective locations, Hobbs and Van Noort have provided aftercare services for a variety of pets – dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, fish, birds, even domesticated farm animals – some species of which are not accommodated at other companies. As part of their jobs, they see a lot of grieving families. “Clients have disclosed to me that the death of their pet has affected them emotionally more than the passing of an extended family member,” says Van Noort.

Banks has encountered similar expressions. “Many people,” she says, “will tell me their relationship with their pet is purer, far less complicated and much more fulfilling than with certain family members. For some, it is akin to losing a child.”

Faith Banks and Faithful Pet Memorial offer nose prints of deceased pets, as well as teeth, fur, paw prints and bags of ashes.

The pet-loss experience is nearly universal, says Van Noort, and most people “have a story to share.” And she is happy to listen. “I encourage them to tell me about their pet and show me photos. Even if I had not cared for their pet, they can call me anytime to have a chat. There is a staff member at a local veterinary clinic who will often call me on behalf of a client who is having difficulty processing their pet’s death or impending death. If I am able to help, I feel honoured to be of assistance.”

Van Noort also gets referrals from past clients and friends. Most times, she hears from them after the pets have already died, but more owners are pre-planning. “They know their pet is elderly or very ill,” she says, “and they want to know ahead of time what their options are.”

Faith Banks and Faithful Pet Memorial offer nose prints of deceased pets, as well as teeth, fur, paw prints and bags of ashes.

As with any type of aftercare service, each day at Pets at Peace is different. Van Noort offers numerous options: preparation for burial at a pet cemetery of their choice, where a marker can be erected; or individual or communal cremation. Pet parents can also request to have ashes returned in an urn or a less traditional product, such as a pewter keychain urn, or in ash-infused glass jewelry. Even if a family chooses communal cremation, they can still have a clay paw print created. Although she is careful not to make any suggestions, Van Noort says that these memorial items usually become treasured possessions.

Set to retire after 19 years, Hobbs is preparing to close Pets at Peace Toronto at the end of the month. Van Noort, who says she has also reached “retirement age,” has no plans to leave the business: “I can’t think of not doing one of the things that is so rewarding for me and important for pet families.”

Faith Banks and Faithful Pet Memorial offer nose prints of deceased pets, as well as teeth, fur, paw prints and bags of ashes.

The death of her 12-year-old German shepherd/husky mix Spud in 2021 confirmed her dedication to her work. “I provided Spud’s aftercare, grooming his paws, doing ink paw prints and preparing him for transportation to the crematorium,” says Van Noort, who also has a 14-year-old border collie, Rider. “I realized I hadn’t provided him with any different type of care than I would provide to the pets entrusted to me. I wouldn’t want any less for others as I would have for myself.”

Complete Article HERE!

Dogs experience a form of mourning when another dog in the household dies

Research finds behaviour changes in dogs who have lost a canine companion

The research found that 86% of owners said their surviving dogs had shown behavioural changes after the death of another canine in the household.

By

The loss of a loved one can have a profound impact on humans, affecting everything from sleep patterns to appetite. Now researchers say they have found similar behaviour changes in dogs who have lost a canine companion.

While the team say it is not clear if the findings can be described as grief, they say the work potentially indicates an overlooked welfare issue.

Dr Federica Pirrone of the University of Milan, who is one of the study’s authors, said: “Dogs are highly emotional animals who develop very close bonds with the members of the familiar group. This means that they may be highly distressed if one of them dies and efforts should be made to help them cope with this distress.”

Expressions of grief are not unique to humans: great apes, dolphins, elephants and birds are among species that have been observed to take part in rituals around death and appear to mourn.

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, Pirrone and colleagues describe how they analysed the responses of 426 Italian adults who completed a “mourning dog questionnaire” online to investigate how canines experience grief.

All of the participants had experienced the loss of one of their dogs while at least one other dog was still alive, and the questionnaire looked at the behaviour and emotions of the owner and their surviving dogs after the death.

The results reveal that 86% of owners said their surviving dogs had shown behavioural changes after the death of another canine in the household.

Pirrone said: “Overall, dogs were reported to play and eat less, sleep more and seek more for owners’ attention.” She said the results did not appear to be affected by the level of attachment between the owner and their dog or whether they humanised their pets, suggesting the owners were not simply projecting their grief.

The team said the changes did not turn out to be linked to how long the dogs had lived together or whether the surviving dogs had seen the corpse.

The researchers said there were a number of possible explanations for the findings, including that the death may have disrupted shared behaviours for the surviving dogs.

“In support of this hypothesis we found that if dogs used to share food during life, the surviving dog was more likely to reduce her/his level of activities and sleep more after the loss,” the authors wrote.

The results also revealed behavioural changes were stronger for dogs that were reported to have had a friendly relationship with the animal that had died, or who had been their parent or offspring.

“Most likely this means that the surviving dog has lost an attachment figure, who provided safety and security,” said Pirrone.

Human emotions may also play a role: increases in the surviving dogs’ levels of fear and a reduction in food consumption were associated with greater suffering, anger and psychological trauma in the owners in response to the death.

“This means that there might have been some form of emotional contagion or of social transmission of fear, that is common in social species as part of an adaptive coping strategy with potentially dangerous circumstances,” said Pirrone. The team said, however, the finding could also be linked to owners’ perceptions of the surviving dogs’ behaviour or emotions.

Pirrone said the definition of “grief” in dogs, as for young children, was not straightforward.

“Dogs do form emotional bonds, and hence the loss of a companion animal in their household can be expected to cause behavioural changes, like those we recorded in our study, which overlap what we normally interpret as being grief and mourning,” she said. “Of course, based on our results we still cannot tell whether these dogs were responding only to the ‘loss’of an affiliate, or to their ‘death’ per se.”

Prof Samantha Hurn, a social anthropologist at the University of Exeter, said it was important to understand what a dog may experience upon the death of a canine companion, but added the study had limitations, including that owners were not always good at reading dog behaviour, while the use of questionnaires involving scales for such a subjective issue may limit the conclusions that can be drawn.

She said: “In the course of my own research I have experienced many dogs and other animals behaving in very different ways, but ways which nonetheless suggested to me that they were emotionally impacted by the death of a close companion.”

Complete Article HERE!

Loyal dog and veteran pass away within hours of each other

A dog’s loyalty to its owner is unshakeable. Even during the toughest times, they will remain by their human’s side.

By iHeartDogs.com

Gunner, an 11-year-old lab, was an extremely loyal pooch.

He has never left Daniel Hove’s side. Everywhere his human went, he was there. They turned out to be hunting buddies and best friends, too.

When Daniel received his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Gunner was with him.

Even though he was a big dog, he’d go to Daniel and the two would cuddle up together. They’d spend an entire day like that.

“They were best buddies till the end. They were hunting buddies, they went everywhere together,” Daniel’s daughter, Heather Nicoletti, said in an interview Kare 11.

The Air Force veteran and his dog were literally inseparable.

Eventually, though, Gunner fell ill.

This was a bit expected, as the family noticed how incredibly in sync the two were.Daniel’s daughter, Heather, shared that she and her family more or less based their expectations of her dad’s daily health off of his dog.

“My dad was unresponsive, the dog was unresponsive. So once we saw how the dog was doing–he wasn’t moving much anymore, not doing well– we knew, it was coming.”

One day, Gunner grew listless.

His arms began to swell and he fell more ill. At that point, Heather knew that it was time to say goodbye to her dad’s dog.

She called the clinic she used to work at. When she got there, they put her dad’s long-beloved dog to sleep. He was right there beside him as he passed.

Within just an hour and a half, Daniel was gone too.

Knowing what happened to Gunner, the family couldn’t help but feel that the loving veteran would be gone soon as well. They did everything together, after all.

“Gunner could not be without my dad. I think he chose to go with him,” Heather continued.

However, they didn’t expect them to pass away within such a short time of each other. Losing both of them within the span of 90 minutes dealt a heavy blow to the ones that Gunner and Daniel left behind.

The family was devastated.

It’s always so sad to say goodbye to someone close to your heart. For Heather, she took comfort in the fact that her father never really had to say goodbye to his devoted, loving, and loyal dog.

In a sense, his passing couldn’t have gone any better. He wouldn’t be making the trip to the afterlife alone. His best friend was now with him even into eternity.

Now, Daniel and Gunner get to be together forever, pain-free.

In that sense, at least, the family was able to spare them from the pain of saying goodbye to each other.

“I had said I don’t know what’s going to be more traumatic for him. To try to take him away to end–to put him to sleep– to end his suffering, or if you let him live through dad dying. I think either way it’s going to kill him. We knew they were going to go together. We just didn’t know it was going to be hours apart,” -Heather shared.

Complete Article HERE!

Why I Decided To Have A Wake For My Dog

“I hated the idea of saying goodbye to our beloved shelter pup in a sterile exam room — she despised vet visits.”

by

The end was near.

In her final weeks and months, our old dog, Daisy, had trouble with her legs, struggling painfully to stand up or lay down and occasionally getting her front feet tangled. The vet theorized that she had a tumor on her spinal column, but at her age (16 or so) surgery was too dangerous.

The focus turned to comfort care and the looming question of when.

Then Daisy — always a bit of a neat freak — started losing control of her bowels and bladder. Her hip and leg pain seemed to be worsening. Eyesight and hearing were going. It was clear that she was suffering.

I hated the idea of saying goodbye to our beloved shelter pup in a sterile exam room — she despised vet visits. I also didn’t want to leave her body with strangers, albeit kind ones. After seeing our family through 14 years of good and bad times, I felt a duty to honor Daisy by caring for her body myself.

We booked a home euthanasia appointment with a licensed vet. I started poking around the internet for information on postmortem care.

When the day came, the vet was wonderfully calm and kind. Daisy laid on a cherished blanket taken from my late father-in-law’s house. It was a beautiful day, the March sun melting a recent snowfall, birds chattering in the trees.

She passed so quietly. I’d given myself permission to let it all out, so once the vet confirmed she was gone, I held her and wailed.

Then the work began. It was hard. It was scary. It was terribly sad. But I also felt like I did right by our beautiful friend.

If you have an animal companion you’d like to honor with a wake of your own, here are a few tips I can pass along.

Learn About The Euthanasia Process

The basic order of events is basically the same, whether at home or at the vet clinic. The vet administers a sedative that puts the pet into a deep sleep. Once they’re out, another drug is injected that stops the animal’s heart. And that’s it.

It costs more to have the vet make a house call, but it was totally worth it for us. Daisy fell asleep with the taste of steak in her mouth and with my husband and me at her side. We petted her and whispered in her enormous ears the whole time. Her breathing quickened a bit after the fatal drug went in, then it slowed, then it stopped.

Talk It Over With The Family

We have two kids, ages 4 and 8, who’ve never experienced a loved one’s demise. They knew Daisy was old and would probably die soon, so we explained a couple of weeks prior that the visiting vet would speed her transition to prevent further suffering.

From there, I let them decide how — and if — they wanted to participate. My 8-year-old son preferred to stay out of it. My 4-year-old didn’t want to attend the procedure (a relief), but she helped decorate Daisy’s body with flowers afterward, and gently petted and kissed her as we sat with her that afternoon.

Not everybody wants to get this close-up to death, and that is absolutely understandable.

Get Childcare If You Can

I was fortunate my mom and sister were available to help out that day. We didn’t have to worry about what the kids were up to while we said goodbye, and I think having some extra family at home was a comfort for everyone.

If the kids will be around, consider scheduling the euthanasia appointment for later in the day — that way bedtime won’t be too far off and you can (hopefully) have some space to grieve.

It Won’t Be Gross

There’s a misconception that dead bodies are instantly grotesque, all leaking fluids and lolling tongues. Not true. The body still looks like your loved one. Fur is soft. Ears are floppy. The body stays warm for a while.

The only slightly yucky thing that happened: When my husband hoisted Daisy up to move her body, a little pee dribbled out. Nothing we hadn’t seen before.

You Have Time

After your pet passes, there’s no need to rush. Rigor mortis — the phase of death that causes tissues to stiffen —  takes two to three hours to set in. You have that time to hold your dearly departed, cry, snuggle, say a prayer, whatever you want.

Keep Ice On Hand

Ice keeps the body cool, staving off the beginnings of decomposition. We filled an old plastic baby pool with bags of ice, covered that with a tarp, then put a blanket on top for a cozier look. Daisy laid on the blanket, appearing to be in a deep slumber.

It helped that it was cold in the garage, too — warmer temps require replacing ice as it melts.

Plan For Your Needs

Once the novelty of having a dead dog in the garage wore off, our kids were back to their usual snacking requests.

I hadn’t thought much about the, uh, catering, so I was left trying to arrange meals for people between bouts of tears. Have frozen stuff ready to go, get something delivered, whatever works — just make the plan in advance so you’re not trying to create menus while in the throes of new grief.

Go Easy On Yourself

There’s no wrong way to do any of this. If the idea of an at-home dog wake is bizarre to you, that is totally fine. If some parts sound nice, but others don’t? Also fine. The key is to lock into what works for your family and go from there.

Daisy’s home wake felt like the grieving equivalent of ripping off a Band-Aid. I cried more, and harder, in those 24 hours than perhaps I ever had. But it also helped me, on some primitive level, truly accept her loss.

Taking care of her on her last journey took a little of the sting out of it all. She had a good life — and a good death.

Complete Article HERE!

‘We Run Pet Hospice Care For Dying Animals’

Dr. Shea Cox is a vet who helps support pets with hospice and palliative care.

By Dr. Shea Cox

I didn’t grow up with pets but I remember wanting to be a vet since I was 8 years old and working on my stuffed animals as if they were patients. I went into college wanting to be a vet but I failed chemistry three times and ended up going to art school.

In 1991, I moved to LA on a whim. I was broke and looking for a job and ended up working in a nursing home. That led me to nursing school and chemistry started to click. I worked in areas of home hospice and palliative care. That dream never left and I began to think that maybe I could be a vet.

I started taking my prerequisite classes for vet school, and I continued nursing actually to pay my way through vet school. I finally graduated vet school in 2001 and went directly into emergency and critical care.

I spent 13 years working in a veterinary ER​, and during this time, our care evolved and we became a specialty hospital with internal medicine and oncology​. I started to see that during the most critical time in people’s relationship with their pet, when pets were ill or had multiple comorbidities, people would need more time to process complex issues and decisions and they weren’t getting it. We would diagnose their pet with cancer in the ER and people would be left in that state of shock.

I felt like we were failing, and I decided I was going to start offering services strictly focused on hospice and palliative care for pets. But in 2012, when I started offering three hour in-home appointments, people told me that the idea wasn’t financially viable. I said I was going to try. I felt in my heart it was what people and pets needed.

My first hospice patient was a dog named Sunny. Sunny was brought into our veterinary ER with multiple urinary issues by her owner’s fiance, because he was in Colorado at his father’s funeral. I did an exam and discovered it was a tumor that was blocking the urethra so the pet wasn’t able to urinate. It was a situation that is technically one where we would euthanise the animal. But I discovered that Sunny was the pet that had got the owner through his wife’s death. I so clearly remember being in the ER and finding all of this out about the owner and realizing that he could not come back to be with Sunny and say goodbye.

I ended up providing Sunny with an in-dwelling urinary catheter, something which should be in-hospital only. I remember others saying we couldn’t send Sunny home with this catheter, but the alternative was euthanasia, breaking this human/animal bond, not allowing the owner to say goodbye.

Sunny was able to go home and three days later the owner returned and they spent an amazing two weeks together. They managed the catheter and completed their bucket list. Sunny swam in the ocean with her owner and they had a huge party with other dog friends where they ate grilled filet mignon and had these “pupsicle” ice creams. We were able to facilitate a goodbye on the lawn of his house. To be able to create that kind of goodbye for someone, when the alternative would be so different, was life changing for me as a person and a doctor. That is a situation that has lived with me and been my north star since I started this.

For me, hospice and palliative care begins at the time of diagnosis, when there are signs of decline in the pet, because there is so much we can do to improve quality of life and prepare the pet and pet parent. We have had pets in hospice for 18 month to 2 years, so that’s technically palliative care.

Hospice care is done in the pet’s home. We are under the umbrella of the Pearl Pet Hospice but our goal is to be that bridge between the hospital and the home. One of the things I found interesting early on in these 3 hour in-home appointments was that 75 percent of the care people needed help with was non-medical.

Families typically need help planning and goal setting for how they wanted their pet’s end of life to look, help deciding what their bucket list was going to be, whether they wanted a memorial. We discuss what they are struggling with and what their resources are. A lot of the topics are things vets aren’t typically able to address with families because there’s just not the time.

When a family enters their pet into our hospice program, they have an entire team on their side to support them every step of the way. Families work with me, a dedicated nursing team, care coordinators and pet loss support specialists. During our in-home appointment, we educate and empower the family, including in how to recognize signs of decline, how to give medications or injections, and how to monitor progression of their pet’s disease. Following this, the majority of our care continues virtually via telehealth where the family has 7-day a week access to their hospice team for guidance and support until the time of in-home euthanasia. Generally, the pet’s quality of life sky rockets, and the time to euthanasia is generally much farther out than what their pet’s diagnosis would dictate. I’m surprised every day by the difference we can make, and that just makes my heart so full.

Dr. Shea Cox and a Pet Patient
Dr. Shea Cox with Claire, a pet sibling to Sunny, the first animal she helped in hospice care.

The vast majority of my hospice patients are dogs and cats, it is a little more weighted towards dogs, which is surprising since cats don’t generally like to go into hospitals as much. I have had a couple of bird patients. When birds can live for 80 years, people are very bonded to them.

I have helped thousands and thousands of pets in hospice care. I have been doing this close to 10 years and as we have grown as a team, we’ve been able to affect a lot of lives, which is amazing.

Over the past 10 to 15 years I think the human/animal bond has changed dramatically. Millennials are now the largest pet owning population and their pets are their children. When I started this in 2012 in the Bay Area of California, there were four other practices doing something similar. Now I believe there are close to 30. That area may have a unique demographic that supports that but I am seeing this trend across the country.

Pet hospice care is growing pretty rapidly. It has been widely known for around 10 years and in the past five years there has been a large increase of practitioners. The International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) is an organization where in the earlier days there were just a couple of hundred of us and now there are close to 2,000 members.

People often say they wish they had known about this for their last pet, or
sooner, and that’s something I want to erase from people’s thoughts. I want everyone to know this is available. The other thing I hear a lot is people asking me how I can do this every day, because it must be so sad and make me depressed. Oddly it’s just the opposite. I spent 13 years in the ER doing everything I could to save lives and I have never been so gratified as being able to end them well. People are so grateful that you are taking the time with them and being caring during one of the most intimate times in their relationship with their animals. Of course, it is sad and I still get teary at every euthanisia, but I leave with my heart so full that it’s hard to say this is anything but the most amazing career in the world.

Complete Article HERE!

Hospice staff help dying animal lover see her dogs and horse for one last time

Jan Holman, 68, had been away from her beloved pet dogs and horse for six weeks and was missing them all until she received a special visit – facilitated by her hospice

Jan was happy to be reunited with her dogs Monty and Rowley

By Millie Reeves

A terminally ill woman has had the chance to say goodbye to her two dogs and horse thanks to hospice staff.

Jan Holman, 68, was admitted to hospital six weeks ago and is now a patient at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester.

Her quick referral to the hospice meant she hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to her dogs, Monty and Rowley, or Bob, her horse of 10 years.

Due to the pandemic Jan was unable to have any visitors at the hospital, and her husband of 46 years, Dennis, said she found having no visitors or personal contact difficult.

After four weeks, Jan was moved to the hospice to receive end-of-life care.

Knowing Jan was also missing her animals, the hospice arranged for a visit from her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Monty and Rowley, as well as her horse, Bob.

Even though she was unable to get out of bed, Jan was excited to have the chance to see the gang one more time.

Dennis said: “It was just such a relief once Jan was moved from the hospital to the hospice in Chester and we were able to have named visitors who could come and see Jan regularly, however we never imagined that we would be able to include Monty, Rowley and Bob on the visiting list.”

Staff brought in Jan's two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Monty and Rowley
Staff brought in Jan’s two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Monty and Rowley

He continued: “All the staff here have been wonderful. Jan has been so well cared for, nothing is too much trouble even down to the chef coming every day to see what he can tempt Jan to eat.

“Nothing is too much trouble, including arranging for a horse to visit!”

Before her illness Jan, who has lived in Chester all of her life, could be seen dressed as Chester’s Tudor Lady delivering tours of the city where she has been a Blue Badge Tour Guide for 37 years.

Jan said: “I just can’t believe what the staff here at the hospice have done for me. Until a few weeks ago I was still riding Bob every day and he is such an important part of my life, and I have missed him so much.

“I knew that arranging for my dogs to visit was possible as we had a neighbour who was a patient at the hospice a few years ago and we were allowed to bring the dogs to visit her, but I just didn’t expect that they would ever be able to give me the chance to see Bob one more time.”

Horse Bob came to visit through the patio door
Horse Bob came to visit through the patio door

Louise Saville King, deputy ward manager at the hospice, said: “It was obvious when Jan first came to us that she is passionate about her animals and that horses have played a large part in her life for many years.

“The ethos of hospice care is not just about caring for the clinical needs of our patients but also looking after their emotional and spiritual needs as well.

“It’s about making a difference to our patients and their families in whatever way we can.

“We know that sometimes people are scared at the thought of coming to the hospice, but it’s a positive place where people are supported and well cared for.

“The work of the hospice really does make a difference to people’s lives.“

Complete Article HERE!