Hospice facility helps keep pets and patients together

The bond between pets and their owners is significant, but perhaps even more so when the owner is facing an advanced illness.

Recognizing the benefits of keeping hospice patients and their pets together, Regional Hospice and Homecare of Danbury is now the only hospice in Connecticut to offer the Pet Peace of Mind program to help care for hospice patients’ pets and keep patients and pets together.

From walking and brushing to food and grooming, Regional Hospice Pet Peace of Mind volunteers visit patients and their pets and provide the needed pet support.

In addition, a consulting veterinarian will assess an animal should it need medical care, can help negotiate discounted rates for pet care with local veterinarians and, when possible, provide that care free of charge. Additionally, placement assistance is provided for pets that may require it.

The program is supported by the Banfield Charitable Trust and other outside funding.

'Pets are part of the family'

“Hospice patients should have the opportunity to stay with their beloved pets during a time of critical illness but shouldn’t have to worry about caring for them,” said Regional Hospice President and CEO Cynthia E. Roy.

The program got off the ground through the effort of several Regional Hospice volunteers, including dog-lover Vava Antar Pragya.

“People who own pets, to them, their presence is very important,” Pragya said. “Pets are a part of the family. People will be happier longer with their pets.”

Learn more about the Pet Peace of Mind program by contacting Mary Beth Hickey, Regional Hospice volunteer manager, at www.mhickey@regionalhospicect.org or call 203-702-7415.