Local hospice helps the dying with pets left behind

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Many people give some thought as what they want in their will. Who they’ll leave their home, personal effects or money to.

But what happens to a pet? For some people at the end of stage of life — their furry best friend may be the last face they see before they’re gone. Who will take care of their dog or cat?

A local hospice service has answered that call.

Kellie Mahon wasn’t in the market for a new pet, but after Coco’s owner died while in hospice care a family member approached her with a desperate plea.

“He was really well behaved. He didn’t really bark. He was housebroken. So, I hadn’t seen him and I gave her my phone number,” Mahon said.

As the bereavement specialist at Compassion Care, she deals with impending death every day. 

“I ended up leaving the facility that day and coming back to work with Coco,” Mahon said.

A pet may be the only companion a patient has in their final days. Nurses and caretakers acknowledge the comfort they bring.

I’ll see their cat laying right next to them in the bed,” Mahon said. “I’ll see their dog right next to them in the bed and I think they’ve had them that long it just brings them some comfort.” 

She isn’t the first Compassion Care employee to step up and open her home. A number of pets have been adopted over the years. It’s an extension of a culture of caring. 

“Our staff is unique in that way. They really pay attention when a family has an animal that will be displaced upon their death and they start looking.  We want to keep the animal with them until the end so they can have that comfort.”

This is not a corporate policy just something the staff members do on their own.

Most families or patients do have a plan for their pets, but when they don’t, it’s good to know there are people out there like them.

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