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This book is an introduction to the option of hospice care for an aged or terminally ill pet facing death. Many of us were brought up to think that the kindest thing, when our pets are close to death, is to have them 'put to sleep'; in fact to choose otherwise is often condemned as cruel. However, just as we provide hospice care for people as they approach the transition from life, it is possible to manage our pets' discomfort and pain, so that they can pass peacefully and without intervention in the familiar, comforting environment of their home.
The book begins with insights from an experienced veterinary surgeon who specializes in hospice care, including information about pain management and what to expect during the stages of the dying process. The main section of the book contains personal ‘heart stories’ of 13 people who chose to allow their dogs or cats to die naturally at home, and the effects that choice had on them and their lives. All of them felt they had made the right decision, and said they would make that choice again. There are also two stories from people who did have their pets put to sleep and later regretted it. They both wished they had known about the option of hospice care at home.
Making the choice for hospice care can be difficult. Friends, family and even vets may tell you you are being cruel. The book includes suggestions on ways to sustain yourself during the dying and death process, including having a care plan and finding people who can support you through the emotional and physical ups and downs you may experience.
Because the three editors of the book practice Tibetan Buddhism, there is also a brief introduction to the Buddhist philosophy of death, plus links to recognized Tibetan Buddhist Teachers who have taught about death and dying. However, the book is intended for anyone who may be interested in finding out more about the option of hospice care for their beloved pet.