Rescue Journal

mystic did have a very nice birthday....

Carol  ·  Oct. 7, 2012

she shared cake and pizza with all of her friends..she even let odie have some and she doesn't like him very much cuz he scares her when he tries to play.

i no longer feel like crying..thank god ray from dewdney enterprises came out on thanksgiving sunday afternoon and fixed the water system cuz even with filling the tanks, we still couldn't get any water and i was beyond frustrated with the thought of a couple of more days with no water.

it occurs to me that most folks really do not have a clue what palliative care means. it does not mean you hasten the end of life at the first sign of illness. it does not mean that impending death becomes some beautiful, or magical moments of warm and fuzzy fantasy. it means that you provide the support for humans or animals to meet the end of their lives in relative comfort.
you cannot remove every symptom of impending cannot make anyone feel 100% great and wonderful til they take that very last breath.
but what you can do is help them to minimize the symptoms, to support them when they need extra care, to provide them with the some of the basics, like pain medication, adequate food and fluids, clean and comfortable beds. you can try to make each day as easy as you possibly can and you can try to bring some kindness and caring to brighten their day.

and in the animal's cases..when they decide that they are done and life is just too hard and not worth getting up for anymore...then you can help them to pass peacefully away.

i don't know where we got this idea that birth and death are supposed to be a piece of cake. the two biggest and most profound challenges all of us at some time face are both the beginning of our lives and the ending of our lives. and neither need to be torturous but they do require some participation on our part in the process too.

we had a visitor here today, and after 5 minutes of meeting rock, she thought he should be let go.
there is no doubt that rock has only a very short time left here..but...he is still attached to being alive. he is not his vibrant healthy self any more, he is in fact getting close to the end of his road. but he still wants to come out, he still wants to eat and drink, he still wants to share some quiet affection with his friends. the rock is an incredibly strong cat..he had to be to survive some of the horrors that he has seen. and i don't know how to explain to someone who doesn't know him, that today the rock is not quite ready...but maybe tomorrow he will be.

when my mother was terminal with cancer and very near to the end of her life..she was invited to speak to the doctors and nurses at her local hospital because before her illness my mother was a nurse with a masters degree specializing in end of life care. it was a great opportunity for the medical caregivers to ask some of the questions of another professional who now knew both sides of the end of life fence.

one of the doctors asked did it feel to be dying? my mother said there is no such thing as were either alive or you were dead. my mother died in my arms and i learned thru caring for her that the process of death is not meant to be easy. we do struggle to be born, and we do struggle to live and we do struggle when death is standing right next to us.

and it is the VALUE of each moment of life that is unique to each of us. some want to go quickly, so fast that they do not even notice the ending of their days. some want to hold on for as long as they possibly can, to them each moment is infinitely precious, they don't want to let go and some fall somewhere in the middle..ok to keep going as long as they feel not too bad.

and so i watch the rock carefully, waiting for him to say that he has had enough of living today. he is a small cat and i can do that for him because i can be at a clinic with him within 30 minutes or less... 24 hours a day.

there are times that i step in and i hasten our animals end and i do it for many different reasons but i prefer if able to let death come to them on their terms...ready to step in and ease their passing but respectful that they do in fact have some say when they think they are ready to let go.

to me this is palliative care for our animals...helping and supporting them thru the process of ending their is not about just arbitrarily taking their is about helping them peacefully end their lives when they are ready.



I totally agree that animals should be cared for and made as comfortable as possible until the end. I've taken over the care of my grandmother's 2 elderly horses (29 and 33 yrs) since she had a stroke. At one boarding place I went to, the owner suggested ending their lives just because it takes a bit of extra work to prepare their food so they can chew it. I was pretty upset with that and definitely won't be boarding them there! She obviously didn't agree with taking care of older horses and said she puts hers down when they get old. So unfair after a lifetime of serving humans!


I had a different experience with my dad passing than you did, Bunny. My dad really wanted to go - he was 92 and had lived a good life, but was weary of it. He gave up his will to live. He was in the hospital for two weeks, and refused to eat (this was in the U.K). The hospital wouldn't force feed him, although they kept him hydrated. It was a terrible experience for the family to watch him waste away, and be able to do nothing. He finally passed peacefully. As Carol said, everyone (humans & animals) seems to know when it's the right time for them.


PROFOUND and true. I laid awake half the night (not kidding) thinking of my father (RIP Dad). He would not pass on. Everything was shutting down, but he would not leave. His medical team asked the family if we knew what else he had to do. After much thought it struck me, he was raised a Catholic. I felt he wanted last rights. He had left the church decades earlier, but always had one special preist that he "kibitz with". I thought that while dad said he didn't believe in religion at the end he wanted to make sure he was en route to the right party. My sister tracked down a now retired infirm Father Sardo and asked for his help - after a lengthy discussion he told
"I'm so sorry my dear, but I have no recollection of your father". Later that evening we received THE CALL, dad had passed on peacefully in his sleep and on the white board at the head of his bed read "Venice has been annointed. God be with you. Father Sardo". He did remember Dad and their times together and Father Sardo, rest his soul, traveled 4 hours by bus to annoint dad. If we are lucky enough we decide when it's our time to go. Rocko is lucky to have Carol and her infinite wisdom.


Thank you Carol for your explanation of what Palliative Care is.. different organization have their own way to deal/or not with senior and sick animals and death .I like Saints...

I really Value what you are doing here at Saints and Appreciate all the love and care each animal receives from everyone who volunteers and Staff who works here..

They are all valued, loved and cared for no matter what their circumstances .

Our visitor today did not know the Rock or his long journey but i can say after getting to know him , and having a tour and hearing about what wonderful work that is done daily here at Saints. Left with a totally different outlook.. They asked me about how they could Donate to Saints in the Rocks Name.

And really valued the Rocks struggles and how Saints was allowing him the dignity and respect to live at the Shelter as long as he wants to and having him decide when it is time to say goodbye.


Rocko is still getting around. This morning when I put him on the fresh bedding on the karunda bed so the couch bedding which was peed on could be changed he came right back to be petted. And later when he was ready for a rest he jumped up to lie down in the cubby on the table. Although he is peeing on the beds he did climb into the litter box too.