Peaceful Endings

Patty Ann Sparano
Guest blogger from Another cookie, please!


Stop and think about that first moment, almost always love at first sight, when we make that decision to open our life and home to a new pet. We can’t stop cuddling and snuggling with the new addition and delight in watching them grow. Training, teaching…it’s all part of the commitment we will continue to make in the years that follow.

It doesn’t end there.

Given the lifespan of most animals, combined with illnesses or injuries, sooner or later we will face dealing with heartbreaking end of life decisions. Part of that commitment, remember? Sadly and all too often, those who once doted on their beloved pet suddenly do an about-face and seek to cold-heartedly dump their animal at some shelter, often withholding information on any medical issues. The once-loved fur (or other) friend has come to be viewed as liability, something not worth the financial or emotional effort as their life nears its end. Sometimes, these pets are the lucky ones, providing a particular shelter or rescue organization can offer such respite. Although few and far between, groups and individual caregivers are available who offer palliative care for pets and their owners.

All one has to do is a little research; make a call and reach out for help.

One stellar organization of note is the AHELP Project, based in Seattle, Washington. Thanks to some family tree shaking I did months ago, I’ve been fortunate in connecting with AHELP’s President and Executive Director who… just happens to be my cousin! I am so impressed by the supportive work done under the palliative care banner by this group; it should be a benchmark for similar facilities across this country. Living here in the Northeast, such end-of-life care is mostly relegated to veterinary hospitals and individuals who offer some element of hospice for their animal patients and families. Unfortunately, there are more “At Home Euthanasia Services” for pets to be found here on the East Coast than available palliation support.

Hopefully and in time, that will change. Right now, it’s back to that commitment. The cuddles, snuggles, showers of love and comfort that were lavished on your pet at the beginning all need to be in place for their peaceful ending. This is what families do!

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Please contact Michelle at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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  • Michelle Nichols
    Thank you for your contribution on the important topic of dedicated care for our animal family members across the lifespan, Patty Ann.

    Read more from Patty Ann Sparano on her blog,

    Would you like to share your experiences in caregiving for our animal friends? Email me or post here about being a guest blogger!