When Terri entered Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, she was beyond caring about most of the things that once had occupied her mind. Only one thing still worried her, and it created a degree of anxiety that she didn’t need during the last few days of her life.
Terri had two cats that had been her companions for years, and she was concerned for their welfare. When Terri’s sisters visited from out of state, they discussed her problem with the nurse. The sisters couldn’t take the cats, but they knew it was causing Terri a great deal of distress. The nurse shared their concerns with Jennifer Mauceri, who coordinates the hospice’s Pet Peace of Mind program.
Jennifer found out that the cats had been boarded at a local veterinarian’s office. Without a permanent solution, the cats would be turned over to animal control and given to the state’s high-kill shelter. Terri and her sisters were understandably upset and in tears, worrying about the long-term welfare of these beloved cats.
Jennifer visited the cats and took their pictures. She did everything she could to learn more about their unique personalities and then posted their story, including why they needed a new home, on social media. Within a week, someone adopted both cats.
On the day the cats were welcomed into their new home, Jennifer went to the hospice to tell Terri the good news. Although Terri had been mostly unresponsive to those around her for several days, Jennifer was certain Terri would want to know her cats were in a good home.
“I told her the cats were not only safe, but they were able to stay together in their new home,” said Jennifer. “Terri managed a smile as she squeezed and kissed my hand.”
Later that evening, Terri died in peace; her one last worry having been put to rest.
About the Nathan Adelson Hospice
The Nathan Adelson Hospice averages between 220 and 250 patients at any given time, with about 80 in palliative care. Although placement was the focus in this article, it makes up only a small part of what Pet Peace of Mind (PPOM) does. It also pays for spays and neuters, arranges to have cat litter changed, provides transportation to the vet, and arranges for dog walks and trips to the dog park. Pets can stay with their owner at the hospice if someone (often a PPOM volunteer) is available to let the pet out. Last year PPOM’s approximately 40 volunteers provided services to 29 patients at the hospice.