Today I had the honor of supporting some dear friends through the palliated, but not hastened, dying process of their cat. She was the ultimate “tough girl” – a barn cat turned beloved family member, a creature who resisted medical interventions at every turn, at one time requiring 3 people to do the typically 1 person job of subcutaneous fluid administration. An elderly lady who ultimately succumbed to severe kidney failure and concurrent liver compromise, she was appropriately given a grave prognosis. Her caregivers were given the options of referral to a 24-hour care facility, or euthanasia – appropriate recommendations, given her condition. But when they responded: “We don’t feel comfortable with either of those. What are our other options?” the traditional paradigm of veterinary end-of-life care was challenged.Read More...
Dr. Katherine Goldberg founded Whole Animal with a mission to provide home-based, bond-centered veterinary care with a focus on geriatric support and hospice services. It is Dr. Goldberg’s belief that our relationships with animals are particularly poignant during end of life care. Her belief in the importance of whole body care rather than symptom-specific treatment is an underlying philosophy of the entire practice.
This week, I had the interesting experience of being told that vets have been doing this kind of work for eons, and that hospice & palliative care for pets is really nothing new. As an educator in this field, and passionate changemaker for end-of-life care for animals & their families, I found this comment really striking. IS hospice & palliative care anything new? Or is it, as was suggested, just something that the younger generation of veterinarians is now marketing? I would emphatically argue that it is, in fact, something quite distinct from our traditional veterinary care for aging & dying pets.Read More...
It’s hard to believe that spring is really upon us here in central NY. This season of rebirth is a natural reminder of the cycle of life…and death. Whole Animal has continued to extend its reach into communities near and far, providing special care for geriatric pets and their families. Looking forward into spring also reminds me to look back and see how far we have come. Here is a link to Whole Animal’s 2012 holiday letter, which was sent to the Whole Animal community when the snow was still flying. I am happy to share it with our online readers as well. Thanks to all of you who follow our activities on this blog, Facebook and Twitter. Together, we are changing the way animals age and die, and honoring our relationships with them through the process.Read More...
I am so moved by the tremendous response I have already received after the Community Pet Memorial Service today that I wanted to write this entry while the images of today are still fresh. What an afternoon! I had many hopes for this event, but the implementation is always in question until it happens. Creating something that has never been done before is exciting…and scary. But I suppose I should be used to this emotional juxtaposition after starting Whole Animal itself in 2010! Today’s event demonstrated that the time really has come to recognize the loss of our animals like that of any other family member, and also that there is strength in community when we do this together. My hope is that we will continue to be able to share our stories, and bring our “open, broken hearts” to the process. Thank you, Julie Interrante, for that powerful concept.
PHOTOS ARE UP! View them on our Facebook page here:Read More...
Griffy was Dr. Katherine Goldberg’s ’04 companion for years. The Bernese Mountain dog provided comfort and companionship on long walks in a field outside of her apartment, especially on days when she questioned the wisdom of pursuing veterinary medicine! And, he celebrated her successful completion of the program by walking with her at graduation.Read More...
I am continually humbled and amazed by the response to this work in our community, but a recent letter I received from a Whole Animal hospice family was particularly touching. The Boisvert family has graciously agreed to allow me to share it with you here. May it inspire you to seek the journey with your animals that is most meaningful for you. Where there are options, there is opportunity for growth. Much peace & warmth to everyone in the bitter cold of this week.
“We wanted to express our gratitude for your caring service. We decided to try you because of our poor experience in the past regarding aging pets, veterinarians and euthanasia. Your compassion, empathy, and professional expertise far surpassed our expectations. Gryphon was the best dog we ever had. You made his passing easier for him and us. We talked about what a great facilitator you are, how you are as much involved with the owners as the pets.
As we progress in our grieving process, we find ourselves humbled by our experience with your care. You are a terrific enhancement to our greater community.”