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December 02, 2012


I am obviously late to posting to this article. However, the tears flow as I think of the many wonderful animals I have enjoyed and 'let go' throughout my life. I had no idea that Hospice was available anywhere. It is truly a Christmas blessing that I happened to read this article today. I know there are more hard times to be had as I have 5 rescues living with me now, of varying ages. I'm saving this article to help both my animals and myself through the next time I suffer the loss of one of my 'children'. Thank you so very much.

Fiona- huge new fan. Great article and comments all. This kind of reminds me of the old scientific studies trying to prove or dispel whether dogs/animals have feelings. Really??? :) I think we've come a long way and the animals themselves are the best "teachers" given the chance. Thanks for sharing, and all that you do.

I wish I could "Like" some of these comments.
This has been a terrible year for us. We've lost 4 dogs as well as my mom's little dog Toby (who would have been 2 in February. He died of renal failure). I thought after we buried our 4th dog (who escaped the yard and was almost immediately killed by a car) I thought my husband would say No More Dogs. On the contrary. Saturday we are going to Tennessee to adopt a schnauzer. That will bring us back up to 4 dogs... and he hasn't ruled out a 5th.
Cleveland Amory said it best:
"Unlike some people who have experienced the loss of an animal, I did not believe, even for a moment, that I would never get another. I did know full well that there were just too many animals out there in need of homes for me to take what I have always regarded as the self-indulgent road of saying the heartbreak of the loss of an animal was too much ever to want to go through with it again.

"To me, such an admission brought up the far more powerful admission that all the wonderful times you had with your animal were not worth the unhappiness at the end."

As the president and founder of The Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets, the nation's first non-profit devoted to the provision of home hospice care for terminally ill companion animals, I highly applaud Dr. Pierce for this article. Our organization officially incorporated in 1998, but still relatively few people know about hospice care. The number of groups now adhering to this revolutionary concept in veterinary medicine is rapidly growing, however, thanks to the incessant deluge of articles, interviews and symposia that our organization continues to pour into the mainstream media. Anyone wishing to find out more about this vital service will want to check out our website, at, where our hospice veterinarian database (still relatively small at present) will indicate that we have vets providing this service in quite a number of states--including Washington. For urgent hospice care, please call our help-line at (707) 557-8595, and we will do our best to respond within 72 hours at most. Although Dr. Pierce was unable to attend our Third International Symposium on Veterinary Hospice Care, held at UC Davis in July of this year, we plan on seeing her at the next such biennial event, which has been scheduled for summer of 2014. It is open to professionals from a wide variety of fields, as well as the public at large who want to learn more about who we are and what we do. Our services are based on the human hospice model and we have been associate members of the NHPCO since 2006. Hospice has come a long way for humans; now it is time for us to extend it to our animals.
Kathryn D. Marocchino, PhD, FT
President and Founder
The Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets

I was thinking when I read about this earlier that no one would question her postponing her tour to care for a human family member. I can't imagine putting a lesser value on a loved one just because they happen to have fur and paws.

Thanks for posting this great article. There is definitely a gap of comprehension between those who think a pet is "just an animal," and those who consider their pet another family member. It's nice to know that the trend is shifting toward the latter attitude. We put a lot of time and effort into making our elderly dog's life happy and comfortable, but it wouldn't occur to us to do otherwise.

Reading this article was most uplifting. On Nov. 15th, my beloved Gracie passed away and I am still frequently in tears. My two remaining dogs are doing their very best to help me with my grieving and are grieving themselves, having known her all of their lives.
No matter the length of time they are with you, they are a part of you. There is no such thing as 'just a dog.'
Bless Fiona Apple for her compassion and love!

I cannot thank you enough for posting this article. I volunteer at a sanctuary that is very involved in animal hospice and just attended a seminar there about end-of-life care for companion animals. Because of what I have learned from them over the past two years, I felt able to care for my best boy Smokey at home until his last breath.
You have done a great service to all of us and our animals by spreading the word that hospice is out there.

THANK YOU, Steve, for sharing this article and raising our awareness of the many aspects of the issue of loss of a pet. As a mental health therapist, and dog lover myself, I consider the grief process of an animal equal to any loss of a human loved one. The impact on our passage through life is the same, in my book.

AND, I had no idea there was such a thing as animal hospice, and as many as 75 in the country. Well, living in rural Washington, I don't get out much!

Thanks for sharing the article; I am one of the thousands of FB Fiona fans who commented on her concert cancellation. I applaud her for having her priorities in order and putting her "family" first.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us...*outstanding*..everytime I think about my most beloved dog that I said goodbye to, 2 years ago..the tears will not stop for quite some time........

Thanks for posting this. How sad for anyone who is so heartless as to have no compassion.

I applaud Fiona. "Just a dog?"
There is no such thing.

I just went to Fiona Apple's Facebook page & read her letter to her fans. Beautifully written, brought me to tears all over again. I wish more people felt this way about their pets, the world would be a much nicer place to live in.

I just became a fan of Miss Apple & I don't have a clue what she sings. I will check it out tho. This article hits close to home with many of us that love our animals. It brought me to tears remembering all my loves that have passed on. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Wonderful article! In the past few
years, I have lost 4 of my beloved dogs (my furry children), most recently in August. I happily and willingly gave up(and still do)many things for myself in order to make sure they had the best care available and was with each of them as they made their final journey to Rainbow Bridge.

I am blessed to still have 2 wonderful dogs with me. Although I am on disability, as with all my dogs, I make sure I find a way to get them taken care of. I am very fortunate to go to a wonderful and compassionate veterinarian that puts the animals, and not the money, first.

My dogs bring me such joy and comfort as I deal with difficult life situations and I couldn't picture my life without them.

The greatest sorrow of my life (so far) has been saying goodbye to my Tammany. She was 15 and my first dog. She was perfect in every way and I miss her terribly.

Fantastic Article. I became an instant fan of Fiona Apple after reading about her decision last week. Anybody who has loved and cared for a pet as part of their family need no explination on the depths to what we will do for them in good and bad health. Our pets are family.

"Dogs aren't are whole lives but they make our lives whole!"

I have more deeply mourned my furry faced companions than the humans that have populated my life. They have usually been with me longer, been more faithful, and loved me in spite of myself. Those who can't understand it can go to Hell. Those that do, have helped me thru those black months.

Thank you for sharing this article. On November 17, 2012 we lost our 16 year old Samantha to cancer. January 13, 2012 we lost our 17 year old Cindy Marie to kidney disease and September 17, 2011 we lost 14 year old Buffy to heart disease. We lost Three very close friends within 15 months. Our lives revolved around their care - cooking special foods, helping them outside and staying with them, vet appointments and keeping track of countless medication. We had the support of our wonderful vet through it all. These dogs taught us how to live and make the most out of each day. It is always difficult to make a decision on euthanasia but I always will remember one of the vet techs telling me "when the bad days out number the good you know the time is close." We stayed with each dog to the very end. After all, they stayed with us through thick and thin, it's the very least we can do for them.

Loved this article! I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful employer who let me take 4 days off from work to grieve the loss of my chow Curtis and who has allowed me to miss work a number of times over the past 5 years for Lukes various vet appointments. If only everyone were so lucky. We need our animals and they need us!

To those who would dismiss a companion animal with such verbal indifference, one must wonder how they approach and treat their own kind. Such an attitude can only radiate from someone that has never been loved by an animal, or has never learned to truly love someone more than them self. How sad to never know the joy of snuggling warm fur and a cold nuzzling nose.

I have read a Native American saying that (my paraphrase here)indicates a people may be judged by the way they treat their animals. I believe these words to be true.

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