Bow-wow- not only cats sense death.

A few blogs back I talked about Oscar, the Rhode Island feline who spookily holds death-bed vigils for residents at Providence’s Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre.

 It appears it’s not just cats who have the gift of sensing when that Final Taxi is drawing near. We now read about Scamp, a Schnauzer from Ohio, who goes to the bedsides of the dying elderly.

Scamp prowls the corridors of The Pines nursing home in Canton and “tries to raise the alarm when he gets the feeling that one of the seniors is at death’s door”.  Staff member explain that the dog will run around a room or bark at the room when he knows that something is going on.

Director of nursing Adeline Baker said Scamp had forecast “practically every one of the 40 or so deaths that have occurred in the three years”, including that of Andrew Popa. Popa’s friend Yvette Notturno has heard about the dog’s “gift”, and “when she got a call from a nurse that Scamp wouldn’t leave her friend’s bedside, she came right away knowing that her friend didn’t have long”. Popa duly died shortly after.

The Schnauzer owner, Deirdre Huth, stresses that Scamp’s presence was welcomed by residents  of the Pines. They know that he is not a grim reaper.  Baker has said, “It’s kind of comforting to know that maybe at the end of our lives, if we don’t have family members, there will be somebody there to be with us.”

Elderly Pets: Retirement and Hospice

Pet Retirement

What do you do with a pet that is old and has special needs. Not everyone can give them the care that they require. It is much like an older person where you want to give them the best care but you have a life and work that you need to do so both of you can be in comfort.

A retirement home for a human is a multi-residence housing facility intended for the elderly. Facilities are provided within the building that includes places for meals, gathering, recreation, and some form of health or hospice care. These places often help in getting people prepared for their Final Taxi.
Now what do you do with pets that have reached retirement age? The answer is being met worldwide.

In Japan the first nursing home for dogs with round-the-clock monitoring by doctors has just started up. Owners pay $800 a month to keep their dogs at the Soladi Care Home for Pets.

The home, which can accept 20 dogs at one time, also employs puppies to play with the aging dogs to help them keep fit and feel younger and specially fortified food will be fed to them as well.

Analysts say that a boom in pet ownership in Japan, coupled with better health care and a more balanced diet, has led to a surge in elderly pets in Japan. That has spurred doting owners to turn to vitamins, aromatherapy and even acupuncture to help their companions through their old age.

Not to be outdone a US organization has been doing the same thing with abandoned elderly pets for a few years.

OldDog Haven out of Arlington, Washington is an assisted living and hospice for dogs. It is a very small group of people with a network of foster homes and supporters. Their goal is to provide a loving, safe home for senior dogs abandoned at this stage of their lives.

Old Dog Haven says, “All too many dogs of advanced years are rejected by their owners, or left behind when an elderly owner must give up their beloved pet and no family members want the dog. Instead of living cherished last years in a loving family they are dumped at shelters where their chance of adoption is almost zero, or passed around to others and ignored or left in the yard. Many of these dogs are in poor physical condition as well, making them even less appealing to others. Helping them is sometimes challenging, is often expensive, but is very very rewarding. Our goal is that their last years are happy and that they die safe and at peace, knowing they are loved. Wouldn’t we all wish this for our own pets, and for ourselves?”