TOPIC: Companion animals and anticipatory grief
Doug’s book, The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer: Lessons on Living and Dying from My Canine Brothers, is a first-person account on how to deal with anticipatory grief, the emotional time we go through when caring for an aging or dying beloved pet. No other books offer substantive help on this subject, yet it can be life-interrupting and life-changing. Doug not only discovered a way to cope when his dogs were dying, he turned anticipatory grief into a beneficial and transformative experience.
TOPIC: Pet Hospice
Pet hospice, a new concept in end-of-life measures applied to animals, “emphasizes managing a pet’s terminal illnesses while preparing the family for the end…this is done in a number of ways, from the use of grief counselors to pain management techniques,” according to the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. Doug created his own version of pet hospice, called The Presence Plan, which integrates treatment with hospice care starting at the earliest possible stage. He believes the Plan will help many others going through a pet’s final illness.
TOPIC: Finding resources when a pet is terminally ill
Doug left no stone unturned in finding traditional and untraditional help when his dogs were ill: Yahoo Listserv Groups for canine kidney disease and canine bone cancer, animal communicators, holistic veterinarians, even neighbors (who were eager to sign up for their turn to “pet sit”)
TOPIC: Turning the experience of a dying pet from the worst of times to the richest of times
This contention has raised some eyebrows: Doug tells how he discovered the good that comes from the bad days of being a caretaker to his dying dogs.