Lizzy’s Hospice helps older dogs
People can have a hard time dealing with the feelings that come with getting old, not only of their own aging, but also the aging of their pets.
Unfortunately, some people deal with a pet’s mortality by abandoning the animal, leaving it to its own devices. Tragic, but it does happen. Karen Cole of Lizzy’s Hospice sees it happen and has tried to make the final days of such dogs as comfortable as possible.
The hospice all came about due to Lizzy, a 13-year-old pit-bull mix from South Austin. She lived her life chained. When found, she was uncared for, had very matted hair and would fall over when standing due to lack of proper diet, exercise and love.
In founding Lizzy’s, Karen Cole gathered information and was helped by other rescue groups.
“It all came about when I was involved with another rescue and they discouraged taking in older dogs,” Lizzy’s Hospice Founder Karen Cole said. She’s a non-paid volunteer and is first in line to examine the incoming dogs, “they start with me…and stay with me,” Cole said, being a foster host herself. But being foster host, a big part of the job has other responsibilities
“I also educate people about, in their pet’s senior years, they should not be dumping their dogs in a shelter.” At the present time she, herself, is fostering eight dogs. The hospice takes in dogs that are 10 to 20 years old.
When the dogs are accepted, the first thing is their examination, especially their teeth. Oral health is important as the cardio system depends on it. Bad teeth can be very harmful to a dog’s system.
“We can spend thousands on a dog. We go fast, within the first two days they are examined by a vet and a plan is made up… mostly it is heartworm and dental (problems). There are lots of dental extractions… We get them healthy then find them homes.”
Their mission statement says it all:
To provide a home environment to the most vulnerable companion animals in a shelter environment, or who would ultimately end up in a shelter, which are those who are elderly, terminally ill, and homeless.
Cole has some good of advice for pet owners. “ I think it is important to mention that having a pet most times requires an end of life decision on behalf of the pet…. Even though we are an elder care and a hospice, when we have to make an end of life decision, they are based on quality of life since not all of our pups are comfortable enough to participate in hospice care.”
The Dripping Springs area has been good to the hospice with donations and volunteer help. But getting the word out is important, as there are many kill shelters in the area.
“We can use volunteers of all sorts, ones that can plan events or write grants,” Cole said, not just foster homes. But of course, foster homes are critical.
“We are privately funded, we are not able to bring any more seniors into Lizzy’s right now because we do not have the necessary funds. We just have enough to get the dogs we have currently healthy and find them wonderful homes.”
Lizzy’s Animal Hospice
PO Box 693
Dripping Springs, TX 78620