I suppose it’s a mark of success in and of itself when a milestone passes and you’re too busy experiencing the event to take time, at that very moment, to celebrate it.
Two weeks ago we celebrated the second anniversary of Autumn Care & Crossings. What started out as a daydream has turned into a full-time practice, and such a core part of my world that I can no longer imagine what my life would be like without it. The practice of hospice, the philosophies and teachings, and the mindfulness that comes with it have shaped and colored both the way I work with my patients and their caregivers and every other facet of my life.
In my first year of hospice practice I learned so much about what hospice means, and what running a business means – and those are lessons that I honestly believe will continue to grow and change as long as I’m alive. This year has seen me take a more formal turn towards both teaching and learning – the former through community outreach and lectures on caring for senior pets, and the latter through the IAAHPC’s Certification Program in Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. I am so honored to be part of that program – to be able to be present at the start of such an important phase of this profession, and to do my best to offer the highest quality of care to my patients and clients.
At the same time, this year has brought the passing of some of our first and oldest patients. Saying goodbye to a beloved family member is never easy, and the closeness that hospice care brings means that I share, at some level, in the loss of those pets who have been in my care. In their memory, and in honor of every pet that has passed while in our care this year, Autumn Care & Crossings will again be making a donation to the MSPCA. I can think of no better way to celebrate the lives of all of these beloved pets than by helping another animal to become the beloved companion of a caring and loving family.
The longer I travel along this path of hospice and end-of-life care, the more blessed I feel to have been called to it. And it is the pets and the caregivers themselves who make me feel so lucky – I am grateful beyond words to every family that has opened their home to me and trusted me to shepherd them and their beloved companions through this transition, for every hug, every smile, every tear, and every wag and purr. This is a precious phase of life, and you honor me by letting me be part of your team. Thank you.