Helping Animals Transition Peacefully Through Holistic Hospice
by Sue Ann Seccia-Harnden, RMT, owner of Fifth Dimension Healing Energy, LLC, based in Clinton, NJ. Sue Ann is a Reiki Master-Teacher, and holistic energy-healing practitioner serving people and animals in the Hunterdon County, NJ area. (This article appears in the February 2017 edition of Natural Awakenings Central NJ magazine).
Few things are more devastating to pet parents than receiving a diagnosis that their pet is facing a serious or terminal illness, having a sudden onset of an illness or injury, or realizing that their beloved pet’s quality of life is diminishing and having to determine if they will need assistance transitioning to avoid any prolonged pain or suffering. It is a zig-zaggy and often prolonged process that comes with both good days and bad days for both pet and owner. One day all seems normal, the next you are sure it’s the end time. Time seems to warp as you try to interpret how your pet is feeling, make heroic efforts to try to reverse the decline in health, and get exhausted from the stress of trying to rally around a healing approach to preserve the precious time left together.
Having supported many animal clients through their transition from the physical body back to Spirit, I try to guide pet parents and caregivers through this difficult time by likening it to hospice, where the primary goal is providing compassion – the highest form of love – through palliative care for comfort and increasing quality of life so that their time can be spent more positively rather than being consumed by stress and sadness. This transition time is incredibly special, and it can be used reflectively to celebrate all the joy that this animal has brought to us, and understand what they have taught us during our time together.
It is a sacred honor to be able to help another being pass peacefully. Ideally this can be done on their own terms and in their own time, but even when that is not possible, it is always comforting to know that you have provided them with the most gentle and peaceful way to make their way across the Rainbow Bridge back to Spirit. There are even some veterinary services that will make house calls rather having to take the animal away from its familiar surroundings at this delicate time. Working closely ahead of time with your trusted veterinary professional to create a transition plan will help ease your mind about how to provide the most peaceful experience for you and your pet. You may also wish to investigate animal hospice services offered in some vet practices.
Here are some of the ways I have used holistic healing for animal hospice to help animals during their time of transition:
- Reiki sessions are very relaxing and healing on all levels – body, mind, emotions, spirit – and can provide necessary healing for a more peaceful passing. True healing happens at the mental/emotional and spiritual levels since it is our spirit and essence that live on eternally. So although the physical body may not recover or heal fully, it is truly a gift to help them heal at the mental/emotional/spirit levels before passing on.
- Animal Communication can help you understand what your pet is feeling and get their perspective on whether they would like to transition on their own, or would like your assistance through euthanasia. Many animals will let you know when it is their “time”; although in our distress, we don’t always pick up on those clues. And often, they will hang on longer than they would like until they can sense you are ready to let them pass on. An animal communication session can help you get confirmation from your pet of where things stand. It can also give you a chance to say all that you would like them to know about your time together. Often they have messages to give you or family members they would like shared. You can also ask them to give you a sign they are OK and have completed their crossing for your own peace of mind and closure.
- Flower Essences and Homeopathy can be used to help provide the animal with clues about how to prepare themselves for leaving their body and assist with letting go more easily when the time is right. They can also support any healing needs at the mental/emotional/spiritual levels.
- Other holistic approaches available through holistic veterinarians or practitioners can include:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic Medicine, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbs, Laser Therapy, Essential Oils, Massage, Healing Touch, Tellington Touch, Nutritional therapy and supplements
Because so many of us have deep heart-bonds with our pets, the grief and loss we experience when they need to leave us can be overwhelming. “Anticipatory grief” can set in as soon as we get the bad news that our pet is on the decline, and well before our pet actually passes. It is vitally important to provide yourself with good self-care for your own emotional and physical well-being during and after this time. Care for the caregiver is very important in a hospice approach. Getting support from those who understand what you are experiencing is vital. Fortunately, there is a growing national movement to provide more options for animal hospice support to pets and pet parents so you don’t have to go it alone when trying to navigate this time of transition with your beloved pet.
Here are some additional resources to help you learn more about animal hospice options:
- Compassionate care for pets: Why some animal lovers are turning to hospice – this article appeared on NJ.com, 3/11/2016
- The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care – an organization dedicated to promoting knowledge of and developing guidelines for comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life. You can locate local/regional Vets who service the Hunterdon Co. NJ area through their directory.
- Lap of Love is a network of veterinarians around the country (locations) whose goal is to empower every owner to care for their geriatric or ill pets. Their philosophy centers around the human-animal bond and the need for that bond to be as undisturbed as possible during this most difficult time. You can locate local/regional Vets who service the Hunterdon Co. NJ area through their directory.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association also has guidelines for veterinarians regarding how to support animal hospice approach.
- The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association offers information on different holistic therapies and a directory to find holistic vets in your area.
If you would like to learn more about using holistic hospice for your animal, contact me at (908) 730-0658 or visit www.FifthDimensionHealingEnergy.net