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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Helping Pets Transition Peacefully Through Holistic Hospice

Jan 30, 2017 07:22PM ● By Sue Ann Seccia-Harnden, RMT

Few things are more devastating to pet parents than receiving a diagnosis that their pet is facing a serious or terminal illness, has a sudden onset of an illness or injury, or realizing that their beloved pet’s quality of life is diminishing. They must then determine if they will need assistance transitioning to avoid any prolonged pain or suffering. It is a confusing process for both pet and owner. One day all seems normal, then the next it's worse than before. Time seems to warp as you try to interpret how your pet is feeling and make heroic efforts to try to reverse the decline in health. The stress of trying to rally around a healing approach to preserve the precious time left together is exhausting.

                Having supported many animal clients through their transition from the physical body back to spirit, I try to guide pet parents 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. I increase the 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 transition. Working closely ahead of time with your trusted veterinary professional to create a 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.

                There are many holistic approaches for animal hospice to help animals during their time of transition. Reiki sessions are very relaxing and healing for the body, mind, emotions and spirit, and can provide necessary healing for a more peaceful passing. 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 we don’t always pick up on those clues. Often, they will hang on until they can sense you are ready to let them pass on. An animal communication session can also give you a chance to say all that you would like them to know about your time together. 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. Other holistic approaches available through holistic veterinarians or practitioners can include traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic services, herbs, essential oils and massage.

                “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 because of the deep heart-bonds shared with our pets. 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. 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.

Sue Ann is a Reiki Master-Teacher and holistic energy-healing practitioner serving people and animals in the county area. She owns Fifth Dimension Healing Energy, LLC, in Clinton. If you would like to learn more about using holistic hospice for your animal, contact Sue Ann at 908-730-0658 or visit