End-of-Life Care at BrightHaven
By Gail Pope
The purpose of life is to live it; to taste experience to the utmost; to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. – Eleanor Roosevelt
For years we’ve been offering hospice and end-of-life care at BrightHaven and now I am delighted to announce the creation of a new arm of the organization: one that will reach out to help people with their own animals and bring the animal hospice message to the community.
In the ensuing pages we will present our mission and vision with regard to the care of the elderly, infirm, or dying. Hospice has become a way of life at BrightHaven as we have cared for hundreds of these special animals over two decades. In doing so, we have learned so much about love and the circle of life from our animal loved ones.
We truly believe that animals are sent to help and guide us in our lives, and as we open our hearts to them we cannot help but learn. Now is the time to share that knowledge to help others. This is such a special time of life, akin to the changing of the seasons as deemed by Mother Nature. It should be a time of love, joy and celebration.
I believe the work we do can best be summed up in special words, such as my favorite, “Dancing to the End of the Song,” by dear friend Dr. Tom Wilson; also “Spirits in Transition,” the website of close friend Dr. Ella Bittel; and “The Last Adventure of Life,” the title of a book filled with sacred resources by Rev. Maria “Dancing-Heart” Hoaglund.
Actually, the word hospice is rarely used at BrightHaven, as our focus continues through healing for the highest good. The word hospice somehow infers dying. Of course all roads lead to the journey’s eventual end, with some faster and some slower. However, at BrightHaven we have always preferred to concentrate on helping the “being” to be the best they can possibly be, regardless of age, illness, or type of being – human or animal! Many animals who came to BrightHaven, supposedly at the end of their lives, have healed and lived on.
Historically, cats have come to BrightHaven in their teens and many have lived into their late 20s—with one, Frazier, who lived on to the grand age of 35 years. During the last several years BrightHaven has realized the need to reach out to help bring a new level of understanding and support to the community, especially to those who are caring for their animals at home in their last days of this life. Our mission is the creation of a hospice group able to be available at all times of the day or night to offer help, advice and education to those in need. I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading about our work and will offer us your support.
There are two ways to look at life. One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is. – Albert Einstein