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Flanagan, my 18-year-old kitty, had had kidney disease for several years, but there had been no precipitous deterioration in his behavior or symptoms since diagnosis 2 years before. Clinically, his numbers were not improving, of course, since kidney disease is terminal, but no steep decline, either. Then, all at once, in June, an onslaught of complications transformed the Flanagan I knew… his behavior, his mind and his medical symptoms. I felt blindsided – it was extremely hard for me to absorb what was happening… to believe that his time was close. Yet Flanagan did not seem in pain, was eating normally and still knew me and wanted to interact with me. Nothing was clear-cut! I knew I did not want a frantic crisis, necessitating immediate euthanasia. Four Paws offered a way for me to plan what to do by providing several months of in-home palliative care and hospice to Flanagan… and to me, too. They came to my home, assessed Flanagan’s ‘Quality of Life’ and gave me what I needed most, the space and solace and time and freedom to figure it all out while I said the long goodbye to my dear companion. They provided the medical and clinical support as well, allowing Flanagan to be comfortable and cozy, with me close by, while getting both fluids and tender cooing from Kelly. Warm hands for Flanagan, compassion for my plight and listening to all my denial, angst and tears became part of every visit, helping guide me to decide for myself what was best for me and my boy. Four Paws embraced us in so many intangible ways, somehow figuring out what Flanagan and I needed on that particular day. When the time came, my indecision lifted and I could let Flanagan go. He went calmly and peacefully with the serene, sure and gentle touch of both Dr. Beth Marchitelli and Kelly Carter. My gratitude is great.

-Jane Mitchell

 

 

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