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The Art of Caring Until the End

    Show Notes

    Julie Gass of MSPCA-Angell in Boston is a veterinary social worker, who started her career in human medicine, working with serious illness and grief. She provided end of life and bereavement support to patients and their families at Mount Auburn Hospital but then turned to end of life care for pets and their families.

    She’s combined her love of animals and her passion for helping people to heal from loss and trauma.

    With Darlene, Julie sheds light on the crucial yet often overlooked field of pet hospice care. With deep empathy and compassion, Julie helps pet owners navigate the painful process of saying goodbye to their beloved animal companions.

    And through her insights and experiences, she illuminates the profound bond between humans and their pets and the importance of providing support during the final stages of a pet’s life.

    Julie breaks down the emotional challenges faced by pet owners as they prepare to say goodbye and emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and validating the grief experienced by these individuals.

    All while guiding these humans to make one of the hardest decisions we have to make as pet parents.

    What to listen for

    4:51 Why our daily routines become so difficult after our pets die
    9:01 How Julie helps pet parents face their final goodbye
    14:41 How palliative care for humans is similar to palliative care for animals
    21:50 Why we need to consider euthanasia as a “gift” for our pets
    27:48 The importance of asking for help

    Find Julie and MSCPA

    MSCPA-Angell
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    Transcript

    Angela Schneider

    Welcome back, our episode today, The Art of Caring Until the End features Darlene Woodward of Pant the Town Photography in Massachusetts, interviewing her friend Julie Gass of MSPCA-Angell in Boston.

    Julie is a veterinary social worker who started her career in human medicine. Working with serious illness and grief. She provided end of life and bereavement support to patients and their families at Mount Auburn hospital, but then turned to end of life care for pets and their families. She has combined her love of animals and her passion for helping people to heal from loss and trauma.

    With Darlene, Julie sheds light on the crucial yet often overlooked field of pet hospice care. With deep empathy and compassion, Julie helps pet owners navigate the painful process of saying goodbye to their beloved animal companions.

    And through her insights and experiences, she illuminates the profound bond between humans and their pets, and the importance of providing support during the final stages of a pets life.

    Julie breaks down the emotional challenges faced by pet owners as they prepare to say goodbye and emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and validating the grief experienced by these individuals.

    All while guiding these humans to make one of the hardest decisions we have to make his pet parents have a lesson.

    Darlene Woodward 

    This past March on Giving Tuesday, I watched a presentation on pet love, loss andgrief given by Julie Gasse. The MSPCA, which stands for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, hosted a series of webinars to raise awareness and raise funds to help the animals. The presentation was a tear-jerker as so many things dealing with pet loss seem to be, but I knew after the presentation that Julie would be a great person to interview for One Last Network. And I’m thrilled to introduce you to Julie Gasse, veterinary social worker who is here with us today. Welcome, Julie, and how are you doing today?

    Julie 

    I’m doing pretty well, Darlene. You can’t complain. It’s beautiful spring weather, which we never get.

    Darlene 

    It’s so true. And we never know when the rain is coming. This New England spring has been a little bit crazy. But we do have sunshine today and a great 60 degrees. So we’re good. Yeah,

    Julie 

    Exactly. It’s not 90, which sometimes it is suddenly.

    Darlene

    So we’ll take these nice days when we can get it. So before we kind of dive into what you do, how you got into it, just start by telling us, our listeners a little bit about who you are.

    Julie

    I get to talk about myself.

    Darlene

    You do, you do. Not all that deep stuff yet.

    Julie

    Oh, man, we’re not ready to unpack all that yet. Wow, I have to really search my memory. I’m thinking of what … what do I do? Well, I guess I’m a transplant from the Washington, D.C., area. So I moved up here about seven-ish years ago, and just kind of just making my life in Boston to be closer to family. And I guess just things I enjoy up here, like I do a lot of birding. I wouldn’t say I’m a professional birder by any means. But I, you know, I, I enjoy that as a nice pastime. And, of course, I’m a big reader, I used to be a librarian before this. So I’ve always just been into books, and you know, fiction, nonfiction, that kind of thing. Um, and then I also just like to just be outside walking my dog, enjoying nature. I play softball, in a softball league, it’s a bunch of us, kind of middle-aged ladies like reliving the glory days.

    Darlene 

    Good, I love it. And such a great outlet for anything we do dealing with pets. And you know, if you’re dealing with pet loss and grief, we need all of those outlets, those hobbies and those activities to kind of give us an outlet.

    Julie 

    Absolutely, yeah. So I think one of the hardest things for people is that their outlets were whatever they were doing with their pets. And that’s one part of the huge adjustment to make when they’re at end of life is kind of grieving over the pet that you had and the pet that you now have adjusting to whatever barriers they have, whatever illness, like symptoms and side effects. So it is a really, really hard time to get out there and do things but if you can, absolutely. Because you need to, you need your identity, you need to maintain a piece of your identity as the person out in the world beyond being a caregiver. And that’s really hard to do.

    Darlene 

    That’s so true. Especially when I found one of the hardest things after pet loss was walking after spending, you know, three times a day walking my dog enjoying the fresh air. When she was gone, I didn’t want to walk anymore because I thought who walks without a dog? A dog to walk? Why would you go walk without a dog?

    Julie

    Why would you want to be out here?

    Darlene

    Right?

    Julie

    And like what do you do with your hands?

    Darlene

    Exactly. Exactly.

    Julie

    Yeah. And and a lot of people too, you know, walks with the dogs meant engaging with others, and it’s harder to engage with people when you’re by yourself. It’s, it’s a little weird or walking up to people and saying hi.

    Darlene 

    Exactly, exactly. Our dogs are the magnets of interaction with others. They bring the extrovert out in us.

    Julie 

    Oh my gosh, yes. Whether you want to or not.

    Darlene 

    Yes. Love it. That’s awesome. Well, so let’s hear about veterinary social work and how you got into that.

    Julie 

    Um, it was kind of by accident, actually. I, so I was doing hospice social work. And I was just starting to get burnt out. I needed to change and, and so I was just looking sued job, job ads and stuff and at that point, I was considering either doing palliative care in hospitals or doing an another hospice job. And I saw this you know, this job ad for MSPCA Angell hiring a veterinary social worker. And I was like, what? I just couldn’t believe my eyes.

    Darlene

    It was a sign.

    Julie

    Exactly … so but it kind of, it was one of those things and I don’t know if other people have had this where something clicks and everything just goes right. You know, like, I saw that ad as like, I would thought you know that this is for me, this ad, this culminates everything that I love. And then and the interview went well, and it all just flowed so easily and natural. And I’ve been here, I’ve job hunted in this area. And it’s really hard. Sending up dozens of resumes. But this is the path just took me right to here. And it all has felt right since. So I feel lucky to have a job like this actually. That’s awesome. That’s amazing. How many years have you been with the MSPCA now?

    Julie

    So now it’s three years, actually, my anniversary was just on May 11.

    Darlene

    Congratulations.

    Julie

    Thank you.

    Darlene 

    So nice. You’re wonderful. The MSPPCA does amazing things in the community and to help the animals. So …

    Julie 

    Yeah, they do. And it’s nice to work for an organization that like mirrors that like my own values.

    Darlene 

    Yeah. That’s awesome. So a little bit about what exactly you do and with clients and how you work with them.

    Julie 

    Yeah, so it’s interesting, because so my office is right there in the lobby, and we’re there for anybody to come by and say hi. And like, one of the top questions I get is, you know, what do you do? And then and then inevitably, someone’s always like, oh, do you do therapy with animals?

    Darlene

    Exactly. And how are you different in the veterinary field? Or? Yeah …

    Julie

    OK, so basically, the job has two components to it. There’s supporting the humans, so the humans who are doing the medical care, so staff who are kind of at risk for compassion, fatigue, just because of how difficult the work is. And then the other side of it are the humans who are caregiving or like grieving over the loss of their pets. And, and I think that’s more focused on what we’re talking about today. And that usually comes up in three different ways.

    One would either be through a crisis situation in our hospital, like say, someone’s dog just got hit by a car, or they heard a really difficult diagnosis and, and don’t know how to manage that, those feelings. And so, we put so much love and, and emotion into our animals, that when something happens to them, we just get completely, we become a mess, because they carry our hearts.

    So you know, a being that that has all of our love in them, and who trusts us, is suddenly now in danger or hurt. And sometimes, it’s really hard not to just let it all out and lose track of yourself for a little while. So what I do is I help people, you know, kind of calm down and get them their basic needs met, like giving them water and things like that. And then, and then I start asking them to show me photos of their pet, you know, when they’re able to, and that always starts bringing a smile to someone’s face, or at least gets them more focused and calmer.

    And, and through that, like we basically try to get people prepared to make hard decisions. You know, our lobby is full of people who are either there for a routine visit or who are on the edge of their seats, wondering what in the world is going to happen to their baby. And, and you can see, like, the tension is there, you know, when I walk out to go to the bathroom or something, people kind of look up and they all like, Oh, are you here for me? You know, they’re just ready to talk. I’m sorry, I’m rambling.

    Darlene 

    No, you’re not at all. No, this is wonderful. And yeah, the way you can help people, we love to talk about our pets. And like you said, that’s a way to sidetrack people to make them smile.

    Julie 

    Mm hmm. and be in the present moment, right? Because that’s one of the things that animals do for us is they help us not think about the past or the future, they help us just kind of be calm and focused on them and, and what we’re getting in return is just like adoring eyes and soft fur and snuggles and it really kind of brings us out of the chaos of our lives and, and they help us just feel good inside you know.

    So yeah, so in the lobby when that’s at risk, or that’s threatened, you know, we’re there to help people just kind of collect themselves and then also help make treatment decisions or end of life decisions. And and that is the kind of what’s really hard and I think you see that a lot in grief and loss and bereavement is that those that information that your dog or your cat is going to die soon or that their prognosis is bad. It’s a traumatic experience. And so it’s really hard to think after that, because at that point, your mind is going into protection mode, and everything gets kind of like swimmy and hazy. Or maybe you get numb, or you can’t focus or concentrate. So a lot of times people, like when I’m doing bereavement work, I barely remember what was said to them? Or they, you know, everything seems a little blurry. And then that ends up leading into I must have done something wrong, or did I make the right decision. Because it … sometimes it happens so fast that they can’t really be present or think of it. Think about it. Yeah.

    Darlene 

    Right. Oh, the guilt and everything. And how do you make those types of decisions, right.

    Julie 

    So that’s when I have a chance to work with someone, that’s, that’s a goal is to help them make a decision that they’re not going to look back on and say, you know, I wish I’d done something different. And so that’s, you know, getting people to come, like, try to get themselves calm, and then think through objectively what’s best for them and their pet, and maybe even project down the line a little bit of what they would have wished they had done looking back if we can get there. And so then we kind of just look at the information of what the doctor presented to them, what their own values are, and, and then what their animal might want. And that’s hard to understand. Because they can’t talk to us. But you can always take a look at what their behaviors are and the things that they like, and kind of draw conclusions from that. So where that all intersects is where the decision is, I’d say.

    Darlene 

    True. That’s so true. So you help people make the decision when it comes to hospice care. And I know recently I spoke with Dr. Jennifer Cushing who does home euthanasia and she is certified in palliative care. And we touched a little bit about the palliative care, which at that time, I didn’t realize there was too much of a difference, but they are actually different things, palliative care and hospice care. And I did some research on my own. And yeah, I was amazed by, you know, just learning so much about it. Can you talk a little bit west about hospice care and how you talk to clients about that, and the little process that goes into it?

    Julie 

    Of course, yeah, you know, and actually, I’m glad because I, I also hope, and this is kind of one of the reasons why I like doing this work is that there, there is a little bit of a bridge between human medicine and animal medicine. And I think education for both ends are needed. And I think this is a really nice way for people to hear about hospice for animals and palliative care, but then also know that this applies to humans as well. So, um, but yeah, so yeah, palliative care is treating pain, so and that can be in any situation. So you could be going in for whether if it’s like a transplant, or like a surgery, you’re going to be palliated. Because later when you leave that place, you’re going to maybe be rehabilitating, you’re going to be maybe doing physical therapy, and then you’re probably going to be doing things like say acupuncture, or, or taking certain meds to take away the pain. So that’s, that’s the palliative part.

    And, and then depending on how you look at palliative, you can also spread it out beyond medical, right. So when I was interning at the National Institutes of Health, our rec therapy group, they also were part of it. So it’s like, not just medicine, it’s also what brings you joy to your life. So when you think about pets, it’s similar, you know, what, what do they need to have a fulfilling life? And what did they need to take away the pain?

    Hospice is you have a terminal diagnosis, and you are not going to be treated anymore. And so in this country, you know, we have a very treatment-focused mindset. And so, it’s really hard. I kind of think of it as you know, when you’re doing, when you’re doing care for a pet, you’re kind of walking and you’re only looking at the few steps in front of you, because you you’re just thinking about the details of the medicine regimen, the doctor’s visits, looking for signs and symptoms. And so, you know, you’re kind of plodding along. And then suddenly, you’re at the crossroads of is it time to stop treatment? Or is it time to keep going and just try everything till the end, like just fight to the bitter end?

    And so I think there’s a transition that happens from in hospice from hope and, and treatment to acceptance and they’re beginning to look at loss and preparing for the end. And so it’s a tough transition and tougher sub for some people than others. So hospice is right there at that part where you’re at end of life, you know that you have limited time, and you’re not treating anymore. But you are palliating because the animal is still in pain. So I hope that, that kind of clears it up.

    Darlene 

    Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And you work with clients, right through that whole process, helping them make those decisions when it’s time.

    Julie 

    Yes, yeah. It is. I know, it’s, it’s really hard. Because sometimes I’m, you know, you get attached and like, you build relationships. And, you know, we had this wonderful couple we were working with, and I think I mentioned her in the talk. She, during the course of her animal’s care, she developed Alzheimer’s disease. And so the treatment that, you know, she was giving to her, her dog who was very, very special to her, and also helping her, you know, with her illness and providing her companionship and unconditional love. So, so, her dog was … got an actual two years through the oncology department here. And through that time, she got sicker. And, and then her dog’s treatments stopped working. So this was, so we were there with them through the whole thing.

    And then when it came time, we met I met with her I met with her and the doctors and we talked about whether or not they wanted to stop treatment. And she had decided, yes, that she was just going to palliate her, her dog. And, and so then at that point, it was more about just providing, like, support for like, say anticipatory grief. Right. And, and that that comes along with hospice care, and that is, knowing that your pet is going to pass away, and living the grief feelings, but not actually, like having that resolution yet, I guess you could say like, you’re kind of waiting on pins and needles. And she … I think you’ve been there. I’ve been there. It’s, it’s been there.

    Darlene 

    Yeah. Yeah. It’s the worst. It’s horrible.

    Julie 

    Absolutely horrible. And that’s where you find yourself doing the craziest things because you’re, I was like, following my cat around with bowls of water and food and making sure that she had whatever she needed and following her around to make sure she didn’t stumble or fall and, and that’s where you do anything and everything possible to make sure that that they’re doing OK, and that they’re not in pain. So, I’m sorry, to go back to that, that low end of that story is that, and then, you know, she came to us when it was the end.

    And her dog had been palliated through not having treatment anymore, she decided that so you could say that was hospice care. And then when it came time where her dog was suffering more than not having, like suffering more than having good days. We all sat with her and we euthanized her dog with her. So there was a group of us in there with her. And, and I think that that’s kind of what it’s all about is helping people through the hardest parts of it. And also, it’s such an isolating thing. So maybe helping people know that they’re not alone in it either.

    Darlene 

    Right? Right, that the feelings are normal. It’s OK to grieve. It’s OK to scream, cry, get it all out. And yeah …

    Julie 

    And more importantly, it’s OK to stop. Yes, it’s okay to decide. And I think sometimes people are worried that the doctor is going to be mad at them, or they feel like they’re not doing enough. So, it’s I consider it part of my job to point out all the things that they’ve done that are enough, right, and that illness is something that you can only control up to a certain point, but then then it’s out of your hands. And I think that’s a lot of time where the guilt comes from is feeling like you should have done more, but not recognizing that there really wasn’t anything else you could do.

    Darlene 

    Right? And we everything we do for our pets is obviously out of love for them and the fact that we can help them through this decision. It’s a gift for them. It’s a gift we can give them to not have to suffer, not have to be in any kind of pain.

    Julie 

    Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think it’s something where you feel that you don’t care enough. Actually, I think it’s quite the opposite of that. Because you’re making a decision that is just beyond what you want and you’re doing it for their, their well-being. And so you’re right, it is a gift.

    Darlene 

    It is a gift. So true. Afterwards, do you still keep touch with in touch with clients? Is there any kind of post care? Is it through the, through the whole process? And afterwards that you work with them too?

    Julie 

    Of course, yeah, if I can, it’s like a whole continuity of care. Yeah. And so what happens is, then we start doing bereavement, if they want to. And sometimes honestly, people will work out anticipatory grief, so, so much that when it comes time when their animal has passed, they’ve actually done a lot of the labor in getting kind of adjusted to it. And so they may not need as much sometimes.

    So basically, what we do is our service has bereavement support for, like for clients of Angell, and, and if you aren’t, then we help you get connected to someone in the community. And what we do is go over those really hard things of you know, guilt is inevitable, it just is. And so kind of rationalizing through that. And then also looking at, oh, we have a bereavement support group and then also a Facebook page to. Yeah, well, that’s the whole thing is like people need to talk to other people about what’s happening, because they’re holding in their feelings and not feeling like they have a right to. It’s like a disenfranchised grief. Like it’s not as fully recognize. So people tend to hold in their feelings because they’re either embarrassed that no one’s going to understand, or people don’t understand they say get another dog, what are you crying about?

    Darlene 

    Oh, right, they say the wrong things.

    Julie 

    I always like what I always think that people will … oh, someone’s always gonna say the wrong thing when your personal life is out there for others to see. Right? Whether you’re pregnant on the train, or someone’s gonna say something that’s completely, I guess, well intended, but it doesn’t hit the mark.

    Um, but yeah, so we do that. And then, and then basically, you know, we help people just kind of get through the hardest parts. And when it seems that they are OK enough to kind of handle it on their own, then, you know, then we kind of part ways, sometimes people, what I consider a, like a gift of bereavement is that it uncovers other things that you’re struggling with. And so sometimes people make revelations of, you know, they realize that they really can’t connect with people the way that they, that they thought or they are lonelier than they realized, or, or maybe they spent the past couple of years caregiving for an animal that really needed them. And then they need to kind of make a transformation into the person they want to be.

    And those are the gifts of grief and loss is, is having that opportunity to do that. And so, so then we connect them to like therapists in the community where they can continue on their journey.

    Darlene 

    Wonderful, what a great service. And what So what does the future of veterinary social work look like? Is it a growing field … I’m guessing, and …

    Julie 

    It is, yeah. You know, when I first started three years ago, there was only I think, two others that I knew of in like New England. Yeah. And so now I know there’s a few people in Connecticut, there’s at least four of us here in Massachusetts, maybe more. I think we have someone in Maine that has started. So it is growing, and we get a lot of people asking how to get started in it and how to, you know how to get a job doing that. And, you know, so I think that a perfect start is making sure that well, social work tends to be the field that the mental health field that you need, but also like looking at things like trauma, and grief and loss. Those are pretty consistent themes. So if, if you have any skill in that or those areas or experience, then then you’re already kind of set up for working with people who are going through this.

    Darlene 

    I think what you do is absolutely wonderful, and I’m so glad that I found you and listened in to your webinar with the MSPCA. I have to talk to her, she is just amazing. So passionate in what you do.

    Julie 

    Thank you. It feels good that you like listened and you liked it. All I saw was like a screen and no humans.

    Darlene 

    Right? That’s hard.

    Julie 

    There was something like at one point I saw 77 people had joined and I was like, oh my goodness, my heart is fluttering right now. So anyway, thank you, it feels really good that people are interested. And but of course they would be right, because who doesn’t have a dog or a cat that they love?

    Darlene 

    And all these topics, we just yeah, we need to be more aware of and it’s all learning and how we can get through this. And yes, we are all going to be OK. And yes, we will remember our pets every day, every moment.

    Julie 

    Yeah, you’re right. And, and like I even want to take it to another step, which is looking at what you went through with your pet and knowing you could get through one of the worst times of your life, and still keep going. And I think that’s what would be like a traumatic resilience of basically taking that pain and all the messiness of end of life. And forming that into like an understanding of yourself, forming it into a strength that now you know, you can get through the hardest thing ever, and you can keep going and and whatever comes your way in the future, you know, you can do it.

    Darlene 

    There’s that bond, that bond that you share together. And that love that you have for them. They truly are our world, they mean everything to us,

    Julie 

    They do. Which is I’ll walk my puppy for an hour while he chases moths and eats them, you know.

    Darlene 

    Yeah, we do everything for them.

    Julie 

    Oh, and then and then that’s why people like us exist is because we just want to make sure that people don’t lose sight of that when they’re grieving. And that they can celebrate their animal’s life and celebrate the life they had with them, instead of focusing on what they think they might have done wrong at those, in those last few hours or days of their pet’s

    Darlene 

    life, right, because it is a celebration, and we want to stay positive. And remember those happy moments and everything. Yeah, yeah. Julie, thank you so much. This was wonderful chatting with you. Do you have anything else that you want to share with our listeners? I think this was I love learning more about what you do and everything.

    Julie 

    It’s, um, you know, I think that if you are finding that you’re having a hard time, do not feel shy about asking for help. You know, I’ve worked with people who have had a hard time getting through their bereavement period, because they closed down from shame. And I think, you know, making a euthanasia decision is so intense that sometimes people feel like they don’t deserve to heal, or they don’t deserve to move forward. Because they’re not talking to people and hearing that they actually did something good. And then if it’s something like not positive, what’s the word I’m looking for there, they did something that was a part of the contract they had with their pet. So you know what? I would say, just don’t suffer in silence. Look up a counselor who specializes in pet loss. Go to a pet loss support group and start talking to people because you’ll start to find that you’re not alone in it. And that probably everything you went through, someone else has gone through something similar. So yeah, just don’t bottle it up. Like, talk to somebody.

    Darlene 

    Which thank you for bringing that up. Because part of One Last Network, one of our main missions is to connect people with those resources that will help them get through all of this, whether it’s the anticipatory grief, the post grief, the whole process, and those resources are out there and people don’t know about them yet. And we want to make all the pet people aware that yes, there is help to get them through every, every phase of it.

    Julie 

    Yes, exactly. They don’t have to do it alone.

    Darlene 

    Yeah, that’s so true. Well, thank you so much, Julie. I appreciate it.

    Julie 

    I appreciate it too. And I like thanks for inviting me on and for doing this work. It’s beautiful work. So I appreciate everything you guys do.

    Darlene 

    Thank you. Thank you and you have a wonderful day.

    Julie

    Thank you. You too.

    Darlene

    Bye bye.

    Julie

    Bye.

    Angela

    How many of us suffer in silence in during our grief alone?

    And there are legions of us doing it. We have this wild, disparate and dispersed community that feels impossible to bring together under one big pet loss grief umbrella.

    So we learned to move forward on our own, building what Julie called traumatic resilience. It’s the ability to adapt, cope and recover from a traumatic event or loss, including, or especially the moment when we must say goodbye to our best for a friend.

    That decision none of us ever wants to make, but make it we must.

    And in the days after that decision, our daily routines are disrupted. We are left feeling empty and alone. And we face the complex range of emotions that come with grief, anger, guilt, sadness, fear, and so many more.

    To move forward, to build this resilience, we must acknowledge that what we’re feeling is real and valid. We must give ourselves permission to grieve, to cry, to miss our loyal companions. And we must understand that what we are feeling is a natural response to our loss.

    We must take care of ourselves, eat well get some sleep, go for that walk. Even if you don’t know what to do with your hands that aren’t holding the leash. I remember trying to walk without Shep by my side, just so that I could say I got up and got moving.

    It was awful.

    But the sunlight, the fresh air I needed them. And ultimately, those little walks kept me connected to my boy. And nine years later, even with a leash in my hand for Bella they still do. Which also helps me bring meaning to my life and Shep’s.

    Those hikes that I learned to love with him and continue with Bella, they fill my soul and honor his memory every step we take.

    And finally we must seek support. We should not suffer in silence or face this grief alone. This wild, disparate and dispersed community is connected in many ways. Whether it be through podcasts like One Last Network, a veterinary social worker like Julie Gass at MSPCA-Angell support groups on Facebook or in person, or professional counselors like our good friend Beth Bigler at honoringouranimals.com the resources are out there.

    And just as Darlene said, that’s what we’re trying to do, connect you to the resources you may need as your pet’s age, and when the end draws nearer. We can find comfort, validation, and a safe place to express our emotions.

    If you need did tell me a story about your pet, I am at the other end of an email. Drop me a note at angela@onelastnetwork.com. As much as I love telling stories, I love hearing them too.

    Next week I host Bryn Souza, a friend I met through the Dog Writers Association of America. She endured great pain and loss through 2022 and the beginning of this year, including the deaths of her two dogs, Yoda and Bean.

    She occasionally see signs from them, and she allows those signs to bring her comfort. Bryn shares her journey and why she chooses to be an eternal optimist.

    Until then.

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