Elizabeth's cat - Fiona. Credit: Elizabeth Allen

Learn how the Animal Hospice Group transformed a passionate animal lover into an Animal Hospice Practitioner

You don’t know that your passion will lead you towards your dream job. But if your passion has anything to do with animals, it’s a most distinct possibility. My first animal, a white cat called Fiona, walked me through many life changes and then passed away from mammary cancer. During her last year, together we walked the progressive path of heart-centered-care – hospice. If you had asked me at that time, I would not have been able to find the words to describe what was taking place. I promised myself if I recovered from this loss, I would help other pet parents do the same.

Elizabeth and Juno. Credit: Elizabeth Allen

I began working in the veterinary industry, training under a holistic veterinarian for several years and then into the natural pet food industry, continuing my love of animals along the way. What truly moved me into animal hospice was my precious cat Elibrown. When his heart was failing, we took him home to die in peace and comfort, and there was no doubt in my mind that he would pass in a process I would later know as hospice-supported natural death. When Eli exhaled his last living breath and stretched his legs out into the next world, I was sold. This is what I came here to do. The “how” just wasn’t the question.  My question really was “when?”

Life has a way of putting the right people in your path at the right time, and a wonderful house call veterinarian who saw my love of hospice asked me to come work for her mobile end-of-life business. During those seven years, I saw a common thread woven through the entire experience: “we love our animals” and “I loved my work”. However, I saw a gap in care that was not being filled and that gap was a lack of hospice-supported end-of-life care along with support for pets and their people. There was more than one path for end-of-life, and it was not being offered as a viable option. For those animal lovers who did not hold euthanasia as their first choice and were interested in a natural end of life for their pet, they needed the education and support to make that happen.

Enter Animal Hospice Group – or AHG – a not-for-profit organization focused on providing education, training, and certification in the field of animal hospice care.

As one of their two programs, the AHG has built their unique Animal Hospice Certification. They are committed to helping, educating, and certifying ANYONE and EVERYONE, to include veterinary team members, animal and family practitioners, and “just” devoted caregivers like I had been at the outset of my journey.

During those months of study, I delved deep into learning how I could provide pet parents with the opportunity to appreciate options for quality-of-life until the end of without fear and with professional support. A whole new world of information became available through their online, on-demand lectures, and I met like-minded fellow students in our regular live discussion groups on Zoom. Before I had even completed the curriculum, I had quit my job and began to create my own website and business plan.

When my fellow classmates and I embark on our Internship on the AHG’s Animal Hospice Helpline, those who had never done this type of work before will be able to build confidence while being mentored by the four incredibly dedicated founders and pioneers in the field of death and dying for animals. Through the Animal Hospice Certification and their Helpline, their knowledge and experience will pass on to our next generation.

This cannot be found anyplace else. If you have the passion for animal hospice, I urge you to follow your dream and dive into the world of animal hospice – helping animals die compassionately and supporting their caregivers to live through it. Learn more about Animal Hospice group at www.animalhospicegroup.org and reach out for support, information and guidance at www.animalhospicehelpline.org.