Running a senior rescue, primarily a hospice one, I get asked all the time how I do it. How I handle the frequent and devastating loss. How I pick myself back up again when it happens. Newman Nation was founded in December 2016 with the mission to save senior pets. When 7 of the very first 10 seniors saved turned out to be hospice cases, I rethought the mission, placing emphasis on seniors with the most limited time from things like very old age, cancer, organ failure, etc.
I’ve compiled some words from my incredible senior foster base – the people on the front lines of this worthy cause, hoping to inspire others to take the plunge.
“To [hospice] foster is to feel your heart swell ten-fold and then shatter 100-fold, often too soon. And [yet] I gladly/sadly do it over and over. Bringing peace to a traumatized animal is something you can do to make a difference. Make a difference. It’s awesome.” –Nancy
“16-year old Coco changed my world and helped me find the joy in making her new [second chance at] life the best. It truly was about making the ‘dash’ count. Trips to the dog park, ice cream, being part of a family, her own dog bed, special dog treats and being an honored part of a big pack were all part of Coco’s ‘dash.’ We only knew Coco 79 days, but she affected my heart FOREVER and let me to hospice and senior fostering today.” –Jenny
“Fostering senior pets is a way of thanking those that came before them, as well as celebrating the love they never cease to give. It reminds me to be patient and forgiving, and most importantly, humble. [Senior pets] manage to be so loving, regardless of past circumstances or health.” –Lisa
“A Steel Magnolias quote comes to mind when I think of the seniors I’ve fostered… ‘I’d rather have 30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special’.’” –Holly
“Someone recently asked me why I continue taking in senior animals when each time I know that I’m setting myself up for inevitable heartbreak, usually sooner rather than later. I told them that any dog or cat you share your life with, whether they join you in the dawn or the dusk of their life, will have to leave eventually and it will never feel like it was enough time. My heart might get broken more often throughout my life than someone who isn’t involved in senior rescue, but I know that no matter how much time I have with them, I still wouldn’t trade for the world the privilege of loving these beautiful old souls.” –Rebecca
“These precious seniors are more than worth any heartbreak that comes our way. Giving them the happy, peaceful life they deserve outweighs any bit of sadness we endure when losing them. Wallace, by far, will always be my most memorable [hospice] boy. I think of him daily and it makes me so sad to think of the life he lived prior [to being fostered]. [However], remembering him happy, safe and passing away being held in complete content and truly knowing what it is to be loved… I never want to stop making that happen for these guys.” –Haley
I truly believe that some seniors are unable to pass until they feel a sense of security. There have been numerous near-death, special needs seniors coming to us from shelters that have passed within the week. This may be viewed as coincidence by the cynical, but Newman Nation feels that it’s imperative to provide a comfortable, peaceful and supportive environment for those that need help crossing the Rainbow Bridge. No animal wants to die alone on a cold metal table or on the cold concrete floor of a shelter kennel, surrounded by strangers just there to get the job done and move on to the next unfortunate soul.
Consider doing something outside of your comfort zone. Something that strips your heart to the bone. Don’t focus on the length of time, but on the quality. Hospice foster a senior cat or dog. We promise it will change your life.