SCRANTON, Pa. — Thatcher, a 5-year-old sheltie-Eskimo mix, is feeling a little lost as he gets checked by a vet in Scranton. Thatcher was living with his owner while she was receiving care at Allied Services Hospice Center in Wilkes-Barre.
She recently passed away, and Thatcher didn't have a home. But he won't be lost for too much longer because of the Pet Peace of Mind program.
The program helps hospice patients stay with and enjoy their pets as long as possible. After the owner passes away, volunteers help place the pets in a good home.
"It gives them the peace of mind knowing that their pet was going to go to a home that will love it as much as they did," said Laurie Fleming, volunteer coordinator for Allied Services Hospice.
Allied Services reached out to Elaine Carroll with Northeast Pa. Pet Fund and Rescue. Carroll was happy to be part of this program. She has cared for many pets over the years whose owners have passed away.
"This basically has been something that has been near to my heart because I'm a senior, and I talk to my family and tell them what I want them to do with my pets if I happen to pass on," Carroll said.
The rescue puts surrendered dogs into foster homes rather than a shelter because dogs tend to shut down in a shelter setting.
"The noise, not knowing where they are, why they're there — it's horrible for them. So to be in a home is a little less traumatic for them even though it's not their family," Carroll said.
The organizations that help fund this program provide financial relief to the pet owner in hospice and those who want to be the pet's next family.
"The adoptee, there's no cost; we cover all of that. Also, we get the pet ready to be adopted so that it's much easier for the pet to be adopted," Fleming said.
Thatcher won't be lonely much longer. Three families have already applied to give him a forever home.
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