BENJI – Shih Tzu, 11 years old
Benji lived with his “Mom” since he was a puppy, including being by her side during her final six days in our Martin Inpatient Unit. The patient’s elderly mother loved Benji but was conflicted about her ability to adequately care for him. Treasured Pets offered to assist in finding a new forever home for Benji, but the patient’s mother was not ready to part with him. Two weeks later, she reached out to Treasured Pets … it was time.
We immediately advertised Benji’s availability through our hospice network and in less than a week, Benji had a new loving home with a former Treasure Coast Hospice Case Manager and her husband, who works from home, as well as their own 11-year-old Shih Tzu for full-time companionship.
The patient’s mother said that knowing that Benji had a home where he could thrive again “helps me have some closure at (my daughter’s) passing.” She then shared with our Treasured Pets Volunteer the beautiful picture of her daughter holding Benji that she had chosen for her daughter’s memorial prayer card.
ACE – Labradoodle, 8 years old
When Ace’s hospice patient “Mom” passed away at our Martin Inpatient Unit, her two young adult sons continued to care for him, but he missed his Mom and craved more consistent interaction than they could provide. The patient’s stepmother, a former Treasure Coast Hospice staff member who had been heavily involved with Treasured Pets, contacted us to help find Ace a new forever home.
This case brought home to us the difficult choices that families have to make when facing the realty of surrendering a pet they love for the greater good. Through the Treasured Pets partnership with Nala’s New Life Rescue, Ace found a wonderful home with a retired couple where he is clearly “master of the household.” His newfound happiness is obvious in this picture with his new parents!
HANDSOME - Shih Tzu, 11 years old | LIZZIE - Poodle Mix, 10 years old
These adorable dogs are pictured here with Treasured Pets Volunteer Diana Traegler. Their “Mom” had unexpected complications after surgery and was admitted to the Martin Inpatient Unit, passing away shortly thereafter.
Though up in years, she had been very active and fully expected to have more time with Handsome & Lizzie. Treasured Pets promoted their adoption at the Treasure Coast Hospice Lakeside Stroll, where two young sisters participating in the event saw their pictures. Their grandmother was not so sure they were ready to adopt even one dog, however, the girls persisted. After a “meet & greet” – the girls fel in love with Lizzie and the grandmother fell in love with Handsome. Both dogs immediately had a new forever home!
CUPCAKES - Calico Cat, 7 years old
Cupcakes was the beloved companion of her Hospice patient “Dad”, who requested assistance from Treasured Pets with food and litter, which had become too heavy for him to manage. On the day of delivery, Cupcakes’ Dad did not answer his phone – calling hours later from the hospital where he had gone the prior evening. He was certain that Cupcakes would be frightened and confused by his absence and was grateful that the Treasured Pets Volunteer would be able to visit his home and comfort her until his out-of-town daughter could be there. Her Dad passed away several days later knowing that Treasured Pets would find Cupcakes a new forever home.
Treasured Pets connected with a widow in Palm City who was seeking a companion for her 1 yr. old Calico, Miss Muffet, and they fell in love with Cupcakes! When the patient’s daughter was told of the adoption, she said, “Thank you so much. It brings me peace knowing she has found a home and is loved and being cared for. I appreciate your kindheartedness! This makes my heart happy."
It’s a “journey of the heart” for one of our Treasured Pets Volunteers, Ethel Berkoff.
This story begins with a tabby cat named, Barnie. Barnie’s “Dad”, Frank, became a Hospice patient and was within days of passing away. So when it was time, Frank held his cat one last time by kissing Barnie goodbye and entrusting him into Ethel’s arms.
Ethel fostered Barnie until he was adopted by a widow. However, two years later, due changes in this widow’s circumstances, Barnie was returned to Ethel, so she adopted him. Ethel could not believe that Barnie would be coming back into her life years later! Barnie lived a wonderful life with Ethel until he passed away the week before Christmas. Ethel was devastated by the loss.
At the same time, Ethel knew that Max & Jax had recently been surrendered to Treasured Pets when their Hospice patient “Dad” passed. She admitted that as a Treasured Pets Volunteer, even while grieving, her heart should be open to new pets in her life, particularly ones like Max & Jax who were grieving their own loss. Ethel took Max & Jax home as foster cats. Ethel said, “They need to know that they have a new forever home with me. Barnie would want that.”
Whether it’s a dog or a cat – such is the heart of a Treasured Pets Volunteer!
When the hospice patient “Mom” of this beautiful bonded pair of parakeets passed, the TCH Social Worker advised Treasured Pets that they needed a new loving home together.
The caregiver daughter had dogs and cats of her own and couldn’t adopt them. A Treasured Pets Volunteer reached out to her animal advocate friends and arranged for Ursula Priebe, a local bird enthusiast, to meet with the daughter and assure her that she would personally find a home for Harley & Holly together through the Palm Beach Parrot & Bird Sanctuary. That very day, Ursula took Harley & Holly to her home and provided peace of mind to the bereaved daughter.
PRINCE - Shih Tzu Mix, 19 years old
Prince has been a Treasured Pet for the past eight years. We first met Prince back in 2014, the beloved pet of a Little Treasures pediatric patient. Although the child and her mother loved him, they did not have the resources to provide him the care he needed.
Our initial concern was that he was in dire need of grooming. He was immediately given a veterinary shave down to the skin under anesthesia, where it was discovered that he had a missing front paw, the underlying reason for his permanent limp.
When the Little Treasures patient aged out of the program, the TCH Clinical Team petitioned Treasured Pets to continue assisting with the care and maintenance of Prince so that he could have a good quality of life and remain in the home with the only family he had ever known. Despite his debility and advancing age, Prince has surprised everyone. He continues to enjoy the interaction with the Treasured Pets Volunteers he has met over the years and looks forward to his regular grooming visits at Prima Vista Animal Hospital as if they were “social outings”.
Here is a picture of Prince being transported home by our Treasured Pets Volunteer after his latest grooming. In March 2023, Prince celebrated his 20th birthday. Without the involvement of Treasured Pets, his life would be very different or non-existent. A True Miracle!
LYNNE GERAGHTY & LIBBY - Jack Russell
Lynne Geraghty, Treasured Pets Volunteer, was presented with an “Above & Beyond” award for her exceptional work with Libby and her parents.
Lynne recently completed a Treasured Pets Volunteer assignment that required every skill that she has in abundance! Our hospice patient and her caregiver husband requested assistance with their frail dog, Libby. Lynne assessed and addressed this rather dire situation with compassion and kindness toward the couple and Libby.
During one home visit, Lynne even had to call 911 for the patient’s husband, who was experiencing heart attack symptoms and had to be hospitalized. Lynne offered to foster Libby in her own home, and when she received the call that it was time, Lynne took Libby into her home and for a veterinary visit, where Libby was diagnosed with advanced kidney failure with very little time left. Lynne cared for her, bathed her, and watched TV with Libby on her lap. As the end neared, Lynne brought Libby back to say goodbye to her mom and dad. Once Libby passed, at the couple’s request, Lynne and her husband took care of Libby’s home burial.
Lynne certainly went “Above & Beyond” in so many ways to help this couple under very difficult circumstances, and to make Libby’s final days the best they could be. Lynne has wonderful instincts and a true Hospice Heart!