Saturday, April 7, 2012

German Shepherd Dog Hospice

Our previous German Shepherd Dog, Max, lived for 13 and a half years.  As he aged, his snout turned silver and his joints grew stiffer with arthritis but it was an inoperable cancer that eventually brought him down.  One day he let us know it was time for him to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

We knew of a vet who would come to the house to administer euthanasia and gave him a call.  We were able to sit with Max on his mat outdoors in the sunshine next to the pool and in the yard he had guarded so well for so many years.  He was in our arms as we hand fed him freshly cooked chicken, distracting him from the vet’s needle as he slipped into unconsciousness and beyond.  Max left this life unafraid and in the arms of people who loved him.  We are eternally grateful to the vet who was willing to come to the house and allow Max to die amid familiar surroundings.

Shortly after that, I learned about the Thulani Program associated with the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California.  The Thulani Program provides hospice services for GSD who have limited life expectancy due to age or infirmary, but still have quality life left.  It is powered by very special people who have the emotional courage to foster a German Shepherd Dog, providing love, comfort, and care, all the while knowing that grief will soon be following.  I don’t have that fortitude myself, though I support the program in ways that I can.  [If you haven’t yet clicked on the Thulani Program link on my blog, please check it out at ]

Hospice and palliative care services are available for our species, too, though largely misunderstood by the public and underutilized by health care professionals.  End of life issues are difficult to consider and discuss.  We all deserve compassion and comfort as we leave this life; learn what services are available to help.


  1. what a wonderful service and so sweet to have the time with your wonderful max--thanks for sharing this important information <3

  2. Beautiful post, and beautiful picture of a great dog. You described his last moments so wonderfully. He was as blessed in his time with you as you were with him.

  3. What a lovely and touching post. You are blessed to have had such a beloved pet.

  4. I love German Shepherds for their loving nature and intelligence. Did you know that in Britain we used to call them Alsations....though I don't know why.
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around # 802 in A to Z list today)

  5. Sounds like a great program and I adore your photos!

    xoxo Lloralye @ Adorning Schemes A to Z