When Luna’s owner entered hospice care at The Villages in Florida, the future was uncertain for the lonely-eyed Staffordshire terrier-boxer mix. She was admitted to a local veterinary clinic and, when her owner died, she was put up for adoption. Luna found a new home with Peggy Maina, a 69-year-old retired special education teacher, who had searched dozens of web listings for a dog to keep her company.
“It seemed like an animal I could relate to,” recalls Maina, who lives in The Villages.
Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, a local health care organization, arranged the adoption through its pet program, which is affiliated with Pet Peace of Mind, a national organization.
“Our goal is for all of our patients to have a plan for their pet,” says Lisa Gray, Cornerstone program coordinator. But when no plan is in place, the show will try to find a new home for a dog or cat, sometimes by posting photos of pets on its Facebook page.
While no reliable statistics are available, Luna’s story is all too common, according to animal welfare organizations.
“It happens almost every day. People get in touch with me and say, My dad has gone to hospice and the dogs have to go somewhere,” says Amy Shever, founder and director of 2nd Chance 4 Pets, a nonprofit organization based in New York. in Sacramento, California, which helps people plan for the possibility that their pets may outlive them. “That’s the hard part, when it becomes desperate.”