Community is, and always has been, focused on family — four legged and wet nosed members included. That’s where Pet Peace of Mind comes in, a program fully supported by donors and volunteers that helps with veterinary care, food, grooming, temporary foster care, adoption and more.
“It’s a very nice program for when families are losing so much,” said Jennie Renneberg, a volunteer for Community who specializes in Pet Peace of Mind. “They don’t have to lose their pet on top of everything else.”
Jennie chose to volunteer after her sister and Community employee Dormalee Earl, MSW, mentioned the need for more hands on deck. She knew that by contributing, she could help give relief to caregivers that needed rest. Part of that was taking pet care off their hands.
“Without exception, everyone thinks that their pet is special,” Jennie mentioned, pointing out similarities between all her Pet Peace of Mind patients. Unfortunately with age, basic pet care like walks around the park or wrangling a fussy loved one into a nail trim is near impossible without injuring oneself.
One of her most memorable assignments was a small dog named Scruffy. He was exactly that when Jennie first saw him. Scruffy’s parents became too weak to be able to lift him into the sink for a bath, and his nails were so long that they started to curl into his paws.
Jennie was able to step in and get Scruffy sorted. She took over the responsibility of driving him to the groomer and the vet so the caregivers could focus on giving Scruffy’s parents the delicate care needed to stay well.
“It made that much more difference in the dog’s life as well as the patients’,” Jennie said. “It was so gratifying.”
Pet Peace of Mind wants to keep pets and families together as long as possible during hospice care. After all, its pets that often bring the most comfort during low points in our lives.
As society returns to normalcy following this harrowing year, more and more of Community’s hospice patients are turning to Pet Peace of Mind to provide check-ups, medications and more to their special companions. Other Scruffies and volunteers like Jennie need your help managing the demand.
If you would like to lend a helping hand, submit a volunteer application online at chhh.org/volunteer. You can also donate to the Pet Peace of Mind program here.