Annual Update 2017


Recently Peaceful Passing for Pets received the following email:

“Tragedy has struck home for me.  Our 13-year-old Golden Retriever Ben has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and we are trying to come to terms with end of life decisions.  It is incredibly challenging and the most difficult decision that I have debated upon in my life, so far. We brought Ben home when he was six weeks old, and he has been my big guy ever since. My husband and I need support and guidance as we make these heart-wrenching decisions.”

It’s for situations like this that Peaceful Passing for Pets exists.

Our Vision is: “Every pet with a terminal condition will have the opportunity to receive compassionate, coordinated hospice care in their home””

Our Mission is: “To ensure that pet owners, the veterinary professional team and the hospice professional team are provided the resources and practical tools to accomplish our vision”.

  1. Peaceful Passing for Pets is a ground-breaking initiative that is the way small animal practice is going.
  1. We are creating a model that can be replicated and won’t be just for the ‘lucky few’.
  1. By partnering with clinics, we will enable veterinarians to offer the full scope and philosophy of home hospice care to pet owners facing end-of-life care for a beloved pet.
  1. By partnering with veterinary clinics, we will provide professional support to lighten the load of veterinarians who are confronting the crisis and grief of pet owners facing a terminal diagnosis of their pet.
  1. We have an outstanding Board of Directors and have been working for over two years to carefully lay a solid foundation that follows the 2016 AAHA/IAAHPC End-of-life Care Guidelines.
  1. We are built on the wisdom and input from veterinarians.
  2. We are built on the wisdom, input and passion of pet owners wanting the option of home hospice care for their pet
  1. Our pets deserve to have their love honored in this way
  2.  This is the RIGHT THING TO DO.


2017 Annual Update

Our manual A Caregivers Guide to Pet Hospice Care”, authored by Ruth Gordon, has just been published!  It’s a helpful reference for families facing end-of-life of a beloved pet providing answers to questions about all aspects of pet home hospice care including: pain and symptom management, end-of-life questions, how to comfort your pet, making difficult decisions and grief support.

Our Board Member, Dr. Michael Henson, gave the following quote regarding “A Caregivers Guide to Pet Hospice Care”:

“We love them so much, we want tender loving care for our pets through all stages of life, including near the end. Having choices in care is empowering and provides the best opportunity for comfort, dignity, and peace for all members of the family, two-legged and otherwise. Palliative care and hospice are the right choices for many families when their pets become ill. This long-awaited resource provides much needed help for the caregivers and, through them, the pets they love”.

Michael Henson DVM, PhD, DACVIM


peacefulpassingforpets_caregiversguide_coverIn addition to being a reference guide for all our future hospice clients, it is available to the public and may be ordered from the publisher, Finney Company for $12.95 at: and on Amazon.

  • Our website ( provides a wealth of information and support for pet owners whose beloved pets are at end-of-life.  At the 2017 MVMA Conference we met many veterinarians who have been challenged to help client families needing information and guidance when dealing with a pet at end-of-life. Many veterinarians don’t have the resources or time to devote to these client questions.

The goal of our website is to provide one primary place where pet owners can go for end-of-life information. By providing information, as well as links to quality websites and articles, we hope to support pet owners during this challenging and heartache time.

Pet owners will find links to information and resources on:

  • Grief support
  • Making decisions on timing for euthanasia
  • ‘Quality of Life’ assessment tools
  • How to support children
  • Memorial options
  • and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, like:
    • What is hospice for pets?
    • What is palliative care?
  • Our Care Coordinator Role has been created to mirror the role of the human hospice case manager.  The Care Coordinator position will be filled by professionals who have a strong psycho/social/spiritual foundation. We anticipate that individuals who apply for the position will include RN’s, chaplains, social workers, seasoned vet techs and veterinarians.   Our Operations Committee is working to further define the working role, processes and procedures.  We are working closely with Dr. Julia Wilson, Executive Director at the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine, to make sure we are in compliance with Minnesota regulations guiding veterinary care and responsibilities.
  • Our Core Curriculum Course is being developed. Over the past year our Board and Committee members, along with other members of the veterinary profession, have been creating and recording content for our Core Curriculum Course covering essential aspects of end-of-life veterinary care, the hospice philosophy of care with its interdisciplinary focus, as well as the ancillary services provided through Peaceful Passing for Pets.  All Peaceful Passing for Pets staff will be required to complete the course, and it will also be available to the staff of clinics with whom we partner.  Upon recommendation by Dr. Henson, our Board of Directors is considering making the course available on our website for anyone who might benefit from it. This would strengthen our commitment to provide educational resources to veterinarians, pet owners and the public at large.
  • Our Honor Their Love” Funding Campaign was recently launched.  Our goal is to raise $262,000 so we can hire staff, secure office space and establish the capital foundation needed to move forward with a roll-out of our home care service. We have raised $117,000.
  • Our Operations Committee is working diligently on setting the stage for our “Pilot Clinic” starting early in 2018. We are privileged that Shady Oaks Veterinary Hospital, Minnetonka, Minnesota, accepted our request to be our first pilot. Dr. Michelle Vaughn is a veterinarian at Shady Oaks who participated in our Veterinarian Focus Group. Working with Shady Oaks as a pilot will enable us to “work out the procedural bugs”, establish protocols for grief follow-up and Pet Loss Support Groups and provide quality checks as we establish a seamless service delivery system.  Once our initial Pilot Project is complete we will partner with the additional clinics who want to offer pet hospice care and have requested to partner.
  • Our multidisciplinary hospice team members have been identified and are ready and waiting to be hired including:
    • Care Coordinators
    • Chaplains
    • Social Workers
    • Pet Complementary Therapists


We will be moving forward with our Pilot Clinic as we continue to raise the necessary funding.

Our goal is to raise $262,000 so we can hire staff, secure office space and establish the capital foundation needed to reach out to the many clinics who have requested to partner with Peaceful Passing for Pets.

We have raised $117,000.

Once we are established on-going financial support will come from:

  • Fee for service revenue
  • Grants
  • Donations


We are eager to have our Board Members present Peaceful Passing for Pets at home parties, within organizations or for any group of pet lovers in any setting.

Please email with any suggestions you might have for us to present Peaceful Passing for Pets.


Paula Sallmen
Executive Director


Mike Kirkwood

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Home Hospice Care, Symptom Management, and Grief Support

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