Hospice Tails – The Animal Companions Who Journey With Hospice Patients and their Families
by Debra Stang
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc.
Source: I received a free copy of this book for my participation in WoW Blog Tours. All opinions are my own.
Hospice Tails shares the stories of those without voices. This books tells the stories of fourteen pets and the role they played when their loved one was ill or dying. The stories range from sad to touching to downright hysterical. There was King, who had the hospice nurses very nervous. Until they realized he was a lap dog in a pit bull’s body. Jasper and Jackie, Amazon parrots who put on a daily concert for their owner, even on the last day of his life. As an Alzheimer’s patient’s world shrunk Washington, a golden retriever, became the only “person” he recognized. This book is ideal for animal lovers as well as those who are caretakers—either as a profession or for a loved one.
At less than 100 pages, this short book documents the stories of fourteen hospice patients as they battle through illness and death; but more than that, these short vignettes show us how their animal companions impacted their lives. There is little room in each of the stories for more than a glimpse of how each of these animals affected the patients, but the glimpse was heartrending. Some stories are funny, some a bit bizarre, and others downright tearjerkers (have that box of tissues handy!). I found myself crying more for the animals who were losing their beloved masters than for the humans who were passing on! The author is able to capture the essence of the human-animal relationship is such a profound, but succinct way. This book is continued proof for me that animals just “know” and “get” us humans, if that makes any sense. I think animal people will know what I’m talking about!
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone in the medical field, those who love animals, or those who are just looking for a quick, heartwarming read. I think I read it in just over an hour, with a couple of interruptions, so it goes pretty quickly, but will definitely cause you to love on your pet when you are done!
About the Author:
In addition to her parents and two sisters, Debra’s family includes four cats. The current crew includes a grouchy nine-year-old named Achilles; an orange tabby and alpha male named, appropriately enough, Alexander, and a black and white long-haired cat with attitude named Leroux. Then there’s the foster cat named Pumpkin. Of course it all started with a three-month-old brown-and-gray tabby named Calypso who had strong feeling about most people. And not warm fuzzy feelings. Calypso even had the dubious honor of being banned by not one, but two vets.
When not caring for cats or writing, Debra spent many years as a social worker. She worked with AIDS patients, emergency room patients, and those with Alzheimer’s. Her final years as a social worker were spent with hospice patients. Although some would view that as a depressing job Debra chose to view herself as a catalyst helping people make their final hopes and dreams come true. Sometimes it was making up with a family member after a decades long feud or leaving behind the stress of the office to reconnect with another aspect of their personality.
Debra took a clue from her patients and recently decided her writing – for years a part-time career – couldn’t wait any longer. Worried she would become one of those people who would one day say, “I wish I had…” she handed in her resignation and is now living her dream as a full time writer.