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How to Help Your Animal Live Well Through the Last Breath!

At BrightHaven, we often say that it’s all about living well through the last breath!

But what exactly does that mean?

Living Well Though the Last Breath the BrightHaven Way

BrightHaven is unique because of the way we work and the results we get. Our Menu for Healing forms the foundation of our work. It focuses on achieving the best quality of life at each and every life stage, all the way to the most peaceful and loving dying process.

This menu is also affectionately known as “The Love Sandwich” as it begins and ends with love. We feel that the healing power of love can never be overstated!

Oliver & Joey

We developed our healing approach by following the wisdom of the animals. They’ve clearly shown us that positive changes to diet and other aspects of healthcare can significantly improve one’s health and wellbeing regardless of one’s current physical condition.

Our principles for living well at BrightHaven at every life stage also include:

  • Finding joy and having fun
  • Living each day fully
  • Understanding that every day of life is a gift
  • Using creativity to find solutions to challenges
  • Sharing special moments

Living Well During Hospice Care & End of Life

When looking at the external signs of illness, advancing age and approaching death, it may seem strange to talk about living well. However, being in an optimal state of balance and living well can be achieved no matter what!

At BrightHaven, we focus on healing, which is different from cure. Healing is an internal process and is all about restoring harmony of body, mind and spirit. Healing can occur without a cure, which is defined as the absence of symptoms.

We follow our Menu for Healing all the way through the end of an animal’s life. We may make dietary changes to accommodate a waxing and waning appetite and often forgo diagnostics in the final stage. However, our goal remains to keep the animals as balanced and comfortable as possible so that the dying process may be as gentle as possible.

Preparing a carriage fit for a queen!

Here is a perfect example of applying the BrightHaven “living well” principles I listed above during the hospice period. As you’ll see, hospice care is definitely not all gloom and doom!

My dog Silver and I loved to walk. We covered many miles and shared many adventures during our nearly nine years together, out in nature and exploring the world.

During the last few weeks of her life, Silver was no longer ambulatory; this loss of mobility is a normal part of the dying process. I carried her out into her beloved the garden to get fresh air, but something was missing…

My good friend and longtime BrightHaven volunteer June North quickly organized a wagon so that I could take Silver for rides around the property and neigh­borhood. I fixed it up with towels and bedding, and even added an umbrella to shield her from the sun when needed.

Silver LOVED her new chariot! Seeing her so serene and thoroughly enjoying her ride brought me as much joy as it brought her. I could tell that moving around in the fresh air was very healing for Silver. We shared a few more wagon outings before she died peacefully about a week later.

Hospice care at it’s finest!

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln

BrightHaven Resources to Help Your Animal to Live Well Through the Last Breath

  • Gail and Mr. Woody
    Gail and Mr. Woody

    Do you have questions about how BrightHaven’s holistic healing or animal hospice care approaches can help your animal? Book a consultation with Gail by sending an email to

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