This came up because a dear internet friend is facing terminal illness with her much much beloved lab … while chatting to her about the future I mentioned that I do something meaningful for and with the ones I love every day when their status is palliative. I wish I could say I do it for everyone every day. I don’t but I think I may work at it harder after writing this.

When Laurice died I did it right. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma after a painful bump came up on her leg. Every single day something special happened for her from diagnosis to death. I had started that with Rufus when he went into liver failure but missed some days. As a palliative foster parent we have had more chances than many people to figure out how to say – I love you, I value you, you are special to us.

  1. Go somewhere they enjoy alone with them. Even just sitting in a favourite park can be a pleasure.
  2. Do a short, slow version of a treasured walk. 
  3. Sit outside a store and be admired. 
  4. Go somewhere they enjoy with the family. Even if all they feel up to is watching a younger dog play they’ll enjoy it.
  5. Brush them gently in their favourite places. 
  6. Find some sun and sit in it together.
  7. Visit a pet friendly store. 
  8. Pick a BRAND new toy out and take it home with you. 
  9. Let go of some rules. Maybe they can lick a plate after meals? Get on your bed? You know your rules and your canine. Make it special. 
  10. Find a puddle they can lie in if they love to swim but can’t anymore. 
  11. Make a huge and very comfy bed for them for the times getting on a couch or the bed is too hard.
  12. Invite their human friends over for a visit. 
  13. Go visit favourite humans, trainers, vets, groomer – whoever makes your dog happy. 
  14. Go visit favourite non human friends or invite them over. 
  15. Go through a McDonald’s drive through and order them a plain cheeseburger, or chicken nuggets.
  16. Go through Timmies and get them a tim bit.
  17. Take them through the drive through with you.
  18. Read them a story
  19. Share an ice cream cone. 
  20. Tell them stories about when they were young. 
  21. Find someone who can do a reiki session for them. (or play, gently, with their energy fields yourself)
  22. If they are up to it and would enjoy it book a swim for them. 
  23. Make a little extra of your breakfast and share it. 
  24. Try making special dog treats yourself – with your dogs favourite ingredients. 
  25. Make a little extra lunch and share it. 
  26. Turn an extra heater on in winter, or an extra fan on them in summer. Let them be super super comfy. 
  27. Make a little extra of your dinner and share it. 
  28. Make sure you leave them, even if it’s not for long, so they can have the joy of welcoming you home. 
  29. Laugh with them. 
  30. Cup their chin in the palm of your hand and connect with them..
  31. Give them a puppy pad or  other indoor place to potty if they simply can’t hold it anymore. 
  32. Cry with them. 
  33. When you get frustrated or sad explain why to them and let it go. 
  34. Learn a couple of TTOUCH moves and practise them with your dog. (I love raccon personally) 
  35. Book a massage for them. 
  36. Sit quietly with them in a peaceful place watching the birds or squirrels or whatever. 
  37. Make a fun ritual of medication time – premack the meds with something awesome. Pills and shots predict GREATNESS!
  38. Make a video or slide show of your favourite clips of them. 
  39. Share your clip with friends – and tell your dog all the great things they say.
  40. Go for a drive to see something new – cows? horses? a waterfall? 
  41. Teach them a new trick
  42. Watch animal shows on tv with them. 
  43. Review an old favourite trick.
  44. Pat and scratch them their favourite ways not the easy ways. 
  45. Brush up on a trained skill. 
  46. Have a photo shoot – pro or friend with props and silly stuff .
  47. Look into their eyes and smile or make your mutally favourite face. 
  48. Let them lick you if they love to do so. 
  49. Feed them an extra meal in a day. 
and of course
  50. Tell them you love them when you awaken, when you go to sleep and a million times in between.