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Old 11-25-2008, 06:29 AM   #1
k9mania
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Winter Contest - Different Kind of Contest

OK, I have noticed that many of my friends and people on here have a hard time knowing how to care for their senior dogs. Most of the time, I only notice when the end is near but many older dogs have arthritis and people don't exercise them enough to keep them as mobile as possible. Also, many people let their senior dogs become overweight.

I was talking to a vet tech last week and said that I thought a senior care program with a hospice component would be an interesting service.

The contest for this month is:

I would like people to pretend that they were starting such a service. What would it look like? In other words, what components would you include in the senior dog service; the hospice service; what would you pay for such a service? What types of skills should the people providing the service have? What do you think of the idea?

I will read each one of them and draw from the best ones this times instead of drawing from all of them.

The prizes will be:

2 paintings
3 Journal subscriptions either Whole Dog Journal or Your Dog


Have fun with this. This is actually something that could fly. Anyone who wanted to put the best parts of all of the ideas together could start their own such service if they had the skills.
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:56 AM   #2
cockermom93
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I won't have the best answer but...

This would have to be a big building! I would offer many different services, they would all be in different areas of the building some what like a hospital only not as dreary. I would have at least one or two Veterinarians on staff with full service Animal Hospital. I would have a section dedicated to things such as physical therapy/ excersize. ie swimming pool and treadmills among other things. Wether or not the dog had a recovering wound or just as a prevention. I would employ vet techs to assist owners in this area, and would also employ vet techs/vets to go to the home of a patient in a way like Hospice for humans, daily care, cleaning, medicating so the owner doesn't have to do so. I would have counselors to help a grieving owner or an owner who has a difficult choice ahead. I would also incorperate a no kill senior center adoption program for those who can't find a home as easily as the youngsters. That is all I can think of but I am sure there is sooo much more that could be done and I can't wait to hear them! Good thread K9.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:27 AM   #3
k9mania
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Good start Could you go mobile too? Just a thought. As you begin to answer, think about what issues many senior dogs face that people sometimes need a bit of help on. Also, remember that these services don't necessarily only include coping skills for the senior dog
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:45 AM   #4
ann_hawes
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I would want to offer mobile service, with a vet as medical director. The service would offer consultations for senior dogs needing equipment due to decreased mobility ie;ramps to get in and out of vehicles, on and off beds or other comfortable furniture, specialty beds, slings to allow the animal to stand and relieve themselves, ways to improve quality of life for dogs losing sight or hearing, and tips to help keep the animal healthy and mobile. The vet would offer medical and holistic approaches to help an aging animal.

The hospice piece would be the most fulfilling. Making sure that the last months, weeks, and days with the animal are rich with comfort and memories would be the top priority. It would offer massage therapy, pain management, information on hydration, and on the dying process to facilitate the owner keeping the animal at home with them. Respite services should be available for families that have to leave the home but don't want to leave the animal alone.

The animal would be able to stay in it's home with it's family and have a vet that would actually provide housecalls to perform euthanasia, with their family surrounding them and comforting them. Memorial services and grief counseling should be available after the death of the pet.

The literal meaning of Hospice is "a place of shelter". A well-trained vet tech could assess and report to the vet to provide for the needs of the animal, which would keep the cost down. A flat fee of perhaps $300 could cover one month of service with one visit weekly if medications and equipment were charged for separately.

Last edited by ann_hawes : 11-25-2008 at 11:57 AM.

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Old 11-26-2008, 09:13 PM   #5
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My facility would include both outside and inside areas in which dogs can be.

Outside: The outside facility would be completely covered in grass. There will be trees in areas and open campuses in others. These would serve the purpose of walking the dogs. Sometimes senior dogs like to sunbath, so ample space will be provided to fill this purpose. The area would be away from highly trafficated areas, and would be completely fences (nice looking fence ), to make sure that nothing (animal or otherwise) can access the area that would/could potentially harm the dogs. Should the dog be more of the aloof type, a person would be assigned to supervise this dog from a short distance.

The outside will also include a small warmed pool. Swimming is thereputical for bones and recuperating, and again the dog's caretaker would supervise that the dog is ok and that no harm comes to it.

Inside: The inside will be divided into two floors. There will rooms to let dogs rest, should they need to. All senior dogs will be provided a heated bed to help with bone pains and mobility. Play rooms will be set up for the more playful senior dogs. Soft toys will be available, nothing that could potentially harm the dog's teeth.

Inside there will also be another heated pool area. Starting with really shallow area, then getting deeper enough to allow dogs to swim a bit. People will be assigned to dogs in the pool to assist in swimming should it be needed.

All areas within and outside the facility would include slopes that would alleviate the strain that some stairs might put on the bones. Elevators will be provided to access second floor.

Also areas designated for bigger senior dogs will be seperate from older smaller dogs, and there will be an area where any dog can be taken in, for those that are ok with it.

Faculty/Staff: Certified pet dog walkers will be in charge to take the dogs for walks and accompany them from place to place. There will also be certified dog massagers to help with relaxing and soothing massages that can be beneficial for senior dog's bones and overall health. Certified vet and vet-techs would be on hand should medical emergencies occur and to review the dog's overall health and to asses what programs the dog should be put into to help its health. They would also test for any possible transmissble disease to prevent the spread of any illness. Lastly and most importantly Certified APDT behaviorlist/trainers will be available to asses behaviors and compatibility with certain programs.

Programs:

Pet massage: This program will be available to help with bone and general health.

Diet Consultation and weight loss programs will be covered by holistic vets (not regular vets), and by vets specializing in pet nutrition. They will teach the owner of the do's and don't's of how to keep a healthy weight or to take off some pounds.

SD (Senior Dog) Seminars: Will be help in which owners will be instead to attent to increase awarness of the things that owners should do to make the last years of their dogs the best years.

Mobile: If for some reason owners can't drop off/pick up their pets at the facility, there will be some drivers that can pick them up.

Socialization & Revitalization Program: This program will serve two purposes. The program would designate one area for older dogs to meet with puppies. The puppies would be fully vaccinated (hardly pups I know ), and will always be moderated by vet-techs and dog behaviorists. The two purposes this serves is to correctly socialize pups with older dogs, and the second is to revitalize older dogs. Sometimes some older dogs get depressed but as soon as a pup comes in their life they spark up, this isn't a rule of thumb but its a program that will certainly have its benefits.

Overnight Care: If an owner can't take care of their senior dog for an extended period of time, we would be able to provide 7 day care for them. Anything longer will have to be payed seprately.

Cost: Because of the extent of the facilties, the programs, and staff that is available I think it would be reasonable to have a membership program where monthly bills would be mailed out. $50 a month would pay for a year membership.

*Ok I admit I went overboard, its more like a fantasy facility.lol. Hope its ok, I could tone it down a bit *
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:25 PM   #6
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Jr_K9_Expert you did not go overboard. I want people to make it the ideal. If people think about this..it is a potential business that would be somewhat recession proof. Ann, mobile is good. Do you all think it should be a combination.
Don't think because someone else came up with a similar idea that you should not put in your submission. It is about putting the pieces together. Like in human care for the elderly, we are just beginning to innovate and provide services that enhance the quality of life in relation to their aging bodies and minds.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:12 PM   #7
ann_hawes
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Originally Posted by k9mania View Post
Ann, mobile is good. Do you all think it should be a combination.
Don't think because someone else came up with a similar idea that you should not put in your submission. It is about putting the pieces together. Like in human care for the elderly, we are just beginning to innovate and provide services that enhance the quality of life in relation to their aging bodies and minds.
I really wouldn't like the idea of taking my senior or terminally ill dog anywhere and leaving them, even for a few hours. Dogs like the comfort of home, and even moreso when they don't feel well. When Rom was diagnosed with cancer, I would have gladly paid for Hospice services, but only if the services were brought to my home. There truly is a need for this type of service.
A therapy spa for dogs recovering from surgery sounds nice, but again, when my dogs are hurt or vulnerable, I want them at home with me. I don't trust anyone else to care for them like I would, but am always willing to listen to advice about making them more comfortable. I've been thinking of all of the aging dogs I've cared for and I would want the place that they LIVE to work better for them.
Just my opinion though. I'm interested in the ideas of others.

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Old 11-27-2008, 08:22 PM   #8
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I think this business should be both a building to bring a senior to, and also people who go to the home of the senior.

The Senior Dog Center: At the age a dog is concidered to be senior, the dog could be brought to a Senior Center. Early detection for some senior illness is essential and we would advertise a consultation for anyone with a dog entering their senior years, maybe the current vet would suggest a meeting with their pacients that are the appropreate age. At the early indication of arthritus, pool time at a local senior dog center would be suggested. A certified dog lifegaurd will assist the dog with some low impact swimming in the pool. A knowlegable tech or Vet would assess the dog and determine the best treatment for the future to prolong the health of the dog. The senior dog center would provide nutritionists, vets, phyiso therapists, massage therapysts, Groomers with dermatology knowlege for aging skin issues, hearing and eye tests to help owners determine what the dog is dealing with. If needed a specialized trainer could work with owners to add signs into the animals daily activites to deal with hearing loss, and touch therapy or touch training for dogs with eye sight loss. The owners would be in charge of the training with the aid of the trainer. Nerve testing to help indicate early signs of loss of limb movement. The Senior Center would have councling for people dealing with the loss of their beloved dog and also programs to deal with everyday issues. Experts would be brought in to give talks in an audatorium. We would have a department that specializes in senior guide or service dog, we would work closely with the owners and local guide/service dog companies to provide appropreate assistance. We would provide any product required to assist the dog in everyday life such as: Slings to help imoble dogs stand to pee, wheelchair type apparatus to alow a dog with paralisis move around, ramps to aid in ease of movement to one area to another.

Our Mobile Unit - Slings, wheelchair type divices, ramps, and any other product required to support a happy senior life would be provided and installed if nessasary. Massage therapists would be available to come and melt away aches and pains in your home. A vet who understands senior dogs would be available to do check-ups at your home or in the final time put the animal down in the home it's always felt safe in. A nutritionist would be provided to people who need it. Someone would come to your home and assess any safety issues with a senior dog eg. Stairs to the outside, slipery floors, bathtime (in and out of a tub). All the experts and treatments, except the pool for physio therapy, would be provided to you in your home.
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k9mania View Post
The contest for this month is:
I would like people to pretend that they were starting such a service. What would it look like? In other words, what components would you include in the senior dog service; the hospice service; what would you pay for such a service? What types of skills should the people providing the service have?
Lots of acreage and at least 4 buildings.
Bldg 1 - reception area, social room for the dogs (and owners), vet area, medical supplies, exam rooms, surgical areas and other similar aspects of a traditional vets office - only geared towards the elderly and their problems. Dog carts, slings, ramps (in all buildings), etc.
Bldg 2 - swimming pool, indoor track, underwater assisted exercise, agility courses, indoor play area.
Bldg 3 - Large rooms with raised/cushioned dog beds, toys, food/water bowls and sound monitors (for the vet techs to be able to hear if something "strange" happens), visual monitors (to go along with sound), doggy door to an outside area that is enclosed yet allows the dog to relieve itself in the middle of the night if necessary and in a controlled environment *also with cameras outside*. This building is like the resort/hotel section with medical assistance if needed.
Bldg 4 - Socialization classes held in this building. Owners are also taught how to deal with old age and certain medical problems that accompany it. Taught how to help their aging dog with home therapy as well as other forms along with vet help/medicine. Doggy accupuncture is available in this building as well as doggy massage.

Obviously this establishment would accomodate at least 50 dogs at any given time. One would need at least 6 veteranarians on hand, 15 vet techs (with actual schooling, not just hired off the street), 5 doggy accupuncturists, 3 life guards, 7 therapists, 5 massage therapists, 5 video surveillance/audio monitors and approximately 10 dog walkers. Owners would be required to help in certain situations during the day so they would understand what to do once they left (if they could leave) and to be a source of comfort and stability in their lives (if they were there long term).

Start up costs would be significant and require loans or funding from similar organizations. Possibly government help (unless you had quite a few hundred thousand $'s to spare).

Prices would vary per dog depending on the length of their stay (long or short term) and their physical condition. Also what they would need in terms of special treatment, medications, food management, etc.
I would say a 3 week stay (anything less is going to be pointless and will not do much to help the dog) would cost approximately $1600. I'm guess-timating based on the average, non medical, kennel costing $25/night with no services but feeding & walking. Avg 1 wk stay at a basic kennel is $175 so I'm essentially tripling the price due to everything involved. Granted, it could be cheaper depending on other sources of income involved.

Guess that's about all I can think of right now. Hope it works. This is all under the assumption that some dogs can go home, at least for brief periods of time, before coming back for another 3 wk stay.

For those long term patients (that can't leave). They'll still have their owners *as previously stated* involved in their daily lives...worst case they will be "fostered" by another family if the owners surrender the dog or if something happens to the owner.

MOBILE Unit - would be a door to door service offered 3x a week to older patients, not necessarily considered elderly or disabled yet. Mobile water therapy unit, massage therapist and accupuncturist, vet to offer in home physical or refill existing medications.
Tony, Kim, Gunner & Tira.
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:15 AM   #10
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This would take a "special" person!!!

This is a wonderful idea and one that I myself would've used. Everyone has had great ideas but while reading all of them my eyes teared up.

I'm sorry but I'm just not good at this stuff and I would find this "job" incredibly sad and depressing. I should mention again that I WOULD use a service like this, especially the grief counceling and just being able to talk to others about loosing a pet. I often have owners come in and tell me about their pet passing and we both end up crying and often times hugging.

Good Luck Everyone!!!!
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