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They make our hearts go mutts! (2)

Dogs nearing the end of their life often find themselves in shelters. At Hearts of Hope, we believe no dog deserves to spend their final days in a shelter with lots of noise and little attention. Our hospice foster program allows us to place those dogs into loving foster homes.

How can you make a difference in a hospice dog's life?

Happy Tails about our Hospice Fosters


Karol came to us with arthritic back legs, masses on her back, bad teeth, missing an eye, an infection with near full blindness in the other, a large infected wound on her side and she was heartworm positive. We’ve been working with our vets to get her healthier, focusing on her quality of life. Her legs are doing good, her eye feels better, and her wound is healed. But with good news, unfortunately, comes bad. Her heartworm is so advanced she cannot continue treatment. It’s causing thickening in one lung and heart failure on the right side of her heart. Her masses are cancerous and due to the heartworm cannot have surgery to remove them. Her foster mom decided that we’re going to continue doing what’s best for Karol and that’s starting her on a hospice care plan. We’ll monitor her health to make sure she’s not in pain but won’t put her through intrusive treatments that will likely not help. We don’t know how long we’ll have with this spunky gal, but we are so excited for all the remaining moments she’ll share with us.

peggy 2

Peggy was picked up running stray in Detroit. We don't know about her life before that, but the shelter staff knew she was unhealthy and unlikely to live much longer. They fell in love with her sweet disposition and reached out to Hearts of Hope for a hospice foster to provide Peggy with the love and dignity she deserved. We only got to know Peggy for 3 days, but that was long enough for her foster family to fall head over heels for her. She loved sleeping in bed, hanging out with her new friends, and even chewed a bone or two. In the end, the renal failure and extreme emaciation was too much for her body and her foster family decided to let her go before her suffering became worse. It never feels like enough time, but Peggy made it clear she appreciated what we had done and was ready to say goodbye to her broken body. We are so grateful for her foster family. They gave her a peaceful goodbye after a weekend of comfort and rest.


Mae was found as a stray and quickly became everyone's favorite at the shelter because of her sweet demeanor. It was eventually discovered that Mae had cancer that had metastasized to her lungs. She was transferred to Hearts of Hope to live out her remaining time in a comfortable home. Mae loved walks around the neighborhood to say hello to all the other humans and dogs, but her favorite activity was napping in the sunshine. Most afternoons if the weather was nice she could be found out on the deck sunbathing. If someone was in the kitchen, Mae would be right there hoping some rotisserie chicken would happen to fall into her mouth. But who are we kidding, her soft eyes made sure she always got a few pieces. Her foster mom was determined to make sure Mae lived a life free from pain and that's exactly what she did. Mae got a lifetime of care in a short amount of time and we feel so grateful for the love she shared with her foster family.


Cleo and her daughter had been in and out of the shelter when their owner would go to jail. On their last visit, the ownership was finally relinquished. When Cleo came to Hearts of Hope her nails were overgrown to the point of curling under to her pads. She had scarring around her neck from an embedded collar, she was unspayed, and had mammary & bladder tumors. Cleo and her daughter both got pyometra as a result of not being spayed. Which is a serious infection of their reproductive organs that requires emergency surgery. They both thankfully survived. Her daughter was adopted, but due to Cleo's mammary and bladder tumors, our vets recognized she would need to be a hospice foster. Your support helps us pay for palliative care for dogs like Cleo. Your contribution helps us give them all the love, joy, and kindness in their remaining time, that they never got in their previous situations. Our hospice dogs are never posted for adoption as we commit to their care until we need to say goodbye. However, Cleo's foster family wanted her to have an official home in her remaining time. We don't know if they fell in love with her personality or her tap dancing skills, but we're happy anyway.


Caramel came to Hearts of Hope from the south and not much is known about her life before she came to us. She was a gentle pup to the other dogs, cats, and the very sweet young boy in her foster home. Caramel was quickly diagnosed with cancer in her hips after coming to Michigan. However, she made the most of her remaining two months, despite her declining health. Her foster mom was made aware of her mischievous streak almost immediately. Caramel once sniffed out, opened, and ate an entire bag of rabbit treats. She would often team up with her foster sister, Elsa, doing silly things like opening a puzzle and scattering the pieces all over. Caramel didn't let her health change her personality. She was able to be loved, spoiled, and adored before she crossed the rainbow bridge - something she deserved for her entire life.


Sully was a blind 8-year-old sweetheart found running stray in Detroit. He was diagnosed with lymphoma and only in our care for a brief time before he crossed the rainbow bridge. Despite his short time with Hearts of Hope, he radiated light and love throughout his foster home. He spent his remaining time indulging in all the best junk food, going for car rides, and soaking up his foster mom's love and affection. Sully was able to forget the bad things he experienced earlier in life and just feel joy, warmth, and kindness before we said goodbye to him.


Howard was a stray found in Montcalm County. Howie had a hard life before coming to Hearts of Hope. He was blind with an eye condition that caused him significant pain. He went through a bilateral enucleation surgery where both eyes were removed in hopes of alleviating his pain and giving him a chance at life. Unfortunately, he continued to be in constant pain and we realized it was time to say goodbye. He received enough love while in foster care to make up for his previous years. He was a happy, sweet, and joyful dog that found a foster mom determined to make his last memories the best memories any dog would want. 


This handsome gentleman was Diesel. He was an owner surrender from Montcalm County. When he came to Hearts of Hope he had a large wound that was quickly diagnosed as lymphoma. He enjoyed ice cream, chasing squirrels, and charming everyone he met. He was abandoned and forgotten about when he needed love most and we are so grateful for our fosters who help dogs like Diesel. He got to know love and care before he crossed the rainbow bridge.