I'm very happy to share this week's featured organization, Pet Project Rescue (PPR) and their Lukas Project hospice foster program. PPR is a Minneapolis, Minnesota based nonprofit organization that specialized in foster-based hospice care for terminally ill dogs and cats, as well as spay and neuter programs and education, from Minnesota to Mexico.
Since 2008, they've worked with thousands of animals in need, and have made great strides in reducing animal overpopulation. Their goal is to solve animal suffering through spay and neuter initiatives.
I've been fortunate to work with PPR over the years, including photographing their Lukas Project fosters and a spay/neuter clinic in Mexico!
Tell us about the Lukas Project - when and how did it get started?
The Lukas Project is in memory of PPR’s wonderful German Shepherd, Lukas, who was rescued in 2010 from a local shelter. Lukas needed extensive vet care, and after months of treatment he was much healthier and ready to look for a home of his own. He was adopted by a wonderfully loving home who gave him everything possible in this world until he passed away in March 2011, as a result of complications from his Crohn’s disease.
Lukas touched so many lives, and as a result we wanted to do more to help animals that are traditionally overlooked by rescues. Pet Project Rescue created a hospice program for terminally ill dogs and cats in 2011; officially starting The Lukas Project!
How many Lukas Project animals have you worked with?
The Lukas Project has supported 15 terminally ill dogs and cats.
How does hospice fostering work? What does the foster home need to provide?
PPR covers all expenses, and the foster home is responsible for daily care and getting their foster to and from vet appointments. We train fosters as needed per the animals needs, and give ongoing support while they are caring for their Lukas Project foster animal. Because our foster animals are terminal, we strive to make them comfortable and well loved.
Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in hospice fostering, but worried about the emotional impact?
The experience is incredibly rewarding and we have yet to have a foster that regrets taking on a hospice foster, but that does not mean that saying good-bye is easy.
PPR provides emotional support throughout the process, as well as vet support, and when the time comes for a foster to cross the rainbow bridge we consult with both the vet and foster home. They animal passes in their foster home, so it is the least stressful and most peaceful experience possible. It's an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to give an animal the best months of their lives when they need it most.
How can we help support the Lukas Project?
Our biggest need right now is financial support. We currently have no formal funding for the program, so we raise money through donations for each animal we take in. Because these animals are in foster care with PPR for many months, and sometimes up to a year or more, it can be a large expense for the rescue. Donations support vet care, medication and food for hospice foster animals.
Thanks Pet Project Rescue!