What is HOSTA?
HOSTA stands for Hospice SupporT for Animals - a support group which helps support animal owners during the end of life of their animals.
The Marici Fellowship engages with the community in two ways: through the practice of charitable work such as food drives, and through Support and Educational activities. HOSTA, a group of community and Sangha members dedicated to the caring and support of animals, has activities which fulfil both aspects of our mission.
Under the guidance of H. E. Khöndung Avikrita Vajra Rinpoche, we formed the HOSTA group specifically to care for animals and their owners as they go through the grief and difficult decisions around hospice support and end of life preparation. When our pets become sick and are approaching death, care givers are frequently left with feelings of loss, helplessness and confusion. In Western culture, euthanasia is often the accepted way of dealing with this time in an animal’s life. The field of veterinary medicine is slowly adapting a more compassionate approach to the death of animals: some doctors are even willing to come to the home, and even though there are some hospice options out there, the end result is usually euthanasia.
We offer another option: a program of support for those who choose to Hospice their pets through the entire death process. We understand the pain of losing an animal and the anguish felt when they are suffering. We offer support through conversations, one-one-one and in group settings, where we share resources and stories of having gone through this process and experienced the peace and calm surrounding the animal when it has gone through this process naturally. We find that this process helps those in need of support feel empowered, so they can care for their animals through the end of their lives with confidence and compassion. We simply help them find what is needed and to feel supported during this time.
Our Seattle facilitators have a wide background of experiences and skills. One grew up on a dairy farm caring for animals and is now a wildlife biologist and licensed animal rehabilitator. Others have had experiences with the death and dying of loved ones, and experience with Buddhist practices appropriate to those experiences.
How to become a part of HOSTA
As mentioned above, the purpose of this group is to offer outreach and build a network of support, both medically and emotionally. We welcome anyone who wants to lend a hand, be it holding an animal while it receives a treatment or simply doing prayers. We have a member of the group that worked as a dog groomer for many years and has offered help in grooming, nail trimming and overall care for a pet.
Fill out the form below to indicate your interest and areas of expertise you may be willing to share. When our pets are passing, it is hard to think clearly and we can feel very alone. Possibly someone can come by for a shoulder to cry on, an ear to talk to or to help give meds if someone is having a hard time.
There is an active HOSTA branch in the Greater Seattle area going on now! If you are in the area and would like to participate, please fill out this form and we will get back to you as soon as possible!
If you have any questions or comments, please email us! firstname.lastname@example.org