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Comforting Dogs in Their Final Hours

Could you spend the night comforting shelter dogs scheduled to be euthanized the next morning? The Compassion Program, based out of New York's Animal Care and Control in Manhattan, is comprised of nine volunteers who take turns sleeping over with death row dogs. Whether it's a long walk, a special treat, playing with a toy or being cuddled, they ensure that every dog spends his last hours being loved. The program staff consider it a form of hospice, even though these dogs are not necessarily dying due to medical conditions, but lack of loving homes. Donations of treats and toys are welcome. For more information, please go to the Compassion Program.


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by Anonymous | March 26 2013 |

Although spaying/neutering is still an issue, it is not the main issue. The main issue is simply laziness and selfishness on the human's part. Most dogs wind up in shelters because they are "surrendered." Until humans become more responsible and realize that these precious lives are not "disposable" there will always be innocent lives lost.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 26 2013 |

I also need to add that if people stopped buying and started adopting, we would see much less animals being killed every year. Without puppy mills, breeders, and pet stores, there would be more space in the shelters and we could become a "no-kill" country.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 27 2013 |

VERY well said! Adoption is so wonderful! I have a rescue dog and 2 rescue kitties. Prior to that I had 2 rescue doggies that lived out great lives with me also.

Submitted by Kate Cassidy | January 21 2012 |

These people are truly wonderful angels of mercy.....their hearts must be broken over & over again but they think of the poor dogs - not themselves. God bless their wonderful work. I think about how I stayed up for two nights with my dear father before he passed away....the difference being he was terminally ill whereas most of these beautiful dogs are healthy. People who abandoned their dogs/cats to this certain death should be made to read this. I am heartbroken as I write this and lok at this picture of a lsmiling dog unaware of the fate that awaits him/her...the killing will have to stop...these poor dogs didn't ask to be born.

Submitted by Anonymous | February 20 2012 |

God bless them! I wish I could be strong enough to do something like that, but I know myself and I will cry all night long.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 4 2012 |

Imiss my best mate max as i had him put down he was looking and pleading with me with his eyes he got sick but just before the vet came he come good jumping up to sit with me and cuddling up to me but i should have told the vet no to give him more time i am so sorry

Submitted by Anonymous | March 5 2012 |

I admire these people so much. There is something about a dog that looks into your soul and knows you are their protector. Unfortunately in California they are looking at a bill to reduce funding for shelters. I live in northern California and all of our shelters are 'no kill'.
As to could I do this: My german shepard was with his family up until he was euthanized due to cancer. I wish with all my heart that I had been beside him with our vet and regret to this day that I was not. So, long story short I would do this, as heartbreaking as it must be, I would do this to honor the memory of my 'Moby'.

Submitted by Sherwin Chen | March 5 2012 |

I can never bring myself to spend time with those dogs time and time again. I become too emotionally attached to dogs too easily and I would absolutely hate to see them go the very next morning. Bless these people for spending their time and taking on a very painful job.

Sherwin - http://www.hipetusa.com

Submitted by Sherwin Chen | March 27 2012 |

I can never bring myself to spend time with those dogs time and time again. I become too emotionally attached to dogs too easily and I would absolutely hate to see them go the very next morning. Bless these people for spending their time and taking on a very painful job.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2012 |

These people are wonderful. If I lived in the US I would like to do this for the cats that are scheduled to be euthanised. To be honest I would like to take every person who dumps their cat or dog in a kill shelter and put them to sleep cos they do not deserve to live!!!

Submitted by Aurika | August 17 2012 |

I would be heartbroken to do this kind of thing, but I would do it, because I would want to give ANY animal the love they deserve :/ and indeed who abandon their pets, especially to die, are heartless pests that don't deserve to have pets... I just wish there would be a law where such people would be restricted from ever having another pet, unless, of course, if the animal would need to be put to sleep due health conditions... I wouldn't want my pet to suffer like that... But I would never dare to throw any out... It's just too cruel...

Submitted by Saphiresnow | August 18 2012 |

These people are just Angels in human form. I give them so much respect for this. I would love to be able to have the strength to do this. But I would just want to take all of them home with me. I once read about the Rainbow Bridge, where animals who were never "claimed" by an owner await for these loving volunteers. They stay old/hurting/alone, not like the others who have become healthy and young again. But it's when these "volunteers" show up to claim these animals. They finally get to not be in pain and become young and get to cross over with someone who loves thnd will take them all. God bless people like that the ANGELS.


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