Suzanne DeReu, volunteer and director of the Pet Peace of Mind (PPOM) program at ProMedica Hospice Serving Quad Cities, received recognition as the runner-up for Volunteer of the Year by the Pet Peace of Mind organization.
Pet therapy serves as another resource in the healing process by bringing comfort to patients during the end of life. Suzanne understands the importance that animals play in the lives of hospice patients and shares her experience with the Pet Peace of Mind program.
“It has been a gift to visit with the patients on our hospice services and witness the comfort their pets bring them. I enjoy my role as a friendly visit volunteer, but when I noticed the need to help the patients when it became difficult for them to properly care for their pets, I reached out to Pet Peace of Mind. PPOM provided our agency with the platform to help those patients find the care needed for their pets while still staying connected to them during end-of-life. It meant so much to me that our volunteer coordinator entrusted me to organize and administer the program, which expanded the range of services available to the patients, their families and now their pets. I love seeing how this program has brought comfort to the patients and our team. We didn’t realize how much this type of program was needed in the Quad Cities.”
Jeffrey Blackwell, ProMedica Hospice volunteer coordinator, submitted a thoughtful nomination to PPOM recognizing Suzanne and her dedication to patients, their families and their pets.
"Suzanne is a hospice volunteer and because of her love of helping people at the end of life and her compassion for animals, she has taken the idea of PPOM and made it a reality for our patients, their pets and, in many cases, their families.
Suzanne practices what she preaches. It began during a visit when the hospice patient asked Suzanne to foster their cat, Ghost. When they were near their end-of-life, the patient then asked Suzanne to adopt Ghost knowing how well she has taken care of them. Suzanne respected the patient’s wishes and is now the new ‘mom’ to Ghost.
Suzanne is the heart and soul of our PPOM program here in the Quad Cities. Her compassion for the patients and their pets encouraged us to formally handle these situations through PPOM. Everything that has happened to make our PPOM program work is the result of her initial and continued kindness and compassion for our patients and their beloved pets.”