Editor’s Note: We spoke with Rev. Sarah Whitten-Grigsby, the founder and president of the nonprofit One More Day Foundation, Inc. to learn more about Foster Hospice (Fospice). Please call 941-548-1240; OneMoreDayFoundation.com.
Sarah, what’s the mission of your nonprofit and what is Fospice?
Our mission is to give a loving, respectful last chapter to homeless dogs and cats that are considered unadoptable due to life-limiting illness. Fospice, or foster hospice, means placing each animal in a peaceful, comfortable home through last breath. Some of these dogs and cats have a slow-progressing illness and are still enjoying life, so we don’t want them to be euthanized too soon. Others just need a lovely place to die, and we don’t want them to die in a shelter, alone, sad and afraid. You can learn more about our nonprofit and see photos of pets with their new Fospice Guardians by visiting our website.
What was your
inspiration in creating One More Day Foundation?
I was with each of my parents during their passing and my dogs were an important part of my healing. I began to think about giving more dogs and cats the gift of being loved during their own final transition. I discovered the term Fospice and this opportunity to help pets from researching dog hospice. Our nonprofit is named after a quote from author Joan Didion: I love you more than one more day. This quote is how I feel about my loved ones, and all animals!
Please share a little
information about the Fospice Guardians in our community?
We call the magnificent volunteers who take Fospice dogs Fospice Guardians. “Guardian,” beautifully describes what they do for each animal. Each time I have posted a dog in need, an angel has appeared as a volunteer willing to help. We have even placed a Mastiff with cancer, who is now enjoying life again in a loving human family. If needed or preferred by the Fospice Guardian, One More Day Foundation pays for medicines, veterinary visits and special diets. Thanks to our beloved donors, we can also supply soft blankets, toys, collars, leashes, carriers, etc. Being a Fospice Guardian is, of course, emotionally difficult. But if given the chance, our dogs will stay by us throughout our lives, and I feel that they deserve the same utter devotion. We have Fospice Guardians in Englewood, Venice, North Port, Port Charlotte, Palmetto, and Apollo Beach. We are growing and the demand is endless.
You are also the
chaplain for Peace River Canine Search & Rescue. How did you get involved
with this organization and what do you do to help out?
Before we moved to Florida seven years ago, I was ordained as an Interfaith minister at seminary in New York City. I had read Rev. Kate Braestrup’s Memoir, Here If You Need Me, and that sparked my interest in search and rescue ministry. When I discovered Peace River K9 Search and Rescue here in Englewood, I reached out to them and they welcomed me with open arms. When loved ones of a missing person are at a search site with us, my role is to listen and provide loving comfort. I’m also there to support the team when discouragement or sorrow set in. The search dogs are a bonus, because animal ministry has been in my heart for a long time, since before seminary. So, when I can, I introduce some of the slightly less high-energy search dogs to the family of a missing person, because I know so well how dogs can heal us.
What’s an Interfaith
Interfaith is all inclusive, non-judgmental and accepting. My background was very relaxed Protestant, but at Interfaith seminary we study a bit about all the major religions and thus can honor all beliefs and their similarities. I don’t condone or respect cruelty in any form, however, especially to the voiceless!
Where are you from
originally, Sarah, and what brought you to the Englewood area?
I was born in Salem, Massachusetts, but I like to think I was a good witch! Before moving to Florida, I had lived in New York for twenty years. My husband, who grew up in New York, has family in Sarasota County, and because the ocean is my spiritual home and the warm, often calm Gulf waters are my idea of Heaven, this area seemed like a wonderful choice. Swimming at the dog beach in Venice with our dogs is truly a divine experience!
How has your experience with the One More Day Foundation blessed your life?
Those of us who revere dogs and cats can get deeply disheartened when we hear about the terrible cruelty to them. The magnificent people that continue to appear to help our animals are a constant reminder of how many people do care and will act selflessly to give a dog or cat the greatest gift we can give; love at the end of life.
How can individuals, groups and businesses help your nonprofit help older pets?
We welcome new volunteers. One More Day then provides whatever support is needed. Monetary donations are always needed to help pay medical expenses for our Fospice dogs and cats, as well as special diet for some. And all monies go directly to the care of our Fospice animals. We are also in search of veterinarians in the area who will donate services or give us a discount. We provide private, peaceful, in-home euthanasia for our Fospice dogs, and that’s another expense. A wonderful supporter recently donated Fospice tee shirts which we sell to raise awareness and defray expenses. We could also use a volunteer photographer to document more of our dogs and cats with their Fospice Guardians!