A recent patient of Cornerstone Hospice in Tavares had one dying wish — to see his beloved dog, Redbone, one last time and to know that he would be taken care of.

Fortunately, Cornerstone’s Pet Peace of Mind program was there to help transport his 93-pound bully mix to Florida Hospital in DeLand.

“The mission had challenges to overcome and time was of the essence,” said Barbara Cady, PPOM coordinator at Florida Hospital Hospice Care. “The dog had been isolated for two days at home in Lake County without his dad or anyone else to care for him. So that the patient could be at peace, he needed to say goodbye to his beloved pet as well as know that Redbone would be in good hands without him. Once that wish was known, a multiple step process was in place to make it happen. The plan was successful through the efforts of many dedicated staff and volunteers.”

Shortly after Redbone was delivered to his owner’s side, the man passed away peacefully.

Redbone spent the next month in a kennel waiting for a new home, which came just in time for Christmas.

“He was getting really lonely in there,” Cornerstone’s PPOM coordinator Kristine Murtz said. “Although we took good care of him, he’s a social dog and the kennel was no place for him to be.”

When Murtz came in contact with Tracy Smoak of Clermont, she knew the two of them would be a perfect match.

“I had heard about this wonderful program and was originally looking for two small dogs,” Smoak said. “But Kristine told me about Redbone and I felt like I could provide for him. It truly is the season of giving because so many people have supported me during his adoption.”

However, the process did come with a few bumps in the road. Smoak had to check with her neighbors to see how they felt about having a pit bull in their community, and her current home insurance would not cover her with a pit bull on the property.

“I spoke with my neighbors and everyone in the community has been really great and accepting this sweet, loving dog,” Smoak said. “And Kristine has been so helpful in transitioning to an insurance who doesn’t discriminate against pit bulls. So finally, Redbone was able to come home with me.”

Murtz delivered Redbone to his new home a few weeks ago and so far the response has been overwhelming. Smoak said that many neighbors come by to see Redbone, local pet stores have donated food and Murtz continues to come by for training.

Many pets with similar stories are still looking for a home. For more information contact Cornerstone Hospice at 888-728-6234 or go to www.cornerstonehospice.org.