Hospice of Acadiana is launching a new program to help ease the worried minds of terminally ill patients too sick to care for their beloved pets.

The “Pet Peace of Mind” program will allow hospice volunteers to care for patients’ pets — furry, finned, feathered or scaly — to help make sure pets are properly cared for and not neglected as hospice helps patients through their final days.

The services will be more than just walking the dog and changing kitty litter.

Hospice will schedule veterinarian appointments, take pets to veterinarian or groomer appointments, pay emergency pet boarding, provide pet food and medication, and even find the pet a new home, if needed, after the patient passes.

“The Pet Peace of Mind project started as one of our board members was made aware of it from someone else, and she thought it would be a good program for us to try to do,” said David Kobetz, director of community development at the hospice. “There’s only one other hospice in the state that does it, and they’re in Baton Rouge. ... We really wanted to be able to support people’s pets in their time of need.”

A one-time grant for $5,000 was awarded from Banfield Charitable Trust, the organization that founded the national Pet Peace of Mind program. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the organization founded the program in 2009 and has granted over $100,000 to hospices around the nation.

Hospice of Acadiana, on Johnston Street next to Albertsons, will host a pet supply drive from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 25. The program is due to start on Aug. 2

The hospice is asking for pet food, chew toys (though no rawhides), pet carriers, leashes and any other pet supplies the community would be willing to donate.

Lafayette Animal Aid has donated 2,000 pounds of dog food to the cause and is working on a grant to get heartworm and flea medication, according to Kobetz.

Founded in 1983, Hospice of Acadiana services the nine-parish Acadiana region and accepts all medically eligible patients regardless of ability to pay.