May 21st 2012 8:43 am
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"In my week of good news, I want to lift up the men and women who work in our local animals shelters. Their job is not easy. They are on the frontline of caring for animals that are lost, abused or ill. They seek to save lives and they depend on only small resources to do so. Without them we would all be diminished. So, please join me in prayers for this unique ministry. I know they will appreciate all the support we can give them." by Episcopal Bishop Steven Charleston
September 23rd 2011 8:45 am
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Five years ago today I was blessed to move to my forever home. I had spent the previous 4 months and 4 days in the Curry County Shelter. Thank God they are a "low kill" shelter or I would not be here today to tell this story. I was found as a stray and was scared of everything and everybody. I am still shy around tall thin men. (my first months were not happy ones maybe I spent them with a tall thin man who hit me).
Today all of mom's friends remark on how far I have come! I am no longer so fearful. I LOVE my life. I get to go to the Beach (or the woods) almost every day. I get to go camping every summer. I am loved! That is the best part. I am LOVED and I love right back.
March 21st 2011 9:01 am
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For many years I worked at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where pet visitation was prohibited. I begged, pleaded, and cajoled to have the rules changed, but always got back the same answer -- NO!
So, I resorted to sneaking in the tiny furry ones for our patients who were never coming out. At least they, and their beloved pets, could see each other one last time.
One morning, the Head Nurse on one of the units paged me to let me know that the parents of a 28 year old man were insistent that they HAD to bring his 14 year old Yorkshire Terrier to visit him, as he was dying.
She wanted to warn me that they might complain about her to me, because the parents did not seem to accept the nurse's explanation of the rules. The parents did indeed come to my office. They were not angry. Their grief had taken them past that. They were at the point of accepting what they could see so clearly was happening, although they were deeply sad.
They explained that their son and his dog had been inseparable since he was 14 years old and they brought her home as a puppy. The dog was back at the motel, where they had been living for the past two months while their only child was receiving experimental treatment for stage IV Lymphoma.
The dog was grieving as deeply as they were, and was not in good health herself. They didn't raise voices, or threaten. They stated their case with their hearts, which were breaking. Before they finished, I asked them how big she was, and if she was noisy. I found out she weighed 4 pounds and never barked.
We plotted a strategy, and before long, Dad had returned to the motel and brought the dog to me outside the hospital. I explained to the little dog that she would need to hide under my jacket and be very quiet. She looked up at me with big brown eyes that blinked with great wisdom and understanding. Tucked away from sight, we hurried through the halls and up the elevators to the young man's room. I instructed the parents to stand with their backs to the door of the room, blocking the natural view of those entering.
The patient was very, very weak. His bed elevated his upper body at 45 degrees. IV tubes and an infusion pump dominated his left arm. When we entered the room, I placed the Yorkie on the bed on his left side.
Her whole body trembled with happiness and she made tiny cries of joy as she quickly moved up to his neck and buried her nose under his chin. Her little tail was wagging so hard.
Then, this young man, who had been semi-comatose for days, very, very slowly and laboriously, lifted his right arm and moved it painfully across his chest to rest on his dog, as he just as slowly turned his head to her.
A tear trickled down his cheek. My composure was gone. It is a scene I will never forget. The sight of absolute love, reunited.
There was nothing else in the world that mattered to them, or frankly, to me, at that moment. The expression on his face, along with his parents, and that amazing little dog, are forever burned into my heart.
Before I left I told them to call me immediately if anyone challenged them. Moreover, I'd take the dog back out to the car myself when they left. I dropped by to visit the nurse and reminded her of a few things she "owed me" and told her I was cashing in. Then I paged the physician in charge, who also owed me some "favors," and made certain he was aware and free of blame.
The patient rallied the next day, after having spent several hours with his best friend the day before. He and his parents were able to talk for the first time in days. The dog rallied, too. They said it was the first she'd eaten in 3 days.
When I visited again, the young man was alert, and the dog was sleeping peacefully, curled between his shoulder and chin. There was a peace in that room that had not been there before.
The next day, in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rose, the young man breathed his last breath. When his parents left, they hugged me until I was certain my ribs would break, and we all cried together. They told me that for as long as they lived I would be in their prayers. Those couple of days were the best hours they had with him in weeks. They had said their goodbyes.
Later, I learned that little Yorkie, too, died on that very same day. Like her beloved master, she slipped away. I know they went together.
Several days later my boss called and asked me about something he needed and before he hung up he said, "I know about the dog."
"What dog?" I replied.
"I know about the dogs. Could you just let me know ahead of time when you do these things, so that I'll be expecting the calls, OK?"
With a huge smile on my face, I said, "I can do that!"
It was as much a sanction as I'd ever get, and I was grateful for it.
"A BETTER GOODBYE" by Leslie Bean