Sweet Pet Photo Stirs Memory of Woman With Alzheimer’s

Look at the photo above. Does it make you smile? It did even more than that for an elderly woman with Alzheimer's: It gave her...

Maria Goodavage  |  Aug 19th 2010


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Look at the photo above. Does it make you smile? It did even more than that for an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s: It gave her back some beautiful memories, and gave her family the joy of seeing her spark to life again.

Eighty-seven-year-old Sarah Harrell had pretty much closed down because of the ravages of Alheimer’s. But when she saw this photo on a thank-you card from Best Friends animal sanctuary, an almost miraculous transformation occurred: She started smiling and laughing. And then, to the delight of her daughters, Judy and Linda Gerecitano, she began to speak (about her old pets), according to a Best Friends article. This had not happened in years.

Whenever she sees the card (and now the framed, enlarged photo she has been given!), “she becomes happy, animated, alert and close to being our old Mom again, says Judy.

It is extremely difficult to accurately explain how this simple little photo seems to work a miracle time and time again, Judy says. It is even more difficult to express how much it means to my sister and me. This picture is doing more to ward off the ravages of this horrible disease than any pills.

The photographer, Sarah Ause, is deeply touched by this change. Im in awe, completely inspired and honored to know that such a small occurrence in my daily life could end up having such a significant effect on someones life,” she says.

Ah, the healing power of animals.

(Photo: Sarah Ause, Best Friends)