Sharing . . .
the experiences our volunteers have shared with the residents and patients they visit. Just like our valued volunteers have, I hope you find unconditional love in these compelling stories.
Nancy: “As soon as we walked in (107 years old!) Katie's room, Chloe jumped right up in bed with her. Katie smiled & said, "Oh it's my Nancy & Chloe [Bichon] & how about Sydney [granddaughter] - did you bring her today?" Then she points to her bulletin board that her 85 year old daughter-in-law had decorated with the 5x7 picture of her & 3 year old Sydney & also a picture Sydney had painted for her😇 I love listening to Katie's stories. She moved here from Germany as a 20 year old & her & her husband were married for 55 years & had one son (who is 82). I knew her right leg was bothering her quite a bit so today I learned about the accident she had in 1945. They lived in an apartment in Montgomery County & heating oil was being rationed so they had an electric space heater in the bathroom. She was carrying the sheets to the tub where she washed them & accidentally knocked over the heater which caught her robe on fire! She smothered it with the sheets & went looking for her husband for help when the robe reignited & she was burned badly. She spent FOURTEEN months in the hospital & their young son had to be taken care of by many neighbors & friends. Her Doctor tried to get her penicillin, but was told it was for military use only. Her eyes watered up when she told me she overheard two nurses saying even if they could get it why waste it on a dirty Nazi. Oh how words can wound & this precious lady remembers them to this day. I told her God knew she wasn't a Nazi & He loves her very much & she told me she loves me, Chloe & Sydney.”
Kim: “We were asked to come to one room where an elderly man was very, very ill and non-responsive. However, when we entered the room with the doctors and nurses, the family was all around, the patient spotted Dewey [Springer Spaniel]. The patient yelled [to Dewey] “Henry! You have come back!!” Dewey then got up on the bed next to the man and they sat there together while this man talked for 20 minutes with Henry. He talked to him about their flying days. The war, and asked him why he got so fat! Then he told Henry it was time for him to go home. That same day the elderly gentleman died—just hours later. We were honored to be able to do this for his family who watched on. Thanks for the opportunity to serve. “
Robin: “I wanted to share with you how proud I was of Sarge [Great Dane] on Friday. I am still beaming from the experience. We went to the hospital and we were there for about 2 hours and we were leaving. A woman stopped us in the main lobby as we were heading out and asked if we could go visit her husband because they had 2 dogs at home and he really missed them. Even though Sarge was getting tired, without hesitation, I turned Sarge around and headed up to the room.
When we entered the room, the gentleman just lit up and was very happy to see Sarge, but that was just the beginning. I believe the patient had back surgery and the Occupational Therapist was in the room and wanted to get him up and walking around using a walker. I asked if he would be allowed to walk Sarge, since he had 2 dogs at home and would need to practice walking his dogs. She said yes. I took a deep breath, because Sarge had never done this before, but I talked to Sarge and told him what we were asking of him.
The patient stood up and steadied himself and I handed him Sarge’s leash. He put the leash on his wrist and grabbed his walker. Sarge was very aware of his surroundings and did not move until the patient moved. Sarge kept a slow and steady pace with the patient. As soon as Sarge felt the slightest tension on the leash, he stopped and waited for his leash to relax before moving forward. I was able to give Sarge hand commands for starting and stopping, whenever the patient or the therapist needed to stop and to again. I verbalized left and right commands for turning corners and the patient walked twice as far as he was asked to complete. I think the patient would have walked all day long with Sarge, but Sarge walked with the patient for a good ½ hour and was getting really tired and I had to end it. The nurses and the therapist were all amazed as how gentle and responsive Sarge was.
I can’t tell you how amazed and proud I was of Sarge. He has never been trained to do such a thing, but knew exactly what to do. He is such a wonderful animal and never ceases to blow my mind!”
Edie:”Last week Ramsey [Boxer] and I tried to visit Glenn, but he was in physical therapy. We stopped by twice, and could not even get into his room. I had wanted to leave him a little note, but the hallway was blocked with chairs and equipment that the staff was doing something with. We were sorry to miss him, and hope that he is doing well in his recovery.
That same day though, we did have a wonderful experience in the oncology waiting room. This is one area that we visit each time we go to the hospital. The room is somewhat divided, and people usually sit quietly in their own separate areas. Last week while we were visiting, people started migrating to seats in the area where Ramsey was doing his visit. We all started talking and exchanging stories, while Ramsey was being his most attentive in order to get treats. By the time we left, everyone was talking and laughing in one big group – while they were waiting for their treatments. It was a really nice experience.”
. . . Sharing comfort, companionship, and hope.
P.A.W.S. Anne Arundel County @ 2013