Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Healing Power of a Dog's Love

Moses is a big,  beautiful, 100 pound, cream colored golden retriever.

He has a way of looking at you that melts your heart. He lived with our family for two weeks, until it was determined that he and Kelly couldn't resolve their differences and wouldn't be a good fit for each other. Then he was adopted by his foster mom, Kathy, and found a happy forever home there.

When we had Moses, we often took him to visit my in-laws. He became good friends with my father-in-law, Ed. They just hit it off right away.

Ed had been suffering from COPD for more than a dozen years. This spring, he caught a cold that he was unable to shake off, and with his compromised breathing, he ended up in the hospital, and then home on hospice care. We did everything we could to make him as comfortable as possible. We brought a big hospital bed into the living room, where he could be a part of what was going on. As he grew more ill, he didn't want many visitors. But my husband got the idea that maybe it would be nice if Moses paid him a visit.

We called Kathy and she readily agreed. She gave us the option of a few dates they were free. "We'd better make it tomorrow," I suggested, knowing how Ed had become quite ill.

The next day Moses arrived. Ed had been sleeping most of the last few days, and hadn't even had the energy to eat or communicate. Kathy gave us the leash, and we led Moses over to the bedside. "You have a visitor!" my husband said.  "Remember Moses?"

Ed opened his eyes and struggled to move. We helped him sit up, and he stretched out his hand and touched the top of Moses's head. Just like he had all those times before when Moses came to visit. Moses sat as still as could be as Ed stroked his head and neck. For a few moments, I think, the pain and fear disappeared as Moses looked straight into Ed's eyes.

The visit lasted only a few minutes, and Ed fell right back asleep, exhausted.
The next day Ed passed away.

I like to think that the visit gave Ed a wonderful sendoff, a beautiful reminder of the love that was all around him, and that was waiting for him in heaven. For a dog's healing love is powerful.

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  1. What a beautiful moment! Bunny and I are getting ready to start doing hospice visits, and I hope that we can make a difference for some people in that way. I'm glad Moses was able to come and bring Ed some joy!

  2. That is wonderful work to do, I know Bunny will bless many lives.

  3. Being part of that moment was a beautiful thing.

  4. I'm glad Moses was able to give Ed a little bit of love one last time. It was such a peaceful visit. Moses give his best to the Frezon family

  5. How touching - glad Moses was able to give comfort and Ed was able to give him some affection.... a very basic exchange that means so much.

  6. Beautiful love story, Meg. My favorite sentence--"the pain and fear disappeared as Moses looked straight into Ed's eyes." And look at the sun streaming through behind them! Profound!

  7. Oh, what a sweet story! It's amazing how dogs can reach people when they are beyond wanting to visit with others. Rita and I recently lost our 86 yr old friend, and I know she was so happy to see Rita on those last couple of visits we made to see her. Moses looks like a wonderful dog. So happy he has a furever home.

  8. Thank you Julie. It was a profound moment for sure. And very uplifting at a sad time.

  9. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. How wonderful that Rita helped her in her final days.

  10. What a touching story. I went to a nursing home once and everyone was so happy to see me, it was great for me and for the patients!

  11. :'( A very touching story. Lots of tears. Dogs are so wonderful. <3

  12. Such a sweet story. My dad had COPD too - I know what a toll it can take. My dad used to love and sit next to our dogs and just pet their heads - they of course ate it up. He and Tino had a special bond.

  13. Wanda Frezon SmithAugust 28, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Such a touching story. I'm certain that sharing this experience will show others how easy it is to bring peace to someone who is suffering. A little time, and the unconditional love of a pet, can ease so much pain. Keep your inspiration flowing. We all need it.

  14. snoopy@snoopysdogblogAugust 28, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    such a beautiful story Peggy, there sure is a wonderful bond between dogs and humans,

    Big wags and hugs,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  15. So glad for Ed he was given that last beautiful moment. Well done Peggy, and Moses.

  16. Words With WienersAugust 29, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Oh my, what a poignant story. Tears over here. So glad that you were able to have Moses visit Ed that one last time. I'm sure it was more appreciated than you even know. I often think about what the end will be like, and all I know for certain is that I hope a dog is by my side. Moses might not have been there when Ed passed, but it was probably his last memory.
    Thanks for sharing such a personal and touching story with us.


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