Tag: end of life
That was in early May, and McClain was temporarily living in his car in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with his eight-year-old sheltie/collie mix named Yurt.
A few days after sending paramedics away, McClain slipped into unconsciousness and the ambulance crew returned.
McClain was taken to Mercy Medical Center, and later transferred to the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy to receive end-of-life care. His dog was taken to Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control.
As he was being taken to his room at the hospice, McClain told the paramedic accompanying him, Jan Erceg, that he was concerned about his dog, Yurt. Erceg, who also volunteers at Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control, recognized the name.
“I told Kevin I knew his dog,” she told Eastern Iowa Health. ” I told him she was doing OK and I promised to bring Yurt to see him.”
Two days later the reunion took place in McClain’s room at the hospice.
“This dog, from the moment she got in the vehicle to the time we arrived, she was shrieking and howling. I think she sensed what was happening,” Erceg said. “When we got to the Hospice House she walked right through the doors and led us straight to his room as if she’d been there many times before.”
Yurt immediately jumped on McClain’s bed.
“Kevin was unconscious but I kept putting his hands on the dog’s head and guiding him to stroke her,” she said. Then Kevin started moving his fingers on his own, petting Yurt, who licked his face and neck and arms. Kevin’s eyes opened.
Two days later, on Friday, May 13, McClain died.
Yurt spent another month in foster care before getting adopted.
At the hospice, they still talk about her, and the reunion between a man and his dog.
“It was just an awesome thing to see, something that made both Kevin and Yurt so happy,” says Brandi Garrett, patient care coordinator at the hospice. “It was obvious they had such a special connection to one another.”
(Photos: Eastern Iowa Health)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ambulance, animals, bond, car, cedar rapids, cedar rapis animal care and control, collie, connection, dog, dogs, emotional, end of life, health, homeless, hospice, hospital, iowa, jan erceg, kevin mcclain, lung cancer, mercy medical center, mixed breed, oldorf hospice house of Mercy, paramedics, pets, reunion, separation, sheltie, yurt
A memorial service was held this week for Baxter, the California therapy dog who, though losing much of his fur and the use of his legs, continued to bring comfort to the dying up until his own death this month at age 19 1/2.
The service Wednesday at the San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine drew nearly 100 friends, family and staff, according to an Associated Press report.
Baxter’s owner, Melissa Joseph, pulled the dog — a chow-golden retriever mix — from room to room in a red wagon and would lift him onto patient’s beds for a visit. (If you haven’t seen the video of Baxter, click here.)
“He licked tears from grieving faces, gave hugs to those at a loss for words, and warmed the hearts and souls of those who were making their transition,” Joseph wrote in her online eulogy. “Everyone loved Baxter.”
Lisa McCullough, spiritual counselor for the inpatient care center, said some patients who refused to share their life stories with staff would talk freely if Baxter was in the room. “And sometimes they opened up about the end of their life’s journey,” McCullough said. “I think Baxter made them feel safe and valued. He has helped just countless patients discover purpose and peace and connection in the last phase of their lives.”
Joseph and her husband, Dennis Bussey, released a book in June called “Moments with Baxter,” a collection of 36 stories about Baxter and his work. Proceeds from the book to go to the hospice and charities that support animal causes.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baxter, care, comfort, dogs, dying, end of life, hospice, institute for palliative medicine, life, medical, melissa joseph, memorial, moments with baxter, patients, san diego, service, therapy dog, video, wagon
You can learn more about Baxter and the book here.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: baxter, care, comfort, death, dog, dogs, dying, elderly, end of life, hospice, institute for palliative medicine, melissa joseph, moments with baxter, patients, san diego, san diego hospice, therapy dog, therapy dogs, video, wagon