By Noel Thurner;
Parker and I always have a hospice patient that we stay with until the end…
here is a story I wrote about my now 96 year old we visit each week in a facility in Pickens…
All she wanted was a tomato sandwich. Her food was now pureed, liquids thickened. She wondered how one could sustain oneself on that? The least I could do for this soon-to-be 96 year old hospice patient was to satisfy that desire for a tomato sandwich.
So on our next pet therapy visit, Parker my Bearded Collie, and I brought her a sack of home grown tomatoes. A dear friend had given me seeds for an heirloom variety called Moonglow. These are a low acid type of tomato so easy on the stomach. I was not allowed to give her un-prescribed food, nor was the staff at the facility, but family members could. So one of them could make that desired tomato sandwich, complemented with a thick slice of sweet onion and just a touch of mayonnaise. This was the request.
It was a Sunday so I was wearing what for me is considered “a fancy Sunday outfit” and Parker was just his usual, groomed and handsome self. As typical, the facility was in a state of organized chaos, but we dodged the mayhem and entered her quiet room. She of course smiled as she noted Parker swishing in, plopping down right around her feet at the base of her wheel chair. That little paper sack of Moonglow ‘maters was next to be noted. I explained the contents, pulled out one of the smooth, golden orbs, all the while Parker nestled around her solid yet stroke-damaged feet. One could see she was elated that soon there would be something tasteful in her weary life.
We discussed that when her daughter came that afternoon that everything would be in order and soon that sandwich would be her reality. Ah, relief. But then she looked at me solidly. I could tell she had something to say. She was trying to get her words correct as she was still very articulate. Eyeing my outfit up and down, she then nicely asked: Does Parker mind you wearing those kind of clothes?
I smiled and said to her he was pretty tolerant of anything I wear. To myself, I said Parker is unbelievably tolerant of a lot. That is the beauty of this pet therapy dog.
Now back to that tomato sandwich: remember, please, just a touch of mayonnaise.