Oct 22, 2021

Staff bring palliative woman’s ‘special friends’ to her bedside for a touching final goodbye

Staff bring palliative woman’s ‘special friends’ to her bedside for a touching final goodbye

A series of moving photographs that captured a terminally ill woman’s final goodbye to her beloved horse and dogs have highlighted the extraordinary lengths that care staff go to in a patient’s final days. 

Jan Holman, 68, who died from bowel cancer earlier this month, had spent her final five weeks at the Good Shepard Hospice in the English county of Chester.

Through their conversations with Ms Holman, staff quickly realised the important role that her two dogs and her horse played in her life.

With this in mind, hospice staff discreetly put the steps in place for a touching reunion that both Jan and her family will be eternally grateful for.

Firstly, Jan was greeted by her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Monty and Rowley. Despite being unable to leave her bed, Jan held her dog’s paws and gently stroked their fur while talking to them.

Jan dog
Jan sharing a final moment with her two dogs, Monty and Rowley.

Although Jan was aware that the home had arranged dog visits for patients in the past, she had given up on the prospect of seeing her beloved horse Bob again.

Following Jan’s final goodbye to her dogs, nurses wheeled her bed across to the home’s patio doors, and it wasn’t too long before she noticed a special visitor walking her way.

“I knew that arranging for my dogs to visit was possible, as we had a neighbour who was a patient at the hospice a few years ago and we were allowed to bring the dogs to visit her. But I just didn’t expect that they would ever be able to give me the chance to see Bob one more time,” said Jan.

There was not a dry eye in the house as Bob’s head passed through the doors and began to nuzzle up against Jan’s neck and lap.

Staff were overcome with emotion as Jan’s face lit up with happiness in the presence of Bob.

Jan horse 2
The team from Thornleigh Park Stables prepare Bob to be reuinted with Jan.

Jan’s husband of 46 years, Dennis, expressed his gratitude to staff members and thanked them for ensuring that Jan could say her final goodbye to her cherished pets.

“It was just such a relief once Jan was moved from the hospital to the hospice in Chester,” said Dennis.

“We were able to have named visitors who could come and see Jan regularly. However, we never imagined that we would be able to include our dogs Monty and Rowley, and Jan’s horse Bob on the visiting list.”

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  1. My friend did the same for his wife in Victoria. Horse and dogs and all the family critters. She was bedridden too. It is not uncommon if you care. Animals are family and very much like children if you live with them, you notice the similarities.

    Rest in peace.

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