James lay at her side every Wednesday for two years and two months. In the beginning, she was able to open her eyes, smile, try to speak a word or two, and hold his leash in her hand. When we started to visit Jane in March 2009, she had advanced Alzheimer’s disease and was bedridden. Every Wednesday, with the grace of a ballerina, James gently positioned his 68 pound body along side Jane in her bed and placed his head across her chest. As the weeks, months, and years advanced, Jane no longer opened her eyes, had long since ceased to utter a word, and was unable to move her hand to hold his leash. He just lay there against her frail body that was covered by blankets to keep her warm. She felt his presence, for sure. Her rigid form seemed to relax with him there.
Every Wednesday, for these twenty-six months, Jane’s daughter, Noreen, planned her visit to coincide with James’ visiting time. She had been visiting her mother here at the nursing home for many years. Coming while James was there brought a calming feeling to her. In the last twelve months of our visits, Noreen said that James’ visits had really helped her. She was an only child and had been very close to her mother all her life. It was very hard to watch her mother decline. It helped to sit by her mother’s bedside and pet James’ soft fur.
Last week, Jane passed away at the age of 97… The beautiful obituary written by Noreen described the wonderful life her mother had had – at the end of the obituary was written: A special thank you to James, the therapy dog that visited Jane every week.