Jan Holman, 68, had been away from her beloved pet dogs and horse for six weeks and was missing them all until she received a special visit – facilitated by her hospice
By Millie Reeves
A terminally ill woman has had the chance to say goodbye to her two dogs and horse thanks to hospice staff.
Jan Holman, 68, was admitted to hospital six weeks ago and is now a patient at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester.
Her quick referral to the hospice meant she hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to her dogs, Monty and Rowley, or Bob, her horse of 10 years.
Due to the pandemic Jan was unable to have any visitors at the hospital, and her husband of 46 years, Dennis, said she found having no visitors or personal contact difficult.
After four weeks, Jan was moved to the hospice to receive end-of-life care.
Knowing Jan was also missing her animals, the hospice arranged for a visit from her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Monty and Rowley, as well as her horse, Bob.
Even though she was unable to get out of bed, Jan was excited to have the chance to see the gang one more time.
Dennis said: “It was just such a relief once Jan was moved from the hospital to the hospice in Chester and 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 Monty, Rowley and Bob on the visiting list.”
He continued: “All the staff here have been wonderful. Jan has been so well cared for, nothing is too much trouble even down to the chef coming every day to see what he can tempt Jan to eat.
“Nothing is too much trouble, including arranging for a horse to visit!”
Before her illness Jan, who has lived in Chester all of her life, could be seen dressed as Chester’s Tudor Lady delivering tours of the city where she has been a Blue Badge Tour Guide for 37 years.
Jan said: “I just can’t believe what the staff here at the hospice have done for me. Until a few weeks ago I was still riding Bob every day and he is such an important part of my life, and I have missed him so much.
“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.”
Louise Saville King, deputy ward manager at the hospice, said: “It was obvious when Jan first came to us that she is passionate about her animals and that horses have played a large part in her life for many years.
“The ethos of hospice care is not just about caring for the clinical needs of our patients but also looking after their emotional and spiritual needs as well.
“It’s about making a difference to our patients and their families in whatever way we can.
“We know that sometimes people are scared at the thought of coming to the hospice, but it’s a positive place where people are supported and well cared for.
“The work of the hospice really does make a difference to people’s lives.“
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