An Infinite Moment

October 24, 2012

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog on about the healing effect that therapy dogs can have on the elderly and the ill.

Today I had the privilege of witnessing this first hand. A very dear friend of mine is very ill and is bravely facing her last few weeks in a palliative care unit.

Tonight, as I was standing at the nurse's station I turned around when I felt a soft brush against my leg. There beside me was a beautiful golden retriever, with her gentle brown eyes and her friendly smile. (Yes dogs smile). Without hesitating I reached out to pat Misty's head. It was inviting, so warm and so soft.

Both she and her lovely handler wore tunics that read therapy. What I had read about extensively and written about enthusiastically was right here before me. Misty was a therapy dog for the palliative care ward.

But I hadn't signed up for a visit, and it was after 7 pm at night…but maybe, just maybe, they would have time for one more visit. My friend was a true animal lover, havingrescued hundreds of dogs and cats in her sweet and meaningful life. A visit from this gorgeous animal would mean so much to her.

I spoke to the handler and enjoyed hearing more details of this great program, but soon they had to move along as they had a patient to visit.

You can imagine my surprise 30 minutes later when a golden bundle of energy arrived at the side of Anne's bed, feet landing beside her and tongue out, ready for a big lick. At first startled, her face quickly turned to one of pure joy. I can not even describe how happy she was or the feelings that her happiness elicited in me.

She had never expected to see a dog again, the species that she had spent her life caring for and loving. This final unexpected visit created for her and for me an experience that I can only describe, as Robert Browning did so eloquently, as an 'infinite moment', a moment where everything in the universe comes together in one glorious moment - one never to be forgotten. I am grateful.