This 87-year-old man was living his final days in hospice care when staff at the center went above and beyond to grant him his final wish, after often hearing him nostalgically recall his pastimes. On the day his final wish was granted, the elderly man was beaming with happiness, and it was truly “a very special moment.”
Patrick Saunders, a former stable hand, often told the staff at North Devon Hospice about his younger days with horses while in hospice care, the SWNS reported. The staff decided to help him fulfill his final wish—to feed a horse for the last time. Three days after his wish was granted, he passed away.
When the employees arranged for a horse to visit Saunders, he was too weak to get out of bed. Hospice staff then wheeled his bed outside so he could pet and feed the horse with apples, carrots, and Polo mints.
Recalling the moment when Saunders was with the horse, his daughter, Jayne, said: “I simply didn’t expect him to have an experience like that at the hospice. He’d actually had a couple of bad days and wasn’t himself at all, but he was absolutely full of beans when I arrived and you could see the joy on his face from being able to interact with such a gorgeous animal.”
“Horses have played a big part in our family’s life, so this was a very special moment. When they told me that a horse was coming to visit dad, I thought that maybe he would be able to see the animal from his balcony. I had no idea he would be able to get so close.”
“But that’s what the hospice is all about, going above and beyond. People can be fearful of the word ‘hospice’, unless you know better, like we do now. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Being able to fulfill Saunders’s last wish, one of the nurses, Cathy Whattingham, who cared for him said: “I’ll never forget Patrick’s smile when he was stroking that horse’s face. You could see they had a real connection and it is experiences like that which make hospice care so special. We may not be able to put days into life, but we can put life into the days of our patients.”
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