A few months ago, Jan Holman was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very long after her diagnosis that her health started to decline rapidly. Before long, she found herself staying in the hospital. After a few weeks away from home, Jan was desperately missing her furry family members. This is understandable, as even a day or two away from our best friends can start to feel like forever.
Jan and her husband, Dennis, have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Monty and Rowley. They are two of the lights of their lives. And how could they not be? The pair are absolutely adorable.
After four weeks in the hospital, Jan was transferred to Hospice of the Good Shepherd. Once settled in, she was finally able to be reunited with her canine companions.
“She was absolutely overjoyed to see them after a five-week gap away. The pecking order in our horse is the dogs come first, then the horse, then me,” shared Dennis.
Jan was delighted to spend some time with her pups. And it was obvious that they missed her too. Monty and Rowley spent time lying in bed with her, and being held by Dennis and some of the nurses. Seeing her pups again made Jan smile so much, and they were able to provide some much-needed comfort.
“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 our dogs Monty and Rowley and Jan’s horse Bob on the visiting list,” said Dennis.
When her husband of 46 years saw her radiant smile after she was finally able to be reunited with her beloved dogs, he half-jokingly asked if he could bring her horse to the hospice as well. Jan rode her horse daily for many years and had an incredibly deep connection with him. He was likely missing her too. Amazingly, they didn’t say no. Instead, they immediately set to work on the logistics.
With a little help from hospice staff members and Jan’s riding instructor, Ruth, they were able to find a way. Conveniently, Jan’s room had patio doors that led out into a small courtyard. The team from Thornleigh Park Farm Stables, where Bob is kept, brought him to the hospice and walked him down into the courtyard. Nurses then unplugged Jan’s bed and wheeled her to the open doors, where Bob stuck his head into her room.
Jan was able to lie comfortably in her bed and love up on her sweet horse. It was so obvious that Bob was excited to see his mom. He gave her neck and lap an affectionate nuzzle upon their emotional reunion. Hospice of the Good Shepherd was even kind enough to supply apples, carrots, and Bob’s favorite snack, bananas, for him to munch on during their visit.
Jan’s eyes lit up as she fed him from her bed, and she truly enjoyed spending that time with her beloved Bob. The gorgeous piebald Cob is quite large but was very well behaved and displayed excellent manners during his entire visit.
“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,” said Jan.
Sadly, not long after their visit, Jan passed away. She passed peacefully while holding the hand of her loving husband. It’s evident that Hospice of the Good Shepherd cares deeply for their patients and understands the importance of the incredible bonds we have with our beloved furry family members. It’s wonderful that they were able to give her and her best friends one final goodbye.