We visited residents at Christian Health Care Center in Lynden with Tinkerbell the Bantam Hen, Chester the Rabbit, and Scotty & Obi our therapy horses. Our hearts were full seeing excited faces and joyful smiles as we approached windows with our furry (and feathered!) creatures.
At one room, a woman eagerly tapped the glass to get the animals’ attention, and picked up a framed photograph from her windowsill. She held it up show us; a young man riding a horse. A nurse cracked the window so we could hear her say, “My husband. We lived on a ranch in Montana. We were married for 57 years.”
“He was handsome, wasn’t he?” we said.
“Tell me about it!”
It’s difficult to capture in words the emotional magnitude of these visits. Elders are experiencing the physical & emotional effects of the pandemic more than most, and many have been in complete isolation since early March. One resident burst into tears as Obi walked up to her window; another nearly sprang from the bed in excitement and didn’t stop waving and blowing kisses until we were out of sight. Our hands met through glass as people reached out to the animals, that pesky barrier limiting us to hand gestures and body language for communication. Thankfully, eyes and smiles can say so much. One man even mimicked stroking a rabbit as we held Chester up to say hello.
Tears slipped beneath our masks as we absorbed the joy people were feeling. We cherish these moments.
We are privileged to do these visits, knowing that many people are still not able to see their family members & friends. Our goal is to bring some respite and enjoyment to those detached from their normal lives & communities, even if just for a short time, and to offer comfort to the families, knowing their loved ones are not alone. Thank you to those who have donated towards this program and made these visits possible!
We are thrilled to share that KING 5 News covered our visit, and you can watch the video here!
Finally, our profound gratitude to the compassionate, dedicated staff at Christian Health Care Center who so lovingly care for our elder friends, and help facilitate our visits. Their hearts are so big!