Glen & Ann's Archive

Izzy in hospice: Visiting Glenn, continued from below

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

As Izzy continues his hospice work, he becomes more skilled and intuitive. He and Glenn bonded, quickly and powerfully. Izzy seems to grasp how to move around people who are ill. He bounded up on the bed, careful to avoid Glenn’s legs, and squeezed in between the retired logger and the window. He lay there for more than 30 minutes, and that is a long time for a border collie to remain still.
Izzy put his paw on Glenn’s arm, above, and left it there while Glenn recalled his life with his dog Pal. When we return, Izzy will almost surely return to the same spot, and once again lay still while Glenn decides whether and how to touch him. This is instinct on Izzy’s part, as I have not trained him to do that, although I reinforce it when he does.
Here, Glenn became emotional recalling his own dog, who rode with him in a logging truck for many  years, and Izzy, responded by burrowing his head into Glenn’s outstretched hand. They remained that way for some time, and just about everyone in the room was near tears or crying. Glenn repeatedly asked if Izzy could return. He will.

Izzy in hospice: To the Adirondacks, with Glenn (continued below)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Izzy and Glenn stayed this way for nearly a half an hour. Glenn said he was crying for joy.

January 9, 2007 – Izzy and I drove with Keith Mann of Washington County Hospice up to the Adirondacks today to see Glenn, a retired logger enrolled in hospice. It was a long drive, worth it, through many beautiful, remote and mostly impoverished towns.
Glenn had a dog, Pal, for many years, who rode with him in his logging truck through New York State and Vermont. The dog, he said, was faithful and reliable and a beloved companion for 16 years, even to the point of chasing bears away. And served as a ride-a-long companion to somebody who spent many hours alone in a truck. (Glenn proudly recalled he got a new truck every three years.)
Glenn and Izzy bonded in an instant and extraordinary way, Glenn tearing up at the memory of Pal and eager to have these pictures taken and posted. Izzy, given permission, hopped delicately up on the bed next to Glenn and visited with him for the better part of an hour, never once stepping on him or bumping into any tubes or medical equipment.
Izzy put his paw on Glenn’s arm, put his head under Glenn’s outstretched hand, and lay still while Glenn decided how to touch him, and told stories about Pal.
Glenn is a warm, open and loving man. He is easy to connect with, even for humans. I’m privileged to know him.
The emotional impact of the visit was intense, on everyone. Glenn had a wood carving of Pal, which he keeps near his bed. As a writer, I’m challenged to do justice to the pleasure Izzy’s visit gave Glenn. As Keith pointed out (repeatedly), I was wrong writing recently that our visits couldn’t really cheer people up. They can. Izzy helped Glenn revisit one of the most satisfying and loving parts of his life and everybody in the room was near tears before we left. I was surprised at how much it meant for Glenn to see Izzy at this point in his life, although by now, I really shouldn’t be.
And this is only the first visit. These two became instant and faithful friends, and Izzy will stand in for Pal at a time when Glenn needs that. Izzy is a gift, to Glenn, to me.
We will be back this weekend.

Izzy, Glenn and Ann do some bonding