Lee's Archive


Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Izzy waiting for Lee

February 20, 2008 – Got a call from one of the day nurses that Lee, the very depressed Alzheimer’s patient Izzy and I had visited several times in the past month, had come into the common room at the nursing home where she had been living for many months now, and turned to one of the nurses and said “Where’s Izzy?” The nurse was surprised, as Lee rarely spoke, especially in recent weeks. Lee asked where Izzy was several times and so she called me asked if we might stop by before dinner.
Lee is not a hospice patient, so Izzy and I were off the books.
Izzy continues to surprise me. We came into the nursing home a little before 7 p.m., and Izzy went straight to the corridor in front of Lee’s room, where he had last seen her. She wasn’t in the room, so Izzy lay down in front of the door, above. How, I wondered, did he know where we were going, who we were going to see?
After a few minutes, the nurse who had called came up and found us, and told us Lee was watching television. We went to see her. Lee saw Izzy coming, and smiled. “Izzy, you beautiful boy!” she said. “My, you have grown. You are so much bigger than before.  You used to be just a little poodle!”  Izzy seemed pleased, and put his head on Lee’s knee, clearly recognizing her. The two stared at one another for awhile, and Lee smiled, then cried a bit. We will never know precisely why, said the nurse. Nor will we know what part of her Izzy touched and brought back to life, and made her smile, then cry.
Visiting these patients with Izzy has changed me, altered how I look at the world and some of the people in it. Spirits, I think, do not get old, perhaps never die.

Lenore note. I’ve brought Lenore into three hospice situations. I was wrong about her not being a hospice-style dog. She seems to grasp, as Izzy does, when to be calm, to not jump or bump. This is the part of training I can’t do – teach that intuition. She goes right up to patients, wags her tail, lies down. They love her.
I can handle the rest of the training. But she has the touch, and so Friday we go to get her temperance certificate. Next week she goes to work, assuming she passes. Lenore is the light. She brings smiles and cheer wherever she goes, and she will, I think, be good at this. I doubt she will quite have Izzy’s particular touch, sensitivity, though I may be wrong.
When she was young, I didn’t want to push her against her nature. But gentle ways with people is her nature.