Jan 24th 2008

Glen/Izzy – Final Chapter

Posted in Glen & Ann, Izzy

January 24, 2008 – As Glen neared the end, Izzy turned his attention more and more to Ann. The two locked onto one another, turning to each other for comfort.
It seemed whenever I looked, Ann was praying with Izzy or talking to him, and he was fixed on her. At times, he never took his eyes off her, checking on me from time to time, as if to ask if this was right.
After Glen died, Izzy seemed spent, and were he a human, I would have said he looked depressed, almost stricken. Below, Ann went over to him – he was lying completely still on a bed Glen often used – and enveloped him. The two embraced for a long time, something they both seemed to need.
There was a point – the hospice officials call it “actively dying,” where the patient sometimes seems to move past the need of a dog in the same way they do when they are alert and active. Then, Izzy turns to the family, so his work is clearly in two parts: first, the patient, then family members who are receptive to him. If they ignore him, or are distracted, he leaves them alone. I am not sure if his reaction to Glen’s death was physical or in some way behavioral. He seemed utterly exhausted, and it suggested to me that he was working, all the time. He was looking to me for cues, then acting on his own, usually correctly and always appropriately.
It didn’t matter to the family – his support was quite striking. Izzy clearly reacted to Glen’s death, moving on himself. I was pleased to see how much of a difference he made. Not only did he connect to Glen, he simply brightened the house, lightened the atmosphere, provided unconditional love to people who needed it, and were beyond exhaustion and struggling themselves.
Izzy was still throughout the night, returning to normal this morning, running around with Rose, interested in the sheep. Glen’s family has graciously invited him to funeral services, and we will be there.

Below, the point when Ann noticed how down Izzy seemed, and she went over to comfort him.
I told Izzy this morning that this was his calling. Maybe mine, as well. And hospice called – we have another patient to see. Good.