Jul 27th 2008

Falling in love with Marion

Posted in Izzy, Marion


July 27, 2008 – Izzy and I have fallen in love with Marion, who I have previously written about here as “Mary.” I want to use her real name and her photo, which I am doing with the consent of her family, and also, after convincing myself that she understood what I was doing and agreed with it. 
 She deserves a face, and I love photographing this radiant and loving presence. 
   Marion convinced me today that she would be happy to have her picture taken with Izzy, and she wanted people to see the work dogs can do in therapy. 
  Marion is not enrolled in hospice, but we met her visiting hospice patients in her nursing home, and we visited her regularly, as does her daughter. We see two other patients who are enrolled in hospice, in the same facility.
  Izzy and I have rarely connected to any human beings as quickly as powerfully as we have connected with Marion, who lived on a farm, and dearly loved her dog Scout, a “groundhog dog,” she told me, who ran down groundhogs, and put them on her porch every morning. “I loved Scout,” she said, “but I think I love Izzy more.” Izzy shamelessly flirts wth Marion, and she is insistent on giving him biscuits, which I bring.
   Marion exudes love and affection, and she talks about Izzy often, asking her daughter and the staff when he will be visiting. She has some difficulty hearing and seeing, but she knew Izzy was there the minute we knocked on the door. She had, the nurse said, been waiting all day for him. I love her stories about the farm. Communicating with her is not simple, but we are doing it, making progress, learning.
   Today we talked about her life, her husband, and some losses she has suffered, and Mario can teach all of us quite a bit about grace and affection.
  From the first time she saw Izzy, she loved  him and he loved her back. The two of them are having their own affair. “I love you, Izzy,” she said when we came into the room today – she had been in the hospital for a day or so. “I will never hurt you, and I think you are the most wonderful creature.”
  Marion was overjoyed to see him and Izzy hopped up onto the bed next to her wheelchair, and the two of them spent nearly an hour cuddling with one another. I don’t really know what it is about Izzy and other animals that unlocks people’s hearts that way, but I see it so often now that I have no doubt it is true.
   I am fortunate to know Marion, and proud to show her real name,  face and a bit of her life to the world.