Jun 2nd 2008

Izzy’s time: Hospice Journal at Gardenworks, Sunday, 2 p.m.

Posted in Izzy, Lenore, Other


June 2, 2008 – For more than a year now, Izzy, a border collie rescued from a farm not too far from mine, has led me on one of the greatest journeys of my life, Hospice work. We’ve traveled to the Adirondacks, to homes, trailers, villages, hospitals, crumbling houses, restored and working farms, nursing homes, tiny apartments and clapboard mill houses, to bring some comfort and attention to people on the edge of life. Izzy has entered one strange environment after another, coping with strangers, machines, cramped and dark spaces and people in intense stages of many emotions – love, despair, pain, grief, decline, death.
He has done a great job everywhere he has gone, and is loved by everyone who met him. He has always been welcome, and been to more funerals, memorial services and cemeteries than any dog I have ever known of. He has never harmed or frightened a patient, disturbed equipment, had an accident, or made himself in any way unwelcome.
He is an empath, an intuitive creature gifted with a wondrous ability to see into the souls of people, and connect with them.
He has been challenged by dogs, cats and unfamiliar circumstance, day after day. He has brought light into darkness, eased loneliness, opened emotions, brought comfort and even joy when it seemed almost impossible. As Keith Mann of Hospice said of Izzy tonight at a volunteer’s meeting, Izzy is the world’s greatest active listener, showing the rest of us how to hear and see.
Izzy has seen more than one person he loved die, and has almost visibly grieved. I see him suffer sometimes, confused and deflated. But not for long.
I do not know what goes on inside the spirit of this extraordinarily loving creature, but I am blessed to have brought him into my life. Lenore is not intuitive in the way Izzy is, but she is a powerful Ambassador of Love, a spreader of smiles and laughter and love. She is on her way to becoming a great Hospice dog.
Sunday, I honor Izzy and also Lenore, my two Hospice dogs, by bringing them to Gardenworks, Route 30 in Salem, N.Y. (518 854 3250) at 2 p.m. I will talk about my Hospice work with dogs. There will be some music, Maria Heinrich will show her quilts, Mary Kellogg will read from her new book, “My Place On Earth,” and Gardenworks will offer its rich menu of crafts, flowers, cheese, organic produce and pies, donuts and muffins.
Hospice officials will talk a bit about Hospice and photos from Hospice Journal will be shown publicly for the first time. There are lots of good reasons to come, but in my mind, the day belongs to Izzy, and honors him for his great and faithful heart, and proud service to the great tradition of dogs helping human beings.