Dying woman granted final wish to say goodbye to her horse and dogs from hospice bed
A terminally ill woman was granted a final wish to say goodbye to her horse and two dogs from her hospice bed in Backford, Cheshire.
Jan Holman, 68, had an emotional reunion with her horse, Bob, and two King Charles spaniels, Monty and Rowley, for one last time after being moved to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd a fortnight ago.
The pensioner said that until a few weeks ago she had been riding Bob every day and that he had been "such an important part of my life".
Pictures of the reunion show the horse gently nuzzling its owner through the courtyard doors and Ms Holman’s spaniels visiting her bedside.
She had been admitted to hospital unexpectedly six weeks ago after a consultant's appointment and hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to her beloved animals.
Once she was relocated to the hospice, staff got to work on granting her wish.
Ms Holman, of Chester, said: "I just can't believe what the staff here at the hospice have done for me.
"Until a few weeks ago I was still riding Bob every day and he is such an important part of my life, and I have missed him so much.
"I knew that arranging for my dogs to visit was possible as we had a neighbour who was a patient at the hospice a few years ago and we were allowed to bring the dogs to visit her.
"But I just didn't expect that they would ever be able to give me the chance to see Bob one more time."
Before her illness Ms Holman could be seen dressed as Chester’s Tudor Lady while delivering tours of the city, where she has been a Blue Badge Tour Guide for 37 years.
Hospice staff wanted to ensure that Ms Holman would see Bob again and nurses were able to wheel her bed to the patio doors while staff from Bob's stables walked the piebald Cob to the hospice courtyard.
Ms Holman’s husband of 46 years, Dennis, said: "It was just such a relief once Jan was moved from the hospital to the hospice in Chester and we were able to have named visitors who could come and see Jan regularly.
"However, we never imagined that we would be able to include our dogs Monty and Rowley and Jan's horse Bob on the visiting list."
He added: "All the staff here have been wonderful...nothing is too much trouble, including arranging for a horse to visit."
The couple have had a long relationship with the hospice, actively supporting them by undertaking sponsored walks and fundraising events.
Louise Saville King, deputy ward manager at the hospice, said: "It was obvious when Jan first came to us that she is passionate about her animals and that horses have played a large part in her life for many years.
"We felt it was really important to try and arrange for Bob to visit Jan.
"The ethos of hospice care is not just about caring for the clinical needs of our patients but also looking after their emotional and spiritual needs as well.
"It's about making a difference to our patients and their families in whatever way we can.
"We know that sometimes people are scared at the thought of coming to the hospice, but it's a positive place where people are supported and well cared for."