We had a very moving animal healing visit here at Apifera this past week. Many of you saw this photo, and others, on our other platforms and were as moved by it as I was, and as I was when it happened.
Linda lives at Cove's Edge where we visit regularly, and she went blind from a disease several years ago. The disease also effects her breathing and she is in a wheelchair. You might remember her in photos, pre pandemic, holding little Bear in her lap, she loved it. She loves animals and once had horses and other critters.
It's hard for her in many ways, physically and emotionally and my Girl Friday at Cove's thought it would be nice to get her out on her own to the farm, and I was right on board. I didn't have my assistant equine person but with two caretakers and me, I knew we could handle the horses so I brought in Biggs first. The flies were bad, but she was moved to feel a horse again. And then I asked if I could bring the pony, and of course she said yes. But also, I wanted to bring White Dog in, who is a natural but under the circumstances I knew he too would benefit. And he did. In fact, when The Teapot was getting hugged, White Dog also asked for more.
At some point, Linda said that "It feels like home."
This is why we do what we do. And I've written about it many times. The biggest sadness of the elders in residences is they are not home. They appreciate the care, but it is not home.
We also talked about touch, the importance of it in our lives, and of course to the blind touch is very important, and smell. I reiterated that the animals allow the elders to touch, and be touched, and I also touch them. Many people without even knowing it are shunning elders in their daily lives, almost as if they don't want to look. Linda said it best, "They are afraid they are going to be old too, or like me'. I agreed. None of us want to become non independent. It is a visceral fear.
Linda has been through so much in the past years losing her eyesight, and her husband and her home. For those two hours though, she was free-free of the constant noise in the residence, free of all the activity around her, and she was also free to talk on her own and have a one on one conversation. To know she felt at home, it just was so heartwarming, even though fleeting.
We described all the things around us, the goats wandering, the ducks and The Goose-who spoke frequently and Linda talked back to him- and the sheep and llamas in the outer fields.
When it was time to leave, she grabbed her two caretakers arms and wanted hugs and she cried, she thanked them over and over for making it happen. We already are planning another visit. I'm hoping we can do it in the outer barn where she can be surrounded by the donkeys and horses. My Girl Friday is on board. It takes a village to care for our elders.