For 87-year-old Patrick Saunders, a dream came true when he had the opportunity to fulfill a dying wish. This was all thanks to some dedicated employees at North Devon Hospice who truly went above and beyond.
During his final days and thanks to his incredible nursing staff, Saunders was able to feed, pet, and interact with one of his first loves, horses.
Saunders was taught to ride by his father; Victor. He grew up surrounded by horses, and his first job as a teenager was working at a stable. He even had the opportunity to train his future wife Wendy, who at the time was fifteen, to ride. Later in life, he taught his children the beloved hobby as well.
His daughter, Jayne, shared, “Horses have played a big part in our family’s life, so this was a very special moment.”
When the hospice nurses found out about Saunders passion, they knew they had to bless him with one last afternoon interacting with the animal that meant so much to him.
Nurse Cathy Whattingham, commented, “His passion for horses was so clear, and they’d obviously played a big part in his life. We happen to be next door to the North Devon Equine Rescue Centre, so we thought we’d see if they might be able to bring a horse to the hospice to visit Patrick. One phone call later and there was a beautiful brown stallion standing outside the front door of the hospice.”
The horse, ironically named Victor, arrived shortly after the call. Jayne said she did not expect her father to be able to get so close, but hospice care wheeled Saunders right next to the brown beauty.
Saunders was able to spend one last afternoon petting and feeding Victor mints, carrots, and apples. Saunders and Victor became fast friends, and his daughter said that recently her father experienced a string of bad days, but the joy on his face was evident when interacting with Victor.
Sadly, Patrick Saunders passed away three days after the exciting visit, but his daughter said that his last few days were wonderful because of the dedicated staff at North Devon Hospice and of course his new four-legged friend, Victor.
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