Last year I discovered how much a dog can mean to a person and especially a senior citizen. One of my clients, Ms. Smith (name changed for privacy) had a very sweet dog, named Baby, and for a long time, the two of them lived together and did a great job taking care of one another. Unfortunately, Ms. Smith was beginning to have a lot of problems with her diabetes. Several times she ended up in the hospital unexpectedly due to peritonitis and other complications from infections. Our SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers did their best to maintain a clean healthy environment for Ms. Smith, but she refused to allow caregivers to help her more than just a couple of hours a day. Unfortunately, Ms. Smith’s closest family members were several states away and although they worried when they received reports from Synergy Homecare about her condition, they were simply unable to offer to be with her or allow caregivers to be with her more hours of the day.
The result was Ms. Smith was hospitalized for a final time and we realized she would not be returning home. When Ms. Smith was taken by ambulance to the hospital, she thought she had requested a friend look after her dog. Unfortunately, the infection in her body was causing dementia symptoms and Ms. Smith had in fact not requested anyone to look after her dog, Baby.
It was several days that Ms. Smith was in ICU and even as her homecare case manager, I was not able to go into her room to visit her. On the fourth day, the hospital allowed me to see her. The first thing she said to me was to ask how Baby was doing. Immediately I felt a sense of panic and called my office manager to work the problem. We started calling Ms. Smith’s emergency contacts and neighbors that we knew and each time were told the same thing, none of them had Baby.
We called one of Ms. Smith’s family members who lived out of state and asked permission to go to the house and check on the dog. Upon entering the house, we were completely expecting the worst possible scenario, so imagine my shock when I walked into the kitchen and saw Baby jumping and barking and begging for attention. She was pretty hungry but considering she had been alone for several days, Baby was in great shape! Then a new panic struck. What do we do with her?
It was obvious Baby couldn’t stay alone, and none of Ms. Smith’s emergency contacts wanted to keep her. The only thing left to do was take her home with me. I spoke with both Ms. Smith and her family and they were so grateful she was being cared for. Baby stayed at my home for several days until other arrangements could be made.
As the end approached for Ms. Smith, she told one of her family members who had flown in to say goodbye that she was so glad SYNERGY HomeCare had taken care of her and her precious Baby.