I walked into one of the hospital rooms overlooking commencement bay. There was an elderly gentleman in the bed closest to the door. In the area closer to the window was an oriental woman typing in notes onto a computer. She had a short pixie haircut and a white staff jacket on. I had noticed this nurse before in previous visits but she had never said anything to us and was strictly business in our encounters.
When I asked the patient his name it was as if he had forgotten it and it took him about 15 seconds to remember. He obviously loved animals. He had doggie biscuits on his hospital tray. This was a first. Lira was ok with it.
During the visit he took me back in time to the 1940’s. He told me in detail how he went to war and “traveled the islands” meaning the islands in the South Pacific. Tears started streaming down his face when he told me about his cocker spaniel mix named “Marks” that he missed terribly during this time. He was so upset that I asked him if he wanted to end the visit. That if he didn’t want to continue… that was ok. He wanted to tell me his story. When he got back home after a three year stint he was told at that time that his beloved Marks had died of cancer. His family couldn’t bear to tell him while he was off fighting in World War II. Here was a man that could hardly remember his name but he could tell me in minute detail his experience and love for an animal over 65 years ago. His pain was so fresh… so real.
Toward the end of the visit the oriental lady came over to wash her hands. She had been quietly working as the man told his story. She petted Lira as she walked by and patted me on the shoulder. I think she was touched by his memories.
I would like to give a “shout out” to the veterinarian Dr. Walia in Tacoma Washington for his generosity.