The Finding of a Therapy Cat: a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together.
By Mollie Hunt
Part 29: A Few More Stories
Hospice patients are amazing! Everyone Tinkerbelle and I visited was so different. Their lives, their stories, even their attitude toward death were very personal to them. The one thing they had in common was a love for animals, cats, and especially Tinkerbelle.
“Mike had been a combat pilot in Vietnam. The proud man in the flimsy hospital gown was now diminished to a shadow of his former self, but his pride in serving his country had never lessened. Neither had his love for cats. Some men are dog people, but Mike wasn’t shy about his preference for felines. Tinkerbelle lay beside him on his bed and he petted her as he talked about his life. At the end, though he was unresponsive, I placed his hand on Tink’s back. As I spoke softly, telling little Tinkerbelle stories, his fingers smoothed her fur.”
“Lana cries when we leave. I hold her hand, have her pet Tinkerbelle one last time, and promise to return, but we both know that next visit may never come. She has gotten better about it lately, maybe trusting our promise to come back soon or maybe coming to terms with her death. Tinkerbelle, always happy to see the bedridden lady, curls beside her. She would probably stay like that for hours. Sometimes I wish she could.”
“Teresa M. was in total denial. Though she was relegated to a hospital bed, she would not accept what everyone was telling her: that she was dying. Our visits were always the same: at first she would be upbeat, talking about her plans and dreams. Then she would become angry at what all those darned doctors told her. And finally the tears. Tinkerbelle would curl up in her arms, her gentle purr evening out some of the chaos in Teresa’s fearful mind. Teresa would nod off then, holding Tink tight.”
The hardest part of working with hospice patients is their inevitable decline and death. That’s when Tinkerbelle helps me with my own grief. I hold her in my arms and light a candle for the life that had touched our own.
Tinkerbelle served for four years as a registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat, visiting assisted living facilities and hospice patients. Tink is now retired and living a quiet life. Check out her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TinkerbelleTheTherapyCat/
About Mollie Hunt: Native Oregonian Mollie Hunt has always had an affinity for cats, so it was a short step for her to become a cat writer. Mollie is the author of THE CRAZY CAT LADY COZY MYSTERY SERIES, featuring Portlander Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. The 3rd in the series, CAT’S PAW, was a finalist for the 2016 Mystery & Mayhem Book Award, and the 5th, CAT CAFÉ, won the World’s Best Cat Litter-ary Award in 2019. Mollie also published a non-cat mystery, PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP, which delves into murder, obsession, and the challenge of chronic illness in bucolic southwest Washington. Two of her short cat stories have been published in anthologies, one of which, THE DREAM SPINNER, won the prestigious CWA Muse Medallion. She has a little book of Cat Poems as well.
Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, Willamette Writers, the Cat Writers’ Association, and NIWA. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats. A longtime volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society, she socializes sad, fearful, and behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home. In 2014, she had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case.
You can find Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer on her blogsite: www.lecatts.wordpress.com
Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CatWriter
Draft2Digital ebooks: https://www.draft2digital.com/book/
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/
Sign up for Mollie’s Extremely Informal Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/c0fOTn.