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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Elena smiled (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Daryl -the other brother
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Christmas came early for me this year.

Some of you know I have a therapy dog named "BlackJack". The 65 lb. Huskie/Labrador mix (Huskador) is known as "The Magic Dog of Silver Cross" because he performs/assists me in magic tricks we do for patients and family, nurses, and anyone else who needs a smile. Our weekly visits are planned in advance by our hospital escort and usually include 10-15 patient rooms all on one floor then several waiting rooms and lobbies.

This last week were asked to come in half an hour before our usual time to take pictures with a little girl by the Christmas tree in the lobby. This was a 1st time request and could be the story for another thread. The reason I mention it here is, because of the "photo shoot" in the lobby we ended up taking a different way back to the volunteer office to check-in for our regular shift. If we were not in that hallway we would not have met the doctor who told us about Elena and this story would not have happened.

After pictures were taken BlackJack and I were making our way to the office when a doctor stopped me. She said there was an 8 year old girl named Elena in Rm.4152, her parents had just been told she had to be transferred to Children's Memorial. The news was not good and they were terrified. The doctor thought a visit might be a pleasant distraction for a moment, I told her I would see what I could do and went to the office. My hospital escort Joe showed me our list of rooms. We were to be on the 6th floor, I told him about the girl on the 4th floor and we not only penciled her in, we decided to make her our 1st visit.

After almost 4 years in the pet therapy program I've gotten pretty good at "reading the mood " of a room when I enter and this one was quiet and full of nervous tension. Stuffed animals and "get well" cards were all over the counter and bright colored balloons were tied to the bed rail. These stood out in deep contrast to the young mother and father seated at their daughter's side. One look showed how tired they were but when we walked into the room they jumped up to greet us in a very excited and animated manner, it was clear they were in shock and putting up a brave front for their little girl.

It is against HEPA regulations to ask for information about patients so I don't know what happened to Elena but whatever it was it had left her in an "unresponsive" state. She laid in her bed, head tilted slightly, and stared at nothing. The blankness in her eyes was like nothing I've ever seen before.
BlackJack walked over to the patient's bed as he has been trained to do. The mother held her little girls hand and stroked BlackJack's hair talking to her and asking if it was soft? Elena showed no reaction, still her mother talked to her and helped her stroke the dog's hair. This went on for several minutes until finally she put her daughter's hand down and we started to say our goodbyes.

As I turned toward the door to leave my dog turned the other way and walked back to the head of the bed and licked the girl on her cheeck. He has NEVER done this before! I looked at the mother to apologize and I saw her throw her hands up to cover her mouth as big tears rolled down her face. I looked back down at the bed and ELENA WAS SMILING !!! It only lasted about 20 seconds but it was there! Elena's mother dropped her head into her daughter's neck and started laughing and crying at the same time. I looked at the father and he was doing the same thing. Since my eyes were also filling up I took this as a good time to leave.

So we left the room but before we got more than a few feet, the dad came out of the room after us. He stopped me and tried to offer me money. He said it was the first time in several days that he has seen his little girl smile. I told him what I had just seen was reward enough.


BlackJack got a big beef knuckle bone for dinner!
arthur stead
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Wow, Daryl. Thank you for that story. Made me tear up, too.
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Tom Cutts
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What a great Holiday story!
rockwall
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OK, it got me to tear up a bit too. Great story.
landmark
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Fantastic. Thanks.
imgic
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Teared me up too. What great work you do. Thank you (and BlackJack!)
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Daryl -the other brother
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For all of you that PM'ed me, I found out Elena was involved in a car accident and as a result, suffered some kind of brain injury. She was at Silver Cross for 3 days when I met her and was transferred to Children's Memorial Hospital the next day.

We have a doctor who does some work there. He's going to see what he can find out, but patient privacy is a very touchy subject. If I hear anything I will let you all know.

Again thanks for all the concern.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Just read this. Thanks for the story Daryl.

Perhaps you should call the hospital and offer a return visit with Blackjack.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Daryl -the other brother
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I'm glad you liked the story, Magnus. It was quite remarkable to see, I have been doing this almost 4 years and have never seen anything like that happen before.

BlackJack can only visit hospitals where he is registered through T.D.I. (Therapy Dog International) and I don't think Children's Memorial has a therapy program, at least not through TDI.
Daryl -the other brother
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I know not all stories end the way we want them to but I wish this one did. I found out today that Elena didn't make it. She passed shortly after Christmas having never regained consciousness. My heart goes out to the young couple that lost their beautiful little girl.

RIP Elena
landmark
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Really sorry to hear this Daryl.
lynnef
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Sorry to hear of this ending; but it remains a great story about a dying girl and a magical dog. Lynn
arthur stead
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Sorry, Daryl ... the sad outcome seemed inevitable. But it's still a beautiful story about you, Blackjack and the girl and her parents. It brought tears to my eyes even on the second and third reading.
Arthur Stead
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