When the last day is drawing near, what do you think you will miss? These people in a nursing home for the terminal elderly are happy to have a visit from Baxter, an elder himself. Baxter, more than nineteen years old, spent his own last days bringing comfort and affection to some people and their families at the San Diego Hospice. His story is exceptional.
It is sadly true that we all have a designated number of days to live on this earth. Just as sadly, a dog's days are even shorter. But Melissa Joseph, Baxter's owner, has a one-of-a-kind heart, and she trained and certified the Chow mix to be a very special therapy dog.
She took Baxter to the hospice to visit dying people with the hope that her best fur buddy would be able to bring some cheer to them. And he certainly did.
Baxter loved visiting patients, and would make friends with just about anybody. But the day came when his old body was obviously wearing out. Melissa knew how much he always enjoyed those visits, so she made a little bed in a red wagon, laid him in it, and went visiting.
The families of the patients were so glad to see Baxter, and even from his own bed, he made friends and brought a bit of happiness to them in a sad time of their lives.
Then Melissa would cradle Baxter in her arms as she carried him gently to the bed of a dying person, and—if they were willing—for a few precious moments, they would touch hearts.
I think, perhaps, that many of them had owned dogs throughout their lives, and Baxter's visits must have given them a joyous path down memory's lane as they remembered their own beloved companions.
Whatever the case, they seemed delighted to have a visit from the old dog who truly understood what they were going through. The empathy and love he showed was always reciprocated.
Lisa McCollough, Chaplain at the hospice, recounts how one patient cried and laughed as Baxter licked her affectionately for over half an hour. It was one of her better days, and that night she left this world for the next one with the knowledge that a simple dog had given her a final gift of love.
Baxter spent his life making people happy. His special gift of empathy for the dying lasted throughout his days, and when he left for greener pastures, his friends celebrated his life. If only someone would write on my tomb what should be on his: He lived, he loved.
Watch this touching video. His story is told to the background music of In the Arms of An Angel, and chances are, you won't be able to hold back the tears. Share it with your Facebook friends, and grab a copy of Moments With Baxter as a special Christmas gift this year