Fair warning, folks: this bittersweet story left me an emotional wreck, and if you love dogs as much as I do, you’ll probably be the same.
I’ve often spoken about how magical dogs are, in that their love can make people feel better instantly, however bad their situation is. Anyone who owns a dog will know what amazing comfort they provide during times of stress or discomfort. There is hard science behind this – evidence shows that dogs have a biological effect on us that elevates our levels of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.”
This loving boost is especially valuable for those of us who are going through tough times – for example, being seriously ill in hospital.
Unfortunately, most of the time, dogs aren’t allowed in hospitals, despite being the place where their owners probably need their love most. There is good reason for this – dogs can be a risk to hygiene, and hospital staff need to look out for the best interests of their patients.
On the flip side of that, evidence suggests that that visiting with a pet while hospitalized improves a patient’s mood, as well as reducing their levels of anxiety.
A story posted by Reddit user named Mel has gone viral because of the lengths he and his dog went to to visit his sick wife, who was seriously ill in hospital.
“My wife was in the hospital after a very invasive surgery, which after a few days, looked like it did not produce ideal results,” Mel wrote. “The prognosis was not good. She was able to speak, but was not eating or drinking, and relied completely on her IV and hard pain pills. In one rare instance of cogent speech, she convinced me to sneak our dog into her private room, so she could see her ‘one more time.’”
One can only imagine how hard it must have been for Mel to hear these words, but he knew he had to honor her wishes. Mel decided to sneak their 50-pound Australian Shepherd into her hospital room in the only way he knew how – by hiding the dog in a suitcase.
“I packed her in, with the lid unzipped, and placed her in the car until we arrived at the hospital,” Mel wrote. “When we arrived, I ‘explained’ to her that I would open the zipper in a few minutes and that she could see her Mommy.”
Why do I feel like the dog will have perfectly understood what was going on? They’re way smarter than we give them credit for.
As they slipped their way through the hospital wings, the dog was quiet as a cat burglar. When asked about the suitcase, Mel told the nurses that he was bringing “items to make my wife more comfortable.”
Well, I mean, technically he wasn’t lying about that.
“When we entered the room, my wife was asleep,” Mel wrote. “I unzipped the suitcase, and the dog immediately jumped on the bed, and gingerly laid across her chest, somehow avoiding the wires and IV. She positioned herself to where she could look directly into my wife’s eyes, and laid completely still, until about twenty minutes later, when my wife woke up, and started moaning in pain.”
“The dog immediately started licking her, and quietly moaned, as if knowing that barking would definitely blow our cover,” Mel wrote.
Like I said – that dog knew exactly what was going on. Thankfully, the pain subsided, and Mel’s wife was able to spend that precious quality time with her beloved dog.
“My wife hugged her for almost an hour, smiling the whole time,” he continued. “We were busted by one nurse who was so touched that she promised not to tell. When my wife finally went back to sleep, I loaded the dog back in the suitcase, and she somewhat sheepishly obliged.”
Sadly, Mel’s wife passed away a few days later. We’re just so glad that she was able to see her beloved pet one more time, as she wanted.
In a heartbreaking end to the story, Mel added: “Now, whenever I grab the suitcase, the dog thinks we are doing to see her again”.