Echo and My Friend Larry
Echo and my Friend Larry
Some years ago I was planting peas on the 5th of July. In Texas July is hot, no damn hot. Several of the bags of peas had broken so I had to transfer the peas into a 5 gallon bucket. I would put on sack on my shoulder and then take the 5 gallon bucket in the other hand and walk about 150 yards up the hill to the area we had plowed for the peas. I normally wear a long sleeve shirt, but on one of the many trips up the hill I got hot.. I took my shirt off and soaked it in the creek and put it on to cool me down. That day in July was about 105 degrees plus no breeze at all in the creek bottom.
I sat down on the bags of seed to cool off. Suddenly I felt a huge fat man sitting on my chest, My left arm had a huge pain in it. My back begin to hurt.. Sweating bullets by now I was hurting in the middle of my chest. My dad and son drove up on the four wheeler and tractor. Dad asked my what was wrong As I explained all of us knew what was happening- heart attack.
My ride on the fender of the tractor with my 80 year old dad driving, while having a heart attack was an adventure that needs to be written about someday. At the house Mom, a nurse for over 40 years, lay me in the floor placed wet towel on me, surrounded me with several fans to cool me down. After several moments Mom saw I was not getting better so She directed Dad and Bryan to take me to the hospital.. There I was admitted and found to be having a total heart attack while in the ER room.
A flight to the big Hospital in Tyler on a helicopter , many hospital people waiting on me to arrive, and being send to ICU is mostly a blur. My biggest fear was about my family, how were they going to take this news.
While waiting on the tests, doctors, and all the other things going on around me I got mad... I could not understand why I had a heart attack. I am the guy that runs, does not smoke, eat very little red meat, takes care of myself, don’t drink and eat healthy. I got so stinking mad I was just mad that me the one guy that takes good care of himself has a heart attack. I was raging inside.. trying hard not to scream..
On my second day in ICU nurses were trying to settle me down as the blood pressure monitor showed my frustration. I knew I was going to be okay but the 'why me' was eating me up.
Enter Echo. I sat on my bed as a greyhound dog came thru the door way. He seemed to know my frustration, placed his head in my lap. I touched him to find him to feel like velvet, so soft so calm, so where did he come from.. The local Therapy pet dogs were visiting that day and Echo came in to see me. I have played and trained dogs all my life but this greyhound did some thing that no one in the hospital or drugs could do. Echo calmed me down. I could not feel sorry for myself any more. Echo did his magic on me. We sat there in the room for a long time just sharing moments Echo never offered any advise or asked any questions..
The doctors placed a stint in my heart after that I was pronounced in good heath. Mom giving me that aspirin, Dad and Bryan getting me to the hospital early kept this situation under control, Plus Echo using his Magic on me.
Years have pasted and I have never forgotten Echo. I had trained dogs before this but Echo opened my heart. I have never forgotten Echo, or the work that Therapy pet does for hospitals
Last week my mom called to tell me about a life long friend of mine who’s life was ending Mom said that " Larry" wanted to meet Star. Larry was in Vietnam was exposed to 'agent orange'. I told Mom that I would be there the next day. I had not seen my friend in some years, but Mom and Dad had told me that he was in bad shape.. On our drive to his home I remember the many good times that we had growing up together, the many football games we played and the great times we had shared, even remembering the many discussions about how our lives were going to be when we 'grew up'.
My friend was sitting in a chair he could not speak, walk or hear. But the moment he saw me tears came into his eyes. He hugged me like we had done many times before. He wrote on his slate, I answered "no I don’t need a beer.” I told him that I had some one that wanted to meet him. Returning to the Truck I told Star that this was a good an longtime friend of mine. She seemed to understand this situation. When Star came into the room my friends pain, and years torment stopped. Star lay her head on his lap, His hand stroked her; the two of them were connected, for a few moments, years were rolled back, and life was good. It was at that moment that I remembered Echo and what he had done for me and how I had felt that day.
Star Larry and I laughed at silly pet tricks, old stories but no words were exchanged, just looks from one to the other. My friend died 10 days later. I cried at his death.
I have taught many dogs in my life, but the dogs that visit hospitals and bring hope, and a few moments of happiness to the patients are very precious animals. What positive roles they play in the healing process.
Thank you Echo for teaching me.
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