A widow whose only companion is her dog
(Published Jan. 18, 2007, 5:00 p.m.)
I received a letter requesting help for an elderly woman. The letter was written by an individual who has seen this elderly widow at her place of employment. In her letter, the lady mentioned that we live in a world where the elderly are often ignored or forgotten. When the woman spoke with the elderly widow, she recognized that she was in need of assistance. She wrote me a letter to see if I could check on the situation.
I tried contacting the elderly widow on several occasions. Finally, we made contact. When I explained who I was, I was pleasantly surprised that she regularly read The Time Is Now to Help column. She was very joyous and excited. She kept saying, "I cannot believe I am talking to you. I cannot believe I am talking to you."
After she calmed down a little, we set a time to visit. When I arrived, I realized that she must have been sitting right on the other side of the door awaiting my arrival, because she answered my knock immediately. As I walked in, I could feel the anticipation of her wanting to greet with a hug, so I reached out and hugged her. As she was hugging me, even though she was very frail, she gave me a very strong hug in return, and I could tell she did not want to let go.
She was trying to talk to me through her tears. As she continued to hug me, I heard her nervousness and her shaking, while crying. I patted her back to console her. I told her everything would be okay. When she eventually let go, we looked at each other and she said, "I have been praying for your health." With her statement, I silently said to God, "Thank you for bringing me here. Thank you, Lord, for her prayer."
She invited me to come in. We stepped into the other room, where she had several of the Time Is Now articles on the table. She pointed to a 3-foot-tall stack of newspapers, all of which were Time Is Now articles. At that moment, I heard some whining in the next room. I asked her what it was and she replied, "That is my friend." I continued to hear the whining, so I asked her if I may see her friend.
She opened the door and out came a little dog with a graying face. The little dog was excited to see company and be recognized. After meeting her companion, we became more comfortable talking at the kitchen table. She stated in our conversation, "I know I can talk to you. Other people are so hard to talk to and ask for help; I feel like I am going to be rejected or discarded, but I know that you help people."
I replied by telling her it was my vow to God to help people in need, and that was the reason I was there. She literally sprung up from her chair to engulf me in another hug and began to cry again. I could feel the need for help. After calming her down again, I reassured her I was there to help and I was not going to leave until we had helped her. She sat back down and we talked for quite a while. I learned that she was behind in her utilities, she had received a disconnect notice for her phone and she was having a very difficult time.
She said, "Our country seems to forget the elderly and thinks we are just a burden. Social Security, even though it was promised and given to us, our government says it is a financial burden on our country. Many think our country would be better off without the elderly."
I looked at her and told her there are a lot of good Americans who care for the elderly and wholeheartedly support services for the elderly. She said, "I am sure people would frown on me for having my closest friend here," as she pointed to her little dog, "and would probably think it would be better for me to put my little dog to sleep than for me to put up with any costs toward my little dog. My dog eats very little and loves me very much. My little dog saw me through the death of my husband many years ago."
I looked at the little dog. It was as if the little dog could understand every word, just like in the movies when a dog stares at the camera with his head cocked sideways and intently looks into the camera. This little gray-faced dog stared at me, as if to say, "Yes, I love my master. I am not a burden. I want to be the bright side of her life. Please accept me."
I looked back at the lady, who was looking at her little dog, saying, "I don't know what I would do without you, especially during all my time of being alone." She looked at me and said, "You know, even at the senior homes, they bring in dogs to visit because they make the people happy." Then she said, "The only happiness in my life is my dog. If I have to give up my little dog, then..." I stopped her and said, "I recognize your companion is bringing you happiness, and this life was created by our Lord, as is all life."
She smiled and said, "I knew you would understand." This elderly lady was once told she could not afford to have a dog and that she should put it to sleep. This broke her heart. She was then afraid to ask for any help, because she thought anyone she asked would tell her she had to put her dog to sleep first.
In many studies, it has been proven that animals bring joy and happiness. The unconditional love from a pet can bring healing and a sense of well-being. This lady was having a hard time, and when no one else was there to help her or take the time to even visit, her little dog was there for her.
Together we helped pay for her utilities and prevented her phone from being disconnected. Much-needed food was provided. An introduction to others has now given her a little social time. She told me, "Thanks to everyone, my life has been renewed. Please give a big hug and prayers to everyone."
Thank you, to all of you, for caring and sharing and helping this elderly woman see there are people who do appreciate and care for the elderly.
Health and happiness,
Together with all of you, and our gracious Bill McEssy, owner of the local McDonald's, we have been able to help our local communities with a donation of $31,715; $14,000 went to the 14 food pantries to help feed the poverty-stricken. Next week we will show where every penny went.
Jan. 27 will be the third Antique Day at the Lake Geneva Antique Mall, 829 Williams St., Lake Geneva, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Bring your antiques for appraisal, maximum three items, and a $3 donation per item will go to The Time Is Now to Help.
A special thank you to: Clarence and Marilyn Schawk, owner of The Geneva Inn, Bernard and Jean Labovitch, Tom and Kathy Murray, James and Marilyn Dyer, Paul Ziegler, Peter and Sandra Douglas, Rita Popelka, Monica Hochevar, Sandralee Thiele, Richard and Patricia Dressel, Tim and Kim Graham, Tom and Mary Earle, St. Francis De Sales School, Robert and Laura Haase, the town of Geneva Police Department and all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, including the businesses that allow our donation boxes in their places of business.
Anyone who would like a Time Is Now to Help donation box in your business, please call 249-7000.
Endowments/helping others through your will: For those of you who wish to leave an endowment for the poverty stricken, we would greatly accept any gifts. Please think of those in desperate need, good people living in fear of poverty and consider helping them through your will.
Desperately needed car: If anyone has a car they can donate, knowing you will be helping people get back on their feet, out of their desperate need for transportation to work, etc., please call 249-7000. We have many in desperate need of reliable transportation, so they can regain their independence, retain their jobs, provide food and necessities for their families and ease their pain and suffering. Thank you and God bless you.
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