Last week, my wife had another infection in her body arise. She had a fever that spiked to approximately 104 F,with a high heart rate and her blood pressure just would not stabilize. So, she was hospitalized at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Pell City, AL, which is approximately twenty plus miles east of Birmingham. Anyway, Zues, my service dog, and I packed up and went down to see what was going on.
We arrived and found my wife was being admitted to the ICU. Before we found that out, we walked into the Emergency Room where my wife was, and Zues stuck his cold nose under the covers to let her know we were there. I wish I had taken a picture, because it was obvious he was saying “Hello, we are here!”
In the Army, we were taught be prepared, and if prepared be even more prepared. Sounds a bit paranoid, huh? I was prepared, though. I had packed an overnight bag and brought a bed for Zues with a blanket. Before anyone wonders, “How can a dog be in the hospital?” let me say that the Americans With Disabilities Act states that service animals are allowed into hospitals, but cannot enter Operating Rooms or Burn Units for obvious reasons. Of course we know not to take them into an area in the hospital where there could be an infection caused by the presence of the service animal. But don’t take my word for it, go to www.ada.gov. Search out service animals, and see what the law says.
Well, during the first night there, Zues slept under his covers and the nursing staff was so amazed by his easy going attitude. I smiled and just stated the obvious, that he was working in his own way. “He is not like this at home,” I explained. This is how he is in public; relaxed and mindful of me unless he is sleeping. Keep in mind that when he needs to answer nature’s call, a plan of action was in place. I had already prepared security, and got permission to allow us access back into the hospital in the event Zues needed to go outside.
We stayed two nights down there until my wife was stabilized and I saw that other members of our family would be there for her before I was settled enough to return back to Athens. When Zues and I returned to Athens, she had surgery to remove the bacteria causing her trouble. She called me and seemed so feisty, I teased her and said things like “Maybe I should have the doctor put the bacteria back so I can have some peace.”
I thank everyone for their prayers, because God is moving and I am very thankful. Now, let us hope my wife will be returning home soon, and that there are no further complications. I was glad for all of us that Zues was able to go and be the perfect service dog, a true canine companion.
By: Joel Allen