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St Giles Hospice reunites cancer patient with his horse

A Whittington hospice has helped a patient with incurable cancer reunite with his horse.

St Giles Hospice arranged for the 15-year-old horse Jay to visit owner Ron Smith.

Ron Smith and his horse Jay

Ron Smith and his horse Jay

The 66-year-old former mechanic had been desperate to see Jay once more and his sister Sandra Bull said he was delighted that the meeting in the hospice gardens had been arranged.

“Ron fell in love with horses and riding when he visited Texas around 20 years ago – he started riding and never looked back,” she said. “He got Jay four years ago and rode him five or six times a week.

“They have a really close bond – Jay nibbles Ron’s hair and hands, particularly when carrots are involved!

“Ron really missed Jay when he was first admitted to hospital and when he was transferred to the hospice, one of the first things staff offered to do was arrange for Jay to visit.

“I didn’t think it would be possible for Ron to see Jay again, but thanks to staff at the hospice and at Lullington Hill Stables, where Jay is stabled, he was able to come and visit.

“It was a really lovely moment for Ron and Jay and the connection between them was so obvious – it was a really emotional moment for everyone involved.”

St Giles Director of Nursing Katie Taroni said arranging the meeting was showed that hospice care was always about being flexible to the needs of those being looked after.

“We talk about doing what matters for our patients and it’s clear that for many people what really matters is their family including their animals,” she said. “We welcome dogs into the hospice on a regular basis but I think this might be the first time we have had a horse.

“We were delighted to be able to help Ron achieve his wish to see Jay. It was a lovely thing to witness and the team were all proud to be part of it.”

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