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Hospice grants woman’s dying wish to see her beloved horse one last time

A 79-year-old hospice patient had one dying wish that will warm anyone’s heart. She wanted to see her horse again and bid her goodbye. The hospice care where she was staying eagerly granted the elderly woman’s last wish.

Karina Courtmanche lives in a hospice in Bethany, Connecticut and she only has a few months to live, according to the doctors.

Hence, before she leaves for good, she has one final wish – to reunite with her horse Bella, which she raised since its birth and looked after for many years.

“We were talking with her and she kept talking about her horse Bella, that she wanted to see Bella,” shared Michelle Walker, RN Case Manager for CT Hospice. Currently, Bella stays at Bittersweet Farm, not too far away from the hospice.

The hospice administrators were touched by Courtmanche’s last wish and were excited to plan her reunion with Bella.

“I’m very excited that I’m able to give her this last wish. It’s important to her, so it’s important to us,” Walker said.

As they take care of ill people in the last days of their lives, hospice administrators also work hard on giving them their dying wishes, regardless of the cost.

Most of them wish to see their family or other important people, and in Courtmanche’s case, a beloved animal.

“Our medical team, our EMTs went to Mary Wade this morning to help transition her from the bed to the stretcher, and she’ll be coming in an ambulance,” said Andrew Rennie, Executive Business Developer for American Medical Response.

During Courtmanche’s visit to Bittersweet Farm, she got to feed Bella some carrots and bond with her, just like in the old times. The hospice patient was so happy to spend time with her pet for the last time and was thankful to the hospice for giving her her last wish.

“Isn’t it nice to be able to see your horse again?” Walker asked Courtmanche during the farm visit.

“Yeah,” the woman replied. She was brought to the farm via a stretcher and an ambulance. Walker said that Courtmanche is a “lovely lady” who loves to dress up.

 “Her condition has declined where her body is just failing her,” Walker told WFSB. “She’s a lovely lady, she loves to be dressed up to the nines, she loves having the jewelry on, makeup done,” said Walker. 

The president and  CEO of Mary Wade, David Hunter explained in a statement that they are working to move back to resident-centered care after extreme focus on infection control due to the pandemic.  

“This means focusing our care measures not only toward coordinated care, support or treatment, but respecting and valuing the individual and providing individualized emotional and physical spaces for care that are in tune with people’s changing needs,” he wrote.

“In the case of Karina Courtmanche, the care team at Mary Wade exemplified this philosophy by understanding the perspective of the person and going above and beyond to ensure this special experience of being with her horse, Bella, one last time,” Hunter added. They also shared that Bella will stay at the Bittersweet Farm when Courtmanche passes. 

Courtmanche’s reunion with Bella was captured in a heartwarming video where she fed her beloved horse some carrots. A lot of people were in awe to see such a wonderful reunion. “This was so wholesome.

“A bond between a human and an animal is so pure,” wrote one of the viewers. “Reminds me of my grandma, she was buried dressed to the nines in all her jewelry that you would never catch her without,” another one added.

Truly, there are bonds between humans and animals that cannot be broken, like Courtmanche and Bella’s.

Watch their beautiful story in the video below:

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