It all started in 2015 when I posted this photo of my sick 15 year old son Jacob being reunited with our family dog for the very first time after fighting for his life in ITU 2 years earlier in 2013.
He had woken up from his coma with only one wish; to see our family dog Peanut.
It could have been his last wish as Doctors told us that he could hemorrhage at any time and it would be over. As his parents we were determined to fulfill his wish regardless of the hospital rules.
Dogs were not allowed in the building so we placed our paralysed son in a wheelchair, propped him up with pillows and covered him with a blanket before wheeling him out to the busy entrance of Mater Dei Hospital on a cold windy day.
The memory of what happened next will stay with us forever. Seeing our skeletal, frail son sob uncontrollably as Peanut jumped onto his lap when he called his name, tail wagging with joy, so happy to be with his ‘brother’.
In fact we all wept that day albeit tears of happiness and contentment after having shed so many tears of heartache and suffering from the pain we had endured over the past months.
Two years later when we were finally in better days, in the name of our support group/NGO Survivors Malta that we had founded after we had survived our trauma, We asked on Facebook why wasn’t there a room allocated for such visits?! Our son had more chance of getting sick from the elements or from passers by than from our family dog!!!!!
Our question did not go unheard thanks to a nurse with a heart of gold Claire Catanzaro and a hospital administration willing to listen to our plea. We went on to collaborate with another NGO that believed in us JCI Malta and after obtaining the necessary permits we built the Reunited Pet Cabin on the Hospital grounds; a room designated for pet visitation and pet therapy; a project that would bring joy to countless families with sick hospitalised loved ones.
We compare this project to ‘sunshine on a rainy day’ because that is exactly how it feels. We know. Our family have been there!!
The other photo that we are sharing is of Jacob and Peanut at the Reunited Pet Cabin launch. A dream 7 years in the making. As you can see we are truly blessed to have shared this significant day with them both.
We would like to thank all who believed in us and helped us make this dream a reality, emphasising how together we can all make a difference to so many lives. THANK YOU