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“On our second day on St. John’s Ward, we overheard a patient say, “there’s a dog outside!” We carried Jude and his IV trolley down the corridor where we saw a beautiful Labrador sitting outside the back door of the ward. We met Gráinne and told her about Dobby and that was it. Suddenly, we had something different to talk about other than Leukaemia. Our conversation became: when can Dobby come in, how will we get him in, how long can he stay for.
Dobby and Jude are like twins, it’s a love/hate relationship. They share food, toys and sometimes even a bed and they also fight over the same stuff. Dobby steals Jude’s toast and Jude chases him to get it back. I think Jude’s favourite thing is to take Dobby’s toy (‘piggy’) and try and hide it from him.
As Jude’s language developed, he learned the phrase “Dobby break it”. Anything that Jude broke, he knew who to blame. Getting Dobby into Crumlin Hospital was the first sense of normality Jude had.
Cian’s Kennels offered to help with Dobby’s grooming, vaccinations, and the collection of Dobby but we live close enough and had everything up to date, so it wasn’t needed. It was a bittersweet moment for us, Jude and Dobby played and fought over toys again, and we saw Jude smile for the first time in days. But, after a while, his legs kept giving way and he couldn’t support his own weight. So, we sat on the chair and cuddled Dobby for a while. We spent almost two weeks on the ward, it was every bit as difficult, painful, and emotional as you would expect it to be, but for one hour on June 20th we got to escape and just be normal. We followed Cian’s Kennels on Instagram and read all about Cian and how the foundation started. A more in-depth insight was provided on the Gold Ribbon Conversations podcast where Evelyn was interviewed by Sinead O’Moore. It is a heartbreaking story and there is no other way of describing it. We hope that by using this service, it gives Cian’s family and friends some solace knowing the positive impact Cian’s legacy has had on the children of St.John’s Ward and Crumlin Hospital. It gives families an opportunity to feel a sense of normality and a sense of home amid a time of pain. When you’re in here, “normal” is what you miss the most and it’s all you want to get back to. A normal life.
Dobby came in for a visit again on September 21st. We had a scheduled stay for 4/5 nights, Dobby arrived on day 3 after Jude finished a long 24 hour chemotherapy. They fought, chased, and played for an hour. Once again it was a positive break in our day. Jude had an IV line with about 1.5m of slack that was attached to a heavy metal stand. They were having so much fun, Jude forgot he was attached to it. We wheeled the IV line around while Jude teased Dobby with treats and toys. In Jude’s world, he was at home playing with Dobby.
We have at least three more planned visits left, and hopefully Dobby will be getting three more visits if Jude is well enough. We are so grateful for the help we’ve gotten from Cian’s Kennels and hope that many more families benefit in the future, and after the move to the new National Children’s Hospital.
Thank you again to Grainne for being so accommodating with last-minute changes to our plans.”