A friend sent me this very sweet and touching story and it goes to show the love and healing power of dogs. I hope it touches you as it did me and perhaps you’ll take a minute to ‘visit’ Rachel as well.

A young lady named Rachel Ridout used to work where I work, and her boyfriend Brian still does work there. I did not know her well but talked to her a few times. Brian I do know pretty well, as he operates the equipment I service (I’m not an employee there but provide contract service and have a permanent office there so I may as well be).

Several weeks ago, she and Brian were at a friend’s house. Coming up the basement stairs, she slipped or stumbled at the top of the stairs and fell backward, pulling Brian with her down the stairs. She landed head-first on a concrete floor. She has been in a coma since, and will remain so (induced) for quite some time to help her brain heal. Her condition has been up and down all that time, showing promise one day and then causing frustration and disappointment the next day. But it is really a miracle that she survived at all… the day after the accident, her family was making funeral preparations.

Her mother has been keeping a journal at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelridout (maybe you’re already familiar with the site?) and many of her friends, relatives and others have been posting in her guestbook.

You may already know this, but a coma is not always like we see in the movies. In her case, it certainly is not that way. She sleeps, she awakens, she looks around and can move occasionally. She was recently moved to Bethesda Hospital in St.

Paul, where she will remain for long-term care and therapy.

Today her mother posted a new journal entry that should make any dog-lover smile and nod knowingly. Here it is:

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Rachel was running a small temp yesterday so the nurses decided to let her sleep in the afternoon instead of putting her in the chair. Last night she was still a little tired but when friends came she was alert. She enjoyed seeing them and it seemed like she new exactly who they were. It is so important for friends to talk to her for her recovery.

Someone at my work contacted me that a program she is involved with would be bringing therapy dogs to Bethesda on Tuesday. She asked if Rachel would like a visit from the dogs. Rachel loves animals and they have always loved her. In fact, about a month before the accident she showed me a type of dog on the internet that she wanted but I told her she had to wait until she was living in a place that she could keep the dog. Several weeks ago we told Rachel that when she wakes up, we are getting her a dog so her job was to think of a name.

The large therapy dogs came into her room and she immediately focused her attention to them. Randy said he had never seen her eyes so wide open. The nurse reached for Rachel’s hand to open her fingers to pet the dog. Rachel’s left arm is very rigid and her hand is usually clenched making it is hard to open her fingers. The nurse put her clenched fist on the top of the dog’s head so her knuckles could pet the dog. When her knuckles touched the dog’s head, her hand open up completely on her own!! This is truly amazing! Rachel even moved her head forward twice to look at the dogs. It looks like we may be getting Rachel that dog sooner than we think! Thank you Liza for arranging the dog visit. It was a moment of hope for us.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Randy, Cher, Krystal, Ryan, and Rachel

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