CANADA – Carolyn Berven may have missed a chance to say goodbye to her father if it wasn’t for the instincts of a cat, along with the sharp eye of its owner.
The P.E.I. native, who currently lives in Okotoks, Alta., was able to fly into Halifax last Friday and see her father — Charlottetown resident Keith MacLeod — just one last time just hours before he died.
MacLeod’s other daughter, Kathy Peters, who lives in Regina, also went to be by her father’s side before he died of kidney complications.
However, the family’s final reunion may not have happened at all if it wasn’t for the instincts of a cat named Baby.
“The cat gave us the Christmas present of saying goodbye to Dad,” stated Berven during an interview with The Guardian.
Baby’s owner Debbie Yurick currently lives in the same seniors apartment building as MacLeod. It’s one of only a few seniors’ buildings that does allow residents to own pets.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, Yurick noticed something was ‘off’ with her pet when she tried getting the usually obedient cat to go to bed.
“She was sitting by the door to the hallway and wasn’t moving anywhere,” explained Yurick. “I know her very well. If she wasn’t moving from the doorway, she must have known something was out there.”
Yurick went to investigate and upon opening the door she could hear MacLeod calling for help.
She discovered MacLeod in the apartment lobby collapsed into a chair.
“He couldn’t walk any further. I asked him if he wanted some assistance and he said to call 911, so I did.”
MacLeod was then taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and later transported to hospital in Halifax.
MacLeod’s girlfriend, whose name is Marjorie Hendricken, was also able to be by his side in Halifax.
She went on to describe MacLeod as a sweetheart.
“He was wonderful, a very considerate person,” she stated. “He was always very happy and loved all my family … he enjoyed life.”
Although losing a family member so close to Christmas can be extremely devastating, Berven went on to say that it meant a lot to be able to see her father again.
“My fear was always that he would die in this apartment alone,” she noted. “It’s so nice they take care of each other in here. The ladies here were telling me how they would joke around with him … and Marjorie and her family have been really good to take care of my Dad.”
She is hoping that the story also shows the importance of allowing pets in seniors’ homes.
“Whether they prefer a dog or cat,” she explains, “they’re also for companionship. I live alone and don’t know what I’d do without her.”