Hospice, nursing home help make patient’s wish come true

Dunlap man and his horse

For most of his life, Francis Mumm, 84, has spent time on a farm. He grew up on one and then had his own for more than 50 years. Like most farm families, he and his wife, Marilyn, kept stock cattle and raised hogs. But it was the horses and ponies that had a special place in Francis’ heart. 

“If he had a choice, he would have loved to have raised horses and cattle on a ranch out West,” Marilyn says. Instead, they made a name for themselves in the small town of Dunlap. Francis fulfilled his wish to have a team of 7 to 8 horses on the farm and a covered wagon. For years, on the Fourth of July, Francis and his family would take their team of ponies and covered wagon and ride through the Dunlap parade. It was a tradition that went on until the horses retired.

So it was no surprise Francis had a special request after moving to Dunlap Specialty Care and coming under the care of Care Initiatives Hospice. He asked to see his prized register quarter horse, Misty Starshine. Francis raised Misty since she was a foal born right on his farm. The mare is now 22 years old. For the past three months, Francis wanted nothing more than to be reunited with his special horse.

With the Care Initiatives Hospice staff spearheading the coordinated effort with Dunlap Specialty Care, a special reunion event was planned for May 16.  This reunion activity was scheduled during National Nursing Home Week, a time when nursing home staff and residents hold fun games and activities making for a perfect opportunity to involve no only Francis’ family but also all residents of Dunlap Specialty Care.

“It was a joyous and honorable moment to watch Francis and Misty reunite,” says Jennifer Hopley, Care Initiatives Hospice Team Director. Francis’s wife Marilyn, daughter Marilyn, son Mike and sister-in-law Joyce were all there to celebrate with him. “It was amazing to witness the incredible bond between him and his horse,” Hopley says.

 “The help from the staff at Dunlap Specialty Care was essential,” says Jennifer Hopley, Care Initiatives Hospice Team Director. “One of the aides, Geanna, along with her mom, Sjonia Davis, are horse people, so they were able to help out in handling Misty so Francis and the other residents could enjoy the interaction with Misty.”