A heartbreaking photo captured the moment a terminally ill man said goodbye to his dog, giving her one last stroke. David Till, 35, was reunited with Milly, who he had not seen in more than a month, as he spent his final few days at a hospice in Gravesend, Kent.
Milly is seen feverishly wagging her tale as she is given a stroke while laying on David’s bed. His wife Angelina, son Jack, seven, and his wider family had been spending almost every day in David’s room at Ellenor hospice, but Milly had been noticably absent. David’s mother, Chris Marston, said:
‘When they are at home, Milly will lay up on the settee with him. ‘I think it’s [helpful] just having Milly there to stroke. They say animals are very calming and it was good for David to have her here.’ Visits from pets are not uncommon for Ellenor staff, with ward sister Jo Bradley saying: ‘We’ve had monkeys, horses, dogs, cats. Why shouldn’t you bring your pets in? This is home. ‘If you can’t be at home, this is the next best thing.’
David was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition 13 years ago which left him blind, deaf and unable to speak. He is unable to eat solid food, but still enjoyed his favourite curry from a local restuarant that was pureed for him by hospice staff.
His story was documented by TV crews for a new 13-part series The Hospice. David’s brother Nick Till told the programme: ‘David is the bravest and strongest man that I’ve ever met. ‘What he’s had to go through for the last 13 years of his life, from being completely normal, working, driving a car, to suddenly being completely bedridden, blind and not long to live. ‘How he’s dealt with it all those years, words can’t describe it.’ Chris added: ‘David’s such a good dad. He was nine when he lost his dad. Jack is seven, so I know how hard it’s going to be.’