When Diane Darlington’s husband Roy passed away after 60 years of marriage she decided to move back to Cheshire to be close to most of her family.
However, her heart was torn, for in moving to Redwalls Nursing Home, in Sandiway, she had to leave her beloved Lakeland terrier Jak a birthday present from Roy with a relative in Kent.
But thanks to the determination and enterprise of staff members at the Kingsley Healthcare home, the 82-year-old has enjoyed a loving reunion which she described as a “total miracle”.
Regional activities coordinator Jodie Solaiman said: “The Redwalls activities coordinator Claire Dunnett and I were on the hunt for someone local to care for Jak when Claire’s sister, Sarah Roberts, jumped at the chance to rehome him.
“It has worked out so perfectly as Claire brings Jak into the home when she is on duty. Diana has got Jak his own little dog bed on the floor in her room. She now refers to me, Claire and Sarah as ‘her angels’.
"A few hours after Diana was reunited with Jak I went into the room to check on them both and Jak was curled up on Diana’s bed and they were both asleep. Later on, Diana told me that she felt so calm and complete knowing that Jak was back with her.
“Jak has settled in perfectly with his new owner Sarah, her dogs accepted him straight away and he's now part of the pack!"
Mrs Roberts, of nearby Hartford, said: “As soon as I heard about Jodie looking to home Jak closer to Diana I just thought, ‘I’ll have him. I’m local so I can pop to Redwalls any time and the difference it will make to Diana is immeasurable’!
“So much so, my children and I travelled to Kent the next day to collect Jak and the reunion was so happy and emotional that I knew I had made the right decision.”
Mother-of-five Mrs Darlington, who was born in Moulton and lived in Sandiway with her husband for many years before moving to Wales and then Kent, confessed she was amazed when she was told Jak’s new home was only five minutes from Redwalls.
“I feel like it is a million Christmases all coming at once. What could I have ever done to deserve this? I feel happiness on top of happiness,” she said.
“He is the only thing I have left of me and Roy. He’s a special dog. I will be forever grateful to Sarah. It’s like a total miracle. If you would have told me a week ago this would happen I would have never have believed you. I am so lucky.”