Published: 12:30, 05 March 2021
| Updated: 13:01, 05 March 2021
A grandad has been given a boost in his fight against coronavirus after being allowed to see his beloved dog.
Jim Beverton has been in intensive care at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford for seven weeks, and was missing his family – including his cherished working cocker spaniel Caramel.
Watch the moment the pair are reunited
While his wife Linda did her best to involve Caramel in their regular video calls, it wasn’t the same as a canine cuddle, so ITU staff at the hospital pulled out all the stops to allow her to visit.
After all the required risk assessments and paperwork were completed, the teams wheeled Jim’s bed to a quiet area outside the hospital where Linda and Caramel were waiting.
Mrs Beverton said: “It was just wonderful to see his face when he saw Caramel, and to see her suddenly realise who he was.
“It must have taken the team half an hour to get him ready to bring him outside for three or four minutes, but it was the best three or four minutes he could have had.
“His dog is his life and he was desperate to see her and to know she was okay.”
Jim, from River, near Dover, fell ill just after Christmas, when the whole family tested positive for Covid-19.
Tragically, his mum passed away due to the virus while he was in hospital.
Linda said: “The staff have really gone the extra mile for Jim – not just in organising the visit for Caramel, but in allowing us to go to ITU to tell him about his mum so I didn’t have to do it via video call.
“I needed to be able to hold his hand and to tell him it was going to be okay and he was going to recover.”
The couple have two daughters and two grandchildren, and have been married for 43 years. Jim, who works at Dungeness A power station on Romney Marsh, turns 62 on Monday.
"Until you have personal experience of this virus you don't realise how awful it is"
His wife explained that this will be the first birthday in 46 years that the pair will not be able to celebrate together.
“Until you have personal experience of this virus you don’t realise how awful it is," she continued, "but there is a lot of support out there and people really going over and above for us.
“His work have been so supportive and the hospital staff have been wonderful. I can’t thank everyone enough for everything they have done.”
Weeks in hospital have left Jim very weak and physiotherapists are working with him to build up his strength.
Physiotherapist Bryoni Hartridge said the visit from Linda and Caramel gave him a much-needed boost.
She said: “It can really help people to have a reminder of the life that is waiting for them outside of hospital and that’s exactly what Caramel gave Jim.
“Seeing her gave him a real lift and we have noticed that he has been more motivated since her visit.
“He still has a long road ahead but we will continue to support him and help him get back to his family – and of course to Caramel.”