ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — When Carole Knanishu was young, she had a horse named Cherry.
There is a long-told family story about the day Carole’s sister let Cherry into the house to get something to eat, leaving telltale hoof prints behind on the kitchen floor.
On Tuesday, Knanishu, now 73 and terminally ill, had not just a horse but also a pony in her Arlington Heights home — and again it was a day her family will cherish.
Knanishu has suffered from multiple sclerosis for decades. This week, Knanishu’s hospice workers told her children she had only a few days left. Knowing his mother dearly loved horses but hadn’t seen or touched one for many years, Knanishu’s son David Olson reached out to friends at Glory Bound Rescue Ranch in Marengo.
They made the horse house call happen on Tuesday afternoon with barely a day’s notice. Olson and his sister, Leslie Berg, taped cardboard to the kitchen floors in case of a horse-sized accident and built a ramp from the back sliding door.
“It was quite a circus,” Olson said as grandchildren, friends, caretakers and a horse named Carmel and a pony named Little Foot crowded into his mother’s kitchen. Despite being largely bedridden, Knanishu rallied. She was able to pet and feed the horses, and then watched them give her youngest family members rides in the backyard.
“She just kept saying ‘Wow,'” Olson said. “There were a lot of tears.”
The family told Knanishu about the visit Monday night after a long, painful day.
“It’s amazing to see how having something to look forward to changed her whole demeanor,” Berg said. “She woke up so excited, which is something we had not seen for a long time.