Today I took a few minutes to review my old blog on blogspot and I came across the post below – it was May of 2012. Alot has changed since then. My first three Greyhounds – Remi, Sugar, and Lucy, have all passed. Ms. Ruth has passed. Bless her heart, she would always have a stash of Milkbones in her closet for the pups. And she loved seeing the pups every month. Its the only time I allowed my pups to have Milkbones!
Bud, one of our favorite patients has Alzheimer’s. Initially, it was not apparent and I often wondered why he was even in the facility. Eventually though, it was very apparent and it honestly seemed to be gradual and then overnight. He did have family who lived on the East-side of Atlanta. They moved him to a facility closer to them. I hate that as we really enjoyed our monthly visits with Bud – he had a gazillion stories to tell, granted over and over again, but we loved to hear them no matter how many times he told them. But being nearer to family is more important. I get that.
And our dear Warren. Oh my, we visited with him for so many years. I never knew why he was in the nursing home except I can speculate he had a stroke and never recovered. He would normally be in his bed when we came to visit but on a few occasions, they had him in a chair.
One night back in January, I think it was,Warren was moved to a different part of the facility, one where his previous roommate said he would get better care. He also said he would likely not leave that facility and unfortunately he was right.
We visited him there one month, or we tried to visit him one month but the staff said he wasn’t up to seeing us. We went back the next month and he was gone. We asked and they said he had passed. I was so heartbroken. I wish we could have had one more visit with him but you know, we had so many throughout the years that were so brief, yet were so fulfilling for Warren and for myself and whichever Greyhound I happened to take that month.
One visit, in particular, and it was early on when we first started seeing Warren, we started to leave and as I turned to say goodbye, I noticed a tear falling from his eye.
Moments like that and you know you’ve connected and that’s what pet therapy is all about. We’ve been doing this for 13 years now and yes, even as hard as it is to do sometimes, we are making a difference!
Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) Last Night at D’ville Nursing and Rehab
Friday, May 04, 2012
Well, what a night it was! I took Sami instead of Lucy, due to the storms. Left Lucy shaking and panting on top of my bed! Sami was happy to pinch hit for her, she always loves to go. She is a good therapy dog if I can just keep her from kissing everyone she sees!
We visited with Warren, our African American gentleman who is bedridden and who can’t speak. We approached and I asked if he wanted to see Sami tonight and he nodded that yes, he did. We moved to the bed and he slowly moved his hand from underneath the covers. I helped put his hand on Sami’s head and he pet her for a bit. When he was done, he slowly moved his hand back underneath the covers. As I left the room, I looked back at him to say goodnight and he had a smile on his face.
We visited with a new elderly lady who when we approached and asked if she’d like to pet Sami, her response was, “I can’t, my hands are crippled”. She was reading a book and her hands, crippled as they were, formed perfectly around the book so it was not evident to me when I first came into the room. She sounded so disappointed. I immediately told her it was okay and I would help her so I did just that, taking her crippled hand and turning it over so that the back of her hand stroked Sami’s head. She was quiet overjoyed and as I left the room, I looked back at her to say goodnight and she had a smile on her face, too!
After making our rounds around the complex, we finally ran into our favorite patient, known simply as “Bud”. He was so happy to see Sami! He just loved on her, kissing her head, and hugging on her. He is such a pleasant man. He walked us down the hallway and even outside to my vehicle. I asked him several times if it was okay for him to be out and he said, yes, that he walked “everywhere” and even would walk down the street all the time for exercise. I believed him. He is a forgetful person but he doesn’t tell fibs!!
We chatted at the vehicle for a bit, long enough for me to see a screw embedded in one of my back tires. He told me to be sure to get that plugged and if anyone tried to give me grief or charge me for doing that, to come get him and he’d set them straight. Bless his heart – he is absolutely so endearing and I only wish he had family and grandchildren around as he’d be the best granddaddy! Anyway, as I was leaving the parking lot, I turned and waved goodnight and he, too, had a smile on his face!
It’s amazing what an hour of your time can do for people like Warren and Bud and our new favorite patient (I didn’t get her name). It is such a rewarding experience, one which my Greyhounds and I have enjoyed now for nearly nine years! I am so thankful we can do this little bit of “therapy” to help so many!