Thursday, July 3, 2014

Therapy Dog Day

Isaac and I usually visit the nursing home on Mondays but this week I had a sore throat and a cough, so I postponed our visit until I could see my doctor and make sure I wasn't contagious.  So we visited today instead.

One of the women we always visit, I will call Sue.  Three different staff people told me, before we got to Sue's room, to make sure we stopped in and saw her, that she was really looking forward to seeing Isaac.  She adores Isaac and he adores her.  She is the one that told him, on our first visit, that she would give him her fried chicken at lunch if he would stay all day with her. 

Sue talks to Isaac a lot.  She talks to me a little, but talks to him a lot.  Today she told him she was sorry she didn't have a treat for him.  I pulled one out of my pocket and handed it to her, which delighted her.  She offered it to Isaac, who of course gobbled it up with much happy slobbering.

I am delighted to find that several of the nursing home residents now know Isaac's name, including a couple that I would have guessed weren't really aware enough to remember that a dog came to see them from week to week, let alone to remember his name.

Remember the woman that, on our very first visit, was hesitant to pet Isaac but then seemed to really enjoy petting him and announced, repeatedly, that he was furry?  Well, today she noticed us approaching and reached out towards him to indicate that she was eager to pet him.  She didn't talk to us today, but she clearly was aware of his presence and happy to pet and interact with him.

We visited one woman today that seemed pretty confused, but she was able to have a conversation about Isaac's ears.  I think Isaac has the softest ears ever, and when I noticed her touching them gently, I told her that.  She agreed, repeating, "The softest ears ever."  Then she said, "Like velvet."  She lives in the Alzheimer's unit and I was surprised she was able to make that observation.

Another woman we usually visit, I will call Millie.  Millie was sleeping last week when we visited so she didn't get to see Isaac then, but the week before, she was absolutely thrilled to see him.  She was thrilled today, too.  She seemed a bit more confused than usual today, but still recognized Isaac and was thrilled that he was there. 

She was sitting on her bed and I asked her if it was OK if Isaac got up on the bed with her and she said, "Oh yes!"  So Isaac jumped up there and lay down beside her and she hugged him and cuddled him and petted him.  She wanted to talk to me about Isaac but she was hard to understand today because she just seemed pretty confused.  But it was clear she was saying positive things about Isaac and he seemed to understand her just fine.

A couple of visitors asked if they could pet Isaac and I said, "Of course, that's why he's here!  He comes to get petted by everyone."  Visitors always seem happy to see Isaac, too.

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