Monday, July 31, 2017

Where Are The Dogs?

As Maggie and I entered the VA Hospital last week we were greeted by one of our regulars. He was about to enter the Physical Therapy room as he spotted us walking down the hall. We usually check in at the Recreation Therapy Center first before doing our rounds but I stopped first to greet “Jim”.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” Jim said
“Good to see you.”
“I need some good pet therapy today. I just found out my buddy died earlier today.”
“So sorry to hear,” I said as I ushered Maggie over so he could pet her.
As Jim is in a wheelchair I watched as he laid his face in her fur. Maggie being very used to this behavior rested her body on his chair and waited for him to pull back. When he came up for air he proceeded to tell me the story of how his friend was discharged from the hospital earlier in the week.  He saw his friend’s number come up on his cell phone but figured he would call him back later. Later never came as a massive heart attack took his (friends) life.
Now riddled with guilt Jim just needed some time with Maggie. I stayed with him as he spent some time with her. When he looked up at me I noticed some moisture in his eyes.
“Thanks I needed that,” he said as he turned to enter the PT room.

I had a feeling the rest of the visit would be comforting as well.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dog, Cat, Rabbit Therapy

Dog Therapy, Cat Therapy or Rabbit Therapy, it doesn’t really matter what type of animal offers love and comfort one needs. And it doesn’t matter if it is alive or not… What?
Maggie and I were visiting at the Haverford nursing home. It happened to be a beautiful day so many of the residents were sitting in the garden. When we approached a group sitting in a circle we heard a “meow” and saw a cat on a gentleman’s shoulder. At first glance the cat looked real and Maggie pulled me over. But when she smelled the cat she became momentarily confused. The cat continued to meow but the smell it emitted was not the smell Maggie expected.
The gentleman that was holding this cat was petting it continually and as I watched him he sincerely cared for it. He talked to it every so often and in response it purred. The gentleman was coherent and took a turn petting Maggie as well. I conversed with him, even asked him the name of his cat, “Captain”.
He genuinely seemed happy holding his “therapy cat”. I made eye contact with the head of the unit and she smiled. Whatever works she commented.
So who is to judge if the cat is alive or not, as long as it offers someone the comfort an individual needs then go for it!

I continue to learn.