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.