Nikki, Shelby and I visit our friends at the nursing home twice every month. We love them! How could you not?
Last evening when we arrived, Bernice said to me “I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you all day!” We are listed on the monthly activity calendar as Pet Therapy on the second and fourth Mondays of every month. Bob, Andy, Norma, George, Max, Helen, and an ever changing assortment of others sit and visit with us for an hour.
Bernice then went on to tell me that she told the servers at supper that she needed her ice cream now! They commented that she wasn’t done with her meal yet. She said it didn’t matter, she needed her ice cream because the dogs were coming and she didn’t want to be late! Bernice said “I pushed that food aside and ate my ice cream and got out here to wait for you.” She ate the best, most important part. A woman after my own heart.
We meet in a main area where people congregate so that we can visit with a number of people. Nikki likes to stay on the couch unless I put her on someone’s lap. No touching the floor for that girl. She sits in the middle so the first people to make it to the ends of the couch get to spend lots of time with Nikki.
Shelby is more a working kind of girl. She likes to keep making the rounds and visiting new arrivals and passers by. If someone goes by without petting her, she tries to follow them down the hall. She knows her job and is determined to do it.
So although we are visiting with the group, Bernice tells everyone that goes by “this is my dog Nikki. And that one over there,Shelby, is my dog too.” Sometimes I take the leash and make sure everyone gets a chance to pet the dogs. This makes Bernice say, in a pitiful voice, “but I want to hold her”. Still, we try to play fair and take turns.
All the residents thank me for coming every time we visit. And Bernice tells me over and over how happy she is that we come to visit. I think I’m making a real impression. Bernice asked me what my name was last night! That is quite a rarity. I am just the dogs’ chauffeur most of the time.
At the end of our visit, I ask Nikki if she is hungry and wanting her food. Her ears go up, she deigns to jump on the floor, to everyone’s amusement, and we say our goodbyes. Two more weeks and we do it all again. I can’t wait!