I took my dog Annie to my husband’s nursing home yesterday. It was her first trip there, and I feared she’d be too wild and crazy. But she was great. All those dog classes paid off. She didn’t knock anybody down or potty on the floor. Instead, she sat quietly letting people pet her, and she made Fred so happy.
Everyone wanted to meet her, including the staff, other visitors and other residents. People with dementia who never talk to anybody or don’t make sense if they do suddenly came alive with my dog, stroking her fur, telling her what a pretty girl she is. Miraculous. I started thinking about getting involved with therapy dogs. Check out the Therapy Dogs International web site for some great information on this.
As we drove home, Annie dozed beside me, her paw on my thigh. I was so proud and in love with that dog. It has to be something like parents feel about their kids when they do well.
I got to thinking that in some situations, like nursing home visits, a dog is actually more of an asset than a son or daughter. After all, babies cry, kids get bored and whine. What human two-year-old would sit still for two hours like Annie did? A dog doesn’t get grossed out or offended by anything the residents might say or do. Grown children are likely to question every decision you have made.
Dogs live in the moment. Annie was happy just to explore her new surroundings and soak up the love. I’m very proud of my dog child.