Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I take Spike to the nursing home

I was exhausted yesterday when it came time to get Spike ready to head to the nursing home for a visit. I had taught all day and while it was a great day with my students, I was still worn out from just finishing the government paperwork that needs filing for funding, as well as report cards for my students. It was a bit cold out, I had just run in with groceries in tow, everyone needed to be fed but I had just enough time to quickly groom Spike, change into my St. John Ambulance Volunteer clothes and head out. I didn't want to go, I wanted to stay home and putter around the house.

But, I realized again last night why I take him. When I arrive, I always check in at the nursing station. One of Spike's favourite ladies was standing there, talking, and when she turned around to see who was there I could tell she had been crying. I asked her how she was and she told me she'd been crying all day because she wanted to go home. So, I encouraged her to sit on the couch and I would visit. She hugged Spike for 20 minutes last night, as he soaked up the attention. And, when we left, she was smiling. She didn't say anything really, she just hugged Spike and rubbed his ears and soaked up his attention. He even gave her a very rare lick, which is reserved for very important people. That made her day. So, for that poor lady who knows enough to realize she can't go home again but wants to, maybe that's what she needed last night. Just a little doggy TLC. And, Spike walked away knowing he has a job, happy, content and ready to curl up for the night.

Yes, that was worth all the work to get him ready to do this work. I have no idea what goes on in those moments when a person just needs to hug a dog, but I do know when I am in that state, it makes the world better. I'd like to think Spike helped her just a little and maybe today will be a little brighter because of it. Sometimes I think Spike and I get more out of these visits than the people do but last night was a rare moment when I could see my dog for what he truly is; a gentle soul, willing to sit with a lonely woman and help her just a little. What a cool thing!


Jean said...

I hope that when I am no longer able to care for myself, a dog like Spike will come along to make my day a little brighter.
My thanks go out to you and Spike, and all the other humans and their dogs who visit nursing homes and hospitals.

Colleen said...

Jenn, you made me cry. God bless you for taking the time, and Spike for being so full of love.

Mango said...

Momma had a little hound dog who visited nursing homes with her. She said it was a wonderful experience and hopes to have another therapy dog again someday (boo, hoo, not me). She says one resident would not speak or look at anybody, but she always wanted to pat and cuddle little Pi.


Terri said...

Jenn, thanks for sharing so eloquently about Spike's visit. Moments like the one you described keep us going, taking the dogs, that we sometimes take for granted, to visit others whose appreciation lets us see them in a different light.

I've just started blogging about AAT visits with our Portuguese Water Dog, River, and am looking for others writing about their therapy expereinces.

Ms. ~K said...

I would love to get Buddy certified Therapy Dog...He needs to mature a bit more!
Good work you and Spike do!
Happy Weekend,

hornblower said...

Awwwwww, that is a very good thing you're doing.