Today Danny and I visited the Care One senior living place. This was by far my favorite visit we’ve ever been on.
Everybody was exceptionally kind and grateful for our appearance: the residents, family members of the residents, and the staff! They were all such dog-people and enjoyed every minute we were there. The facility was a legit hotel-like place and each resident’s room was personal and they sometimes had a roommate! There was even an old married couple who got a personal show of Danny’s tricks.
The activities director showed us around and we visited the main lobby, the Alzheimer’s area, some residents in their rooms, a more-progressed Alzheimer’s unit, more residents rooms, and then waved a final goodbye to everyone in the lobby as we walked out the door. This visit took much longer because we had so many people to visit and spent quality time with each patient. Even most of the staff we passed by stopped with huge smiles to greet Dannyboy (: Overall — super successful!
This place I would visit any chance I could get!
This just goes to show how much places like these need all other pet therapy volunteers to get up and visit them because they’re just sitting there waiting for some smiles to be spread by dogs who heal!
Danny and I pose for a selfie as we’re on our way to a group home in Dover for young adults with mental illnesses to spread some smiles on our therapy visit!
Although nervous at first because we didn’t know what we were gonna walk into, Danny and I had a great time at this visit. We hung out in this living room area with couches and a rug while two boys and four girls (who were in the main room interchangeably) played with Danny. I kept his leash on but dropped it to the floor so he could run around and go from person to person to give them kisses and spread some smiles! My dad said I was major therapy for the patients and that I just happen to have an adorable dog to use as a conversation focus 🙂
This was the best I’ve seen him in visit-mode because it was so natural. All he had to do was play in a family room with people who adored him and gave him cheese for doing some tricks. At first I started off with the trick commands, but them I switched it to the patients so that they had a chance to build confidence by having a dog do what they ask and impress their friends.
We stayed for just over an hour, and would gladly go back!
Today my dog Danny and I visited Eastern Star senior living place for the first time. The rain and traffic was a bit of a downer and I could tell Dannyboy was upset that I didn’t bring a coat for him, but he warmed up to the facility quickly! This time, we actually got to go into peoples’ rooms and visit them as well as those in the hallway. Almost all were in wheelchairs and I held Danny up for them to pet. They were especially happy to see me and talk to me. My mom, who has to come with me because I’m a junior handler, spoke to the activities director who said I have a real way with patients. That made me smile, and I know I made them all smile!
Today we spread smiles, but if you know of any facilities who would appreciate pet therapy, don’t hesitate to ask me how to get that set up/train your dog yourself! I’m spreading awareness, but also promoting the idea of pet therapy so this is what I’m all about!
Our next facility visit is Friday! (and then Saturday)
The leaders of Creature Comfort Pet Therapy (CCPT) told me that I can’t ever do visitations in nearby hospitals because of Danny’s slight dog aggression 😦 It’s not his fault that his previous owners never taught him to play nicely with other doggies!
Feeling slightly discouraged because that’s the place that I was hoping to really enjoy visiting, but we’ll just keep visiting nursing homes. Danny is so great with kids that I’m dying to have him in a setting where he can spread some smiles to the little ones, so my eyes are peeled for children-oriented visitations on our CCPT calendar that take place after I get home from school/when I’m not working at my local job.
Oh, well! Tonight we’re off to a different senior care place in Bridgewater. Hopefully it’ll go well!
While I’m spreading smiles with my dog that heals tonight, you should check out CCPT’s website and (1) bring pet therapy to your facility, (2) train your dog to be a therapy dog, and/or (3) spread the word about just how much healing and soothing can happen by introducing a dog to a facility!
This morning, Danny and I (and my dad) went to Merry Heart on our own! We spent 70 minutes visiting seniors and spreading some smiles to them and the staff!
After putting on our brand new official badges and my tshirt and his bandana, we drove to Merry Heart Assisted Senior Living. Unlike the mentor visit, we went to the 3rd floor Alzheimer’s common area first and then the basement Bistro (had chairs and Wii bowling) second. I actually liked this better than doing it the other way around because the Alzheimer’s floor where the seniors have memory issues/dementia is sort of sad whereas the Bistro is just full of seniors who need assisted living and are just hanging out in a common area. So, we left the whole place on a bit more positive feel.
As for my dog Dannyboy, he did much better than he did on the mentor visit! He was more comfortable in my arms while I went from senior to senior and was well-behaved whenever I put him down. He even did some tricks for the (mostly) ladies in the Bistro, which brought them tons of joy. The staff members thanked us and told us to come back 😀
Feelin’ good, doin’ good, talk to you soon!
P.S. Get involved in the pet therapy program–whether you have a pet, work for an institution, or have a loved one you know would like some extra cheer!