This week was Gyp's first Therapy Dog session. It was not what I expected. I thought "oh, this will be a fun thing to do together, Gyp loves people, and I love seeing people smile when they meet any of my dogs".
Well, it was so much more. I didn't really factor in how it would effect me. DUH.
Most visits are supposed to be in a common room where people come to meet you each week. This facility has quite a few really elderly people who aren't very, or at all mobile. So they asked if I would do room visits. I said sure as long as it was OK with the residents. It is a neat place because of the variety in needs and ages.
Most of people all asked if Gyp ever had pups, and I got the same reaction from almost all of them "what a shame, she is so pretty and would be a good mum". Old people are funny :)
One lady wanted to give her a chocolate. One lady had her dentures in a tray. One man pretended not to be interested, but when we visited with his neighbor, he got out of bed and used his walker to observe from a far. The staff were quite amazed with some of the positive reactions towards Gyp that day.
It was hard going into the rooms and seeing the family photos, handmade crafts from grandkids or great grandkids, and the photos of the people when they were younger. It is really cool to see where people come from. One man is a very decorated War Hero and has his medals proudly displayed. I said "Wow, you've been all over the world" he said "In 53 years of service, sadly yes". What was even harder, were the rooms with no photos or only 1 or 2.
We met about 15 people, and the one that got me the most was the lady in her 90's she couldn't move all that well but her face lit of when she saw Gyp enter her room. Gyp put her nose close so the lady could pet her, then Gyp put her paws up on her bed and tried to get up. The Aide asked if she would like her on the bed - the lady nodded "yes", Gyp hopped up, curled up next to the lady and rested her head across her body, and just stayed there while the woman gently stroked Gyp's face and commented on her soft ears. My heart melted. At that moment it became so obvious what our dogs do for us, and in Gyp's case what she can do for others. We all had tears in our eyes, and honestly, it will be a moment I will never forget.
We met some really cool people, and I am excited to go back and get to know them even more. This experience is going to be good for my soul, I felt really grounded and at peace when Gyp and I left that day, Ice Cream Sandwich in hand and all (thanks nice nurse).
Thank doG I have my 3 dogs ... damn, I would need alot of therapy if I didn't have them.