View Full Version : Our First Therapy Experience

15th May 2007, 04:47 PM
Well, last night was the day that it started.. :cool:

At 6PM I met a lady by the name of Helen at a place full of senior citizens affected by Alzheimer's at an assisted living facility.

Kosmo was so excited to get in the door, he would barely listen to me when I told him not to pull. I have never seen him behave like that except for when we're going to class. http://x.myspace.com/images/blog/smileys/shocked.gif

The first man we met was sitting in a green shirt in a wheelchair. I held Kosmo in my arms while he was petting him. After a few seconds, the man got brave and decided to ask for a kiss. He was leaning in for a kiss from my big baby boy. :lotsaluv: Although kosmo didn't kiss him, he did touch his nose to this man's face and to the man, that was a victory. He then asked where he was and how to get out. I told him to follow the hallway or ask the nurse and he sat there stunned looking at me and said "I don't know you but you're not making any sense to me. It just doesn't make any sense." It was sad. http://x.myspace.com/images/blog/smileys/sad.gif

After this, we continued to the nurses station. While we were speaking with the nurse, my little calm boy spotted a woman with a walker and did his howling bark at her. She looked as if she was about to cry. "He doesn't like me," she said as she turned around to walk away. I quickly picked Kosmo back up and explained to her that he'd just never seen a walker before and he was probably a bit frightened. He then made it up to her by kissing her hand.

Moving forward, we stopped by every resident's room. We would knock on the door, and ask if they wanted to see a little dog. Every resident wanted to see Kosmo except for 1 lady and 1 couple. They just weren't too big into dogs.

It was amazing to me to see how much joy and love that Kosmo had brought these residents in their short time. They would smile, talk baby talk, and every single one of them asked to feed him a treat. Kosmo would eat the treat, and then lick their hands. He seemed to know that they were sick, but that just meant that he needed to work extra hard to make them feel better.

One resident in particular really really liked him. She kept talking baby talk to him as he did the "Cavalier head tilt" from side to side. She then decided to scratch his neck and he held it up and let out a loud groan. I had to chuckle. He was really enjoying himself. :lol:

In all, our experience was amazing. I have not been assigned to a permanent ward yet, but my hope is that we will see ours next week. I've been given the option of either taking the ward where people are mostly coherent but not quite there, or a locked down facility where the residents are mostly out of it. I don't know which one we'll take. I would like to see people that will remember us, but I know that Kosmo is very gentle and will be OK with even the most frail of residents.

Upon exiting the facility, we ran into the resident cat. He's never seen a cat before and he barked like he wanted to kill it! I was so embarassed. The cat hissed back at him and he hid under my legs like a little wuss.. LOL I hope in the weeks to come that he learns to love and accept the cat.

I think this will be great work for us and I thought it was absolutely wonderful to be able to make so many people happy in such a short amount of time. It's true what they say - dogs really are like therapy. :D

If any of you are thinking about getting into this kind of work, I would say go for it!! It really seems like it's going to be very rewarding ;)

Cleo's Person
15th May 2007, 04:53 PM

I'm so glad to hear that your first evening as therapy dog and person went well! :) I'm sure meeting a cav full of love helped people enormously. Keep us posted on how it goes and which ward you choose in then end. Hopefully Kosmo will grow to tolerate the cat!

15th May 2007, 05:12 PM
That's great; sounds like a wonderful experience all around. It's such rewarding work and the people enjoy the visits so much. I'd love to do therapy but cannot make a regular time commitment with my work schedule. Only Lily would be able to do this kind of thing as well -- the boys wouldn't be up for it but Lily loves everyone. :lol:

15th May 2007, 05:15 PM
That sounds like such a wonderful experience! My grandmother is in a nursing home and she loves it when they bring the resident dog around- a long-haied chihuahua. (sp?) I'm sure they loved seeing you and Kosmo! :)

I played Bingo at a nursing home last night with my church group- I wish Oliver wasn't such a scaredy cat- I would love to do that with him!

Good for you for getting involved in that- I am sure it made a huge difference in their lives! :)

16th May 2007, 07:33 PM
YAY KOS!!!:rah: I bet that was wonderful Sara. That means so much to the residents, even if they don't remember him next time. It will brighten their lives even just for the moment.

I think Cody would be a wonderful therapy dog, he is so laid back and gentle. Zoey may someday, but now she is a ball of energy. Wesley surprises me sometimes...when he needs to be calm and quiet, especially around children; he does excellent. If he sees another dog though, that goes out the window :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

16th May 2007, 07:50 PM
Having had many aging grandparents, I can tell you the best thing about not remembering is they get all excited to hear the same news again! So the fact some wont remember Kosmo is not necessarily a bad thing - you will brighten their day as they think this is the first time they have met the Wonderdog Kos! Most dogs (all I have owned) always are sensitive to people not feeling well. They are like a magnet to them. They saw dolphins are drawn mostly to people with cancer - they sense a difference in them and behave much less timid around those people.

Looks like Kos will be getting that weight gain you wanted with all the treats!

16th May 2007, 11:14 PM
What a lovely thing for you & Kosmo to be doing. :lotsaluv:

Joanne M
18th May 2007, 02:20 PM
Sara thank you for sharing your experience with us. I find your accounts interesting, please keep them coming. We have the most loving and gentle dogs in the world. I'm glad you're helping to brighten the days of the elderly. It means so much to them.

18th May 2007, 02:24 PM
Sounds like a very good experience and u did a great job!