I have an older friend from church that moved into an assisted living place. She is 83. I went by her place to pick up some things from her and knew I was going to be in and out. It was very cold that day, with a windchill below 0. I pulled right up out front, left my SUV running with the heat on and locked the doors. I told the director as I came in that I was parked by the door because I had my dog with me and would be just a moment. She said I was welcome to bring Lexi in and that the residents were having a valentine's day party on the second floor and that is where my friend would be. Lexi came in and said hi to the two directors and did really well. She only put her paws on the desk once! We took the elevator up, which she had never been on one but did well. When the doors opened on the second floor we peeked out and there were about 25 people who the minute they saw her wanted to see and pet her. I held onto her leash and talked to her often and she couldn't have done better. Not once did she want to put paws on someone to say hi. This is something I am constantly on my son about because he lets her do this to him. She sat when I told her to and gave a paw to anyone who asked. Everyone petted her on her head or ears and she didn't mind at all. We took the stairs up to the third floor and came across a woman in a wheelchair. One time when we were walking, a woman was in a wheelchair and wanted to pet Lexi and she was scared of the chair and cowered. The woman told me how much she missed her dog and could she please pet Lexi. I said a silent prayer that Lexi would let this woman pet her, I could tell it meant alot to her and I didn't want her to get her feelings hurt. Lexi and I walked right up to her, she sat and offered her paw and the lady was really glad. We got to my friends place and knocked on the door. I wasn't really sure how she would react because she isn't really a dog person. When she opended the door, she was so excited. She told Lexi that she had heard so much about her and had seen pictures of her but she never thought she would get to meet her! My Lexi girl had the best manners and even had to show off a few tricks. I found out later that my friend had lots to talk about to the others the next day because she knew the lady that brought the poolde in to see everyone! It was so much fun and Lexi could not have behaved any better. I would really like to learn more about doing this kind of work, either visiting places like this or programs where kids can read to dogs. It made me realize that these people give up so much when they have to move and what a difference being able to pet a furry head can mean.
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Names of dogs: Oreo born 16 Dec 2012, Fifi 1998-2012
Poodle Type: Miniature Poodle
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
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The humane society here does the Canine Good Citizen test and once your dog passes, they arrange for you to visit hospitals and nursing homes. It is a 6 month commitment at a time and you go three times a month.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated. (Mahatma Gandhi)
Oreo: 16 December 2012
Fifi: 8 Sept 1998 to 20 November 2012
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I'm sure Lexi brightened up everyone's day. Glad she was on her best behavior. That would be so rewarding to do that on a regular basis and I know the folks living there would enjoy regular visits too.
"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative" - Mordecai Siegal
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katbrat: What a heartwarming story! You and Lexi sure did a world of good on your visit! I'm sure she's now a legend in her own time. I think it may vary by state or perhaps facility, but here your dog needs to be a certified Therapy Dog to visit nursing home and care facilities, and even to participate in the library reading program. A CGC certification isn't sufficient, but it may well be elsewhere.
You can contact Therapy Dogs International to get some information. (There are other similar certifying organizations, like the Delta Society, which I think is now called Pet Partners--not certain.) It was so sweet of you to visit your elderly friend, and so good of Lexi to be such a wonderful ambassador of the breed. I hope this is something you can find the time to do on an ongoing basis, you two seem cut our for it!
JudyD, Lexi(I can even spell her name right this time!) just turned two February 1st. Thank you everyone for the links. I really want to check this out. I struggled horribly to read when I was in first and second grade. While I didn't have a dog to read to, I had a teacher who stayed after class to help me and encourage me and to help my mom get me the help I needed. It changed my life and opened a whole other world to me. The idea that Lexi could bring a smile to someone by letting them love on her when they have had to give up their pets at a later stage in life, wow, how much better could it get?
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