As it turns out, little Maddie is a natural at being a therapy dog! Teddy was so pleased and proud of his canine companion — it gave him flutterflies in his stomach. At least that’s what he told me.
Last weekend we took Maddie up to visit Uncle Z at his rehabilitation center. Even though Maddie does NOT like men, she warmed right up to Uncle Z. She’s a smart little puppers — she knows from whose hands the treats will be coming!
Don’t be fooled by Uncle Z’s headphones. He isn’t rocking out to Led Zeppelin while we are visiting — those headphones are connected to his FM device which allows the sound around him to be amplified and sent into his barely-functioning auditory canals so he can then communicate with us. Even though he is 95 years old, I’m sure the man could learn sign language even at this late date because all of his faculties are intact, but there is just no one around to teach him. And so we settle for this . . . moments of pure unadulterated joy with not just one pup, but TWO!!!
I’m not quite sure how, but Uncle Z could tell the two pups apart. Maybe it’s because he could see flashes of Ted’s signature red harness in his viewing field . . .
Even though Maddie isn’t Polish, it turns out she enjoys eating kishka as much as the Tedster does! Uncle Z was sure to take turns feeding each dog equal portions of the questionably delectable stuffed Polish sausage. Just imagine their little doggy breath afterwards! They both needed a nice mint-flavored dental stick after that visit — let me tell ya! Phew!
Uncle Z was just thrilled with their visit. His favorite thing in the world seems to be having an animal to pet and eat out of his hands. When we were leaving today, Maddie and Teddy strolled right into the Activities Center where BINGO was in full swing. All activities stopped momentarily however as Maddie and Teddy took to the floor, sniffing and visiting all of the 40+ residents who were playing. I was so happy in that moment. You should have seen the looks on all of their faces — they appeared JOYFUL! The residents had smiles in their eyes as well as on their lips! “Oh look at those beautiful little doggies,” they cried as they reached out for a pat, or a hug, or a little doggy kiss. And Maddie, who does not normally like men, picked out a man in a wheelchair who was sitting apart from the rest, to go over and befriend. Jack told us about the dogs he had while he was growing up in Boston. These pups have an intuitive way of bringing joyful memories back to those who normally have difficulty retrieving those nostalgic good times.
I wanted to take a picture of the BINGO activities, but my hands were a little full at the time. I did, however, take a picture of Teddy with Rosa, the resident who actually wheeled away from little Ted last time. As we visited with Rosa’s family for a bit before we left for the day, they explained that Rosa lived in apartments her whole life and could not have pets. Therefore, she was a little afraid of any animals that came to visit the rehab center.
I, however, refused to believe that anyone could legitimately be afraid of Ted and so I put a milk bone in her hands, and she fed it to him! She was thrilled! She remembered Ted from before and this time she got to know him instead of wheeling away from him! I was so happy with this progress. So happy! And I’m supposed to be providing these residents with happiness — I swear it’s me, myself and I who get the most benefit out of this volunteer activity!