Today began a new day in our pet therapy journey. Nanuq and I were invited to visit patients who exhibit more serious psychiatric symptoms during a daily class at our favorite hospital. We were excited to visit and make new friends.
Most of the patients warmed up to Nanuq and I very quickly and we saw a few of our friends from our night visits, too. Frequently one person draws my attention and today was no different. I met a very withdrawn black gentleman. I use the word "gentle" man, because his spirit seemed to reflect the title. He was a tall man with very strong hands yet his every movement slow and calm.
At first, my friend sat quiet and still with head down. I thought he was asleep and I'm sure everyone else did, too. His Nurse/Therapist, whom we will calm Ms. N.T. encouraged him to touch me and helped him gently put his hand on my head. I sat patiently and when he moved his hand back to his lap I slid into a "gentle down" beside him. I stayed by his chair until I was needed in another area of the room.
Later during our visit my new friend rose from his chair and slowly made his way over to me. As I sat in front of him he began to pet me. While petting me he began to smile and talk with Ms. N.T. During my visit another staff member whispered in mom's ear, "I've never heard him speak before."
As time passed and we visited with others, my new friend once again came close to me. He stood near as other patients spent time with me and before we were to leave, he looked down toward me and then held his head up and said, "he made me feel better."
A man of few words spoke volumes. Dog therapy was medicine for this "gentle"man's heart. I hope to spend more time with my new friend on future visits. My parents, Nanuq and I thank GOD for the glimmer of hope and happiness we brought during this special visit.
Woofs and Wags,