Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Lately, I have been thinking about my previous therapy visits and longing to share about them with you. Today, I will share about a visit at Central State Psychiatric Hospital, Petersburg, Virginia.
Each visit is different and very rewarding. We arrive at 6pm on the designated night and I take a quick potty break in a special spot the director has provided. After I take care of business, I march straight up to the double locked doors, throw my head back and out comes a "big" Malamute howl. Someone then comes to unlock the doors and let us in. My parents are then given their badges and we travel through several other locked doors to get to our destination.
When we go for night visits, it is a special treat for the patients. They know we are coming and they must be on their best behavior during the day in order to be allowed to visit with us. We are their reward!
The staff at CSH is very good to us. They provide a big mat for me to lay on so I do not become sore from laying on the hard floor. They also provide a special water bowl in the event I get thirsty. The patients and the staff are always eager to see me, as I am them.
Often, the patients enjoy having their picture made with me while snuggling on the floor. On this particular evening as I snuggled closely with my new friend, I began to intensely sniff her cheeks. My Mom knows when I focus in on something or someone there is a reason. I continued visiting with my new friend. She was an older lady with shoulder length gray hair and no front teeth. She had a very gentle spirit and would smile and hug me when I snuggled close.
The time came for my friend to leave and I heard Mom whispering with the staff. Mom asked, "Is there a problem with the patients face?"
The staff member replied, "Yes, but how did you know?" Mom explained how she recognized the difference in my actions. From that day forward the staff began to learn to watch me and they too can see with fresh eyes.
I miss my dear friends at CSH, however, I have been sending my brother Nanuq and I hear he is doing a great job in my absence. Thank you to each of you for your continued prayers during this time. I look forward to going back to CSH with Nanuq in a month or so.
Woofs and Wags,