I hope these stories will help others to see how much good a visit to nursing and retirement homes with their dogs (or cats, or whatever) does. Pet therapy is wonderful.
Tag the Newfie
When I lived in the Phoenix, AZ area, our Newfoundland Club would take our dogs to nursing homes around the area. One memorable time Tag went with me, and as we were visiting each room, accompanied by a nurse, she said we may as well by-pass a certain room and the occupant had shown no emotion or response to anything since being admitted. Well, Tag, being a dog, didn’t understand she wasn’t to go into the room and pulled the leash out of my hand, walked up to the lady who was sitting in a chair, and put her big head in the lady’s lap. Everyone was holding their breath, when all of a sudden the lady threw up her hands, said “Oh!” and put her arms around the dog for a big, big hug, and she began talking to the dog. The nurse and I had tears running down our faces. I later learned, from that day on the lady socialized with the other residents.
Polly the Newfie
This time I took Polly, who also was a show dog, to a nursing home and all the residents were so glad to be able to pet her, and the other Newfoundland dogs. One elderly man saw Polly, said he was so glad I’d brought his dog home, and proceeded to take her lead out of my hand and walk her down to his room. The nurses explained to him that the dog just looked like his, and returned her to me. Many nursing home residents have had to give up their pets when they go into a ‘home’ and dearly miss them.
Sallie the Newfie
When we went to yet another ‘home’ and my Newfie, Sallie, and I heard one lady yell “I don’t want to see no dogs! Get them away from here!” OK, we were all walking our dogs past her open door when she once again yelled out, “Oh, they’re Newfoundlands! I want to see a Newfoundland. Please bring them in here.” And we did. She was able to hug and love and stroke and run her fingers through their fur, and later the nurse said she was very relaxed and agreeable after the visit.