The Un-Scheduled Pet Therapy Moment – By Diane Rima
Sometimes Pet Therapy Days are scheduled appointments ~~ sometimes not. And the “sometimes not” days are often some of the most memorable. Whether planned or unplanned, one thing is always true, Chester and I receive a kazillion times more than we give. This is the joy of Pet Therapy and volunteering with KPETS.
On this particular day, Chester, my 4 yr old Golden Retriever and I, loaded up in the car and began a 40 minute drive to meet one of our scheduled appointments. About 15 minutes into the drive I got a call, so I pulled over, took the call, and discovered sadly, our appointment had been cancelled due to illness. Bummer.
Rather than head home, Chester and I stopped in at nearby coffee house where doggies are always welcome. It is kind of a funky place, (think 70’s and Hippies), very fun and as I said, pup friendly. As fate would have it, just inside the front door, three women sat together having coffee They were absolutely delighted to meet Chester and hear Pet Therapy tails. My sweet golden instantly warmed up to these sweet ladies and all of their attention. As I talked story about the JOYS of Pet Therapy, Chester was in heaven receiving countless head pats, ear rubs, and back massages. They told me “Chester just made my day, we all need a bit of pet therapy, don’t we?….”
Chester and I left the women to their coffee and conversation, and then ventured to the back garden and patio. It is here where the coffee-house-owners grow all of their own herbs and veggies and possibly other green plants that I won’t mention here. Anyways, seated in this patio garden was a group of traveling British Gentlemen who were so very excited to meet Chester. More pats and backrubs for the boy. One of the men jumped into a lively conversation (you have to read this with a lively British accent and your pinky high in the air), “Oh my, is he a rescue dog? I see he is in therapy! I have a dog I’d like to get into therapy. ” And thus began our conversation that Chester is not IN therapy, but GIVES therapy. I did not laugh out loud, and we had QUITE a lovely conversation. Spot-on!
Chester, at this point, was thinking Hippie Coffee Houses were pretty dog-gone fun. After waving g’bye to our British chaps, and heading out the door, one of the women (still having coffee) said, “Have you ever been to The Garden House? It is a beautiful home for men and women with Alzheimer’s. It’s just down the street.” And so, off we trotted, around the corner and down the street. I mean, why not?
Though unplanned and very spontaneous, we were welcomed at Garden House with open arms. We visited with the men and women in their common living area. Many were responsive with smiles, puppy pats, and stories of their own dogs. Things were pretty calm and mellow, until Chester spied four delicious green tennis balls attached to the bottom of a sweet little old lady’s walker. He pawsed, he sniffed, he licked, he whined, he wagged, and then he BARKED. Not a wimpy teensy bark, a WHOMPIN WOOHOO let’s play BARK. I jumped, and so did everyone else in the room — I think we all leaked our panties (or depends), and then laughter erupted in the room. So silly. So good for the soul.
From cancellations, to coffee, to quite lovely pet therapy talks, to peeing our pants with laughter, that was our day. All unplanned (by us), but delightfully planned. We are so blessed to do what we get to do. Pet Therapy for all.