Some Visits Can Be Tough

One of the toughest parts of making pet assisted therapy visits can be visiting senior citizens. Not because seniors are difficult to visit with, but because they are in the last chapters of their lives. We have several different facilities that we visit each month where the seniors range in age to above 100! When you visit the same facilities month after month, you can’t help but see some of the same people each month and – and you get attached to some of them.

One Saturday morning we headed into an assisted living and skilled nursing facility a few miles from home. After spending the first half hour of our visit with some of the assisted living residents, we head to the skilled nursing area where we go down the hallways, room to room. One lady was always dressed very nicely and waiting for her family to come pick her up to go out to lunch. She had a hat collection, so she always had a different hat on each time we went to visit her. Rose the hat lady was always so cheerful and asked for a hug each time she saw us.

On that particular Saturday, we were ready to visit the skilled nursing rooms. We started down the first hall. A few other therapy teams were at the visit with us, so we split up to cover the unit more productively. This meant we wouldn’t be spending a lot of time standing in the hall waiting our turn while other teams were in a room visiting. One of the other teams came back to the hall where Smokey (my original therapy dog) and I were.

They told us that Rose had passed away a couple of weeks before our visit that month.

I didn’t realize that her passing would affect me so much. I had to take a few minutes in the hall to absorb the news and to compose myself before we could continue to the next room. Some people we visit have such wonderful personalities and it can be so interesting to hear their stories. Rose was always the highlight of our visit in that facility and we still miss her.

Since I didn’t have a picture of Rose to share, I asked for one of Bo’s other pet therapy dog friends to let us use a picture of her in a hat from her large hat collection. Pictured is Molly the Pembroke Welsh Corgi in one of Rose’s beautiful hats. We think Rose would more than approve. We bet she’d give Molly one of her sweet, cheerful hugs.

Rose, thanks for the hugs and the memories!

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