If you've followed along with my blog you know all about Charlie. What you may not be aware of is that he is a licensed Therapy Dog. We work with patients under Hospice care, children's grief support groups as well as twice monthly visits to the residents of Casa de Modesto. We missed our visits to Casa de Modesto in January. For the first one, I was ill and the second one fell during my week of scheduled jury duty. We were back on schedule today and I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I had missed the visits. I'm beginning to realize that I may be Charlie's most important client.
We only spend an hour every time we go to the care facility, but in that hour, Charlie personally interacts with approximately 25 residents. His job is easy... be adorable and to stand within reach of the residents. It is such a delight to see their faces light up when he walks into the room.
For most of the residents, I have to reintroduce Charlie. They remember the dogs coming, but not the particular names. There are a few that plan for us. One lady keeps a baggie of treats with her on the days we are scheduled to visit. No matter where she is when we arrive... she's prepared to give Charlie his treat.
Some of the other residents saw Charlie's enthusiasm for the treats, so they started planning themselves. One of Charlie's particularly favorite friends, Helen "accidentally" spilled her Fiddle Faddle just before our arrival. There was a nurse trying to clean it up but Helen whispered to me that it was done purposefully to share with the dog.
Charlie has another friend, Margaret who waits in the hall way on the days we are scheduled to visit. She is so worried about missing him that she refuses to go to any other activities until she has seen him. Her room is at the end of the hall. She always sits and waits patiently for us as we zig-zag our way toward her.
I knew this work would be rewarding, but I never imagined how much it would mean to me personally. As much as I'd like to think we are doing good for others, I'm totally convinced that we are the ones who are blessed by the effort. Dogs are a gift of grace themselves, but having the opportunity to share them is truly one of the greatest blessings I have ever received.