Harlan and I did our first "Pets For Life" therapy visit today.

He seemed to enjoy visiting the people, and even let me put reindeer antlers on him for part of the time.
He did a few tricks (mostly standard obedience stuff, but done with Harlan flair - since he had an audience). I was worried about him being too rowdy, but I needn't have. He was very excited, but very controlled about it. Made him look all alert and cute. "He's got a lot of pep," one lady told me.
He wasn't bothered with any of the walkers or equipment around. He did have a curiosity about a sliding window, which we decided might be because it looked kind of like a drive-thru window. Perhaps he was expecting cheeseburgers to appear.
Also, he focused more on the people then he did at the test, so that was good. There was a male client in particular that he seemed to take a shine to. We visited about a dozen or so folks. Most were sitting in a common room, and a few we met in the hallways and the private rooms.

This is an altzheimer facility that we were visiting, and these visits are considered part of their activity therapy (it's beloved that lots of activity slows down the progress of the disease). Two aides went through with me, and they carried a rather detailed chart, where they recorded each clients name, and their reaction to Harlan. There seemed to be a lot of detail on it, but I didn't look closely. Yeah, I was curious, but it didn't seem right to pry.
Some folks wanted to look but not touch, some wanted to pet, some needed help petting, and so on. All of this was written down. I wonder if anyone will remember Harlan's name next time; I bet that gets charted as well.
No one wanted to know my name. Big shock.
Some folks were more chatty than others, of course. Most questions were the same ones you would be asked by anybody; know how old he was, what his name was, is he a girl or a boy and so on. One question that was asked a lot that I was not expecting was "Whose dog is this?". Not sure why that was a concern, if folks were worried about strange dogs wandering in, or what. Interesting.
Well, I need to go. Mr. Doorknob thinks that I've forgotten that there are several loaves of pear bread cooling on the stove. He's a good dog who doesn't counter surf (lucky me, he came that way), but if something tasty is left out he will keep trying to remind you about it (usually by running out of the room and then back in really fast, and then staring at you REALLY HARD repeat every 10 minutes as necessary), in case you just forgot to give a bunch of it to him.

Terri & Harlan (also, I would like extra butter on my bread please)
1 2 3
That's so cool! I had hoped to do similar visits with Fancy because she is so calm around people and she never fails to put on a smile & wiggle show in order to get a smile and pat on the head from a stranger...well mostly. I met a lady who has been taking her dogs to the local hospitals for years and she thought Fancy would be a great candidate (with some further training of course). Unfortunately though, Fancy has shown that she is afraid of certain men, generally tall, blonde-headed guys for some reason. She gets behind me then growls at them through my legs. Wouldn't do for her to go into a nursing home and growl at some of its male residents.

Tara
That's so cool! I had hoped to do similar visits with Fancy because she is so calm around people and ... my legs. Wouldn't do for her to go into a nursing home and growl at some of its male residents.

Hmmm. Any chance of working her through the blonde-haired guy thing? Might be worth it. Perhaps if you have some friends who fit the bill they would help you desensitize her.
Terri & Harlan (but... but... The Big Guy is tall and blonde. How could anyone not like The Big Guy?)
No one wanted to know my name. Big shock.

I loved the whole story, and respectfully submit that you might have had something to do with the outcome.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Harlan and I did our first "Pets For Life" therapy visit today.

yay!
He seemed to enjoy visiting the people, and even let me put reindeer antlers on him for part of the time.

What a sport.
He did a few tricks (mostly standard obedience stuff, but done with Harlan flair - since he had an audience). ... we decided might be because it looked kind of like a drive-thru window. Perhaps he was expecting cheeseburgers to appear.

One of my favorite visits was one where Oso got to see out of a 4th floor window for the first time. The patient was sitting on a window seat and invited him up. When he jumped up he just froze in fascination.
Also, he focused more on the people then he did at the test, so that was good. There was a ... of detail on it, but I didn't look closely. Yeah, I was curious, but it didn't seem right to pry.

Hey that's pretty good. That puts uyou one up over "meet and greet" and actually into animal assisted therapy.
Some folks wanted to look but not touch, some wanted to pet, some needed help petting, and so on. All of this was written down. I wonder if anyone will remember Harlan's name next time; I bet that gets charted as well.

Probably.
No one wanted to know my name. Big shock.

Until I broke it I used a name lable with OSO + DIANE in bold black letters. When I'd say his name I'd point to the label. That helped.
Some folks were more chatty than others, of course. Most questions were the same ones you would be asked by ... this?". Not sure why that was a concern, if folks were worried about strange dogs wandering in, or what. Interesting.

Yes, its very common question. Some object to the presence of dogs, but I think the question comes from either wondering if the dog is from the shelter or if the dog is "merely" a treatment tool. A lot of them see the dogs as service dogs and imagine they are all kept in kennels when they aren't "working."
Well, I need to go. Mr. Doorknob thinks that I've forgotten that there are several loaves of pear bread cooling ... repeat every 10 minutes as necessary), in case you just forgot to give a bunch of it to him.

Something similar really gave me a twinge this morning. Usually I feed the cats then close the door so there is no opportunity for a dog to get to the food. This morning I went back to bed for a "nap". The cat food was about 18 inches from Tsuki's nose as he lay on the bed. He left it alone. Tanith would have been beside herself at the tempation. It was bittersweet realizing that I didn't have to keep one eye open to protect the cat food.
Diane Blackman
Harlan and I did our first "Pets For Life" therapy visit today.

One question that
was asked a lot that I was not expecting was ... were worried about strange dogs wandering in, or what. Interesting.

Yes, its very common question. Some object to the presence of dogs, but I think the question comes from either ... of them see the dogs as service dogs and imagine they are all kept in kennels when they aren't "working."

I used to wonder about this question too, when we used to visit the assisted living center where my mom used to be. Some of the residents would ask me if it was my dog each time we went, others got to know Taffy and Luke and would smile and call to them by name.
In the interim,
Go Harlan Globetrotters!
Terri
Some folks wanted to look but not touch, some wanted to pet, some needed help petting, and so on. All of this was written down. I wonder if anyone will remember Harlan's name next time; I bet that gets charted as well.

I'll bet it does. It will be interesting to see if the overall exercise of having the dog visits and the specific memory exercise of remembering the dog's name, etc. have an effect. My dad is in his 70's and scared of nothing BUT Alzheimer's. He is deathly afraid of Alzheimer's. Since he is still working (he has retired and then gone straight to another job for more pay 3 times now since he turned 70 can you say WORKAHOLIC?) and keeping busy outside of work, too, and he also hasn't shown any signs so far, I tell him there isn't much to worry about.
No one wanted to know my name. Big shock.

Well, DUH! Perhaps the young kids of today expect bots to have names, but our elders understand that machines are just machines, not real people! Now shut up and get back to work!

Paula
"Duwayne, you're living proof that when a man who has no idea what he's doing redoubles his efforts, there's no end to what you can't do." Scott Marquardt
That's so cool! I had hoped to do similar visits ... nursing home and growl at some of its male residents.

Hmmm. Any chance of working her through the blonde-haired guy thing? Might be worth it. Perhaps if you have some friends who fit the bill they would help you desensitize her.

We have several friends who fit the bill and stop by occasionally. She seems to remember them and is aloof at first but no growling. Repetition does work with her but it doesn't seem to be on a generalized, all blonde men, level Emotion: sad

Tara
No one wanted to know my name. Big shock.

I loved the whole story, and respectfully submit that you might have had something to do with the outcome.

Well, it's possible I was mistaken for part of the medical equipment.

Terri & Harlan (besides, no way you can compete with my c-yoo-tness\)
Show more