Kaiya and I were officially Delta certified last spring, but because my hip was really starting to act up, and because my plan was to do a reading program with her - which involves sitting on the ground - we never actually did anything to use our new status. And just to fill in the whole background, I didn't plan to do nursing home visits, at least right away, because her greetings can still be a bit rambunctious.
Fast forward to me being here in rehab with my new titanium hip and finding out that patients' dogs can come visit. So who was the recipient of Kaiya's first therapy-dog visit this afternoon? Meeeee! And I can't tell you what a lift I felt seeing her.
It was pretty funny, because my dog-training friend U brought her, and when I called the training/daycare/boarding facility to give the official OK for U to spring her, they said this was the first time ever that Kaiya had seemed sad while she was there. I'm sure she's sensed for a long time that I wasn't well, since our walks were so much slower and shorter than they used to be, and then I made a big deal of saying goodbye when I left her there, which I don't usually do. But then, when U got here with her, she gave me the cold shoulder. She stared at me as I reached the lobby, then turned away and literally turned her back on me when U sat her next to me on a couch in the lobby. I was petting her and talking to her, but she absolutely would not look around.
Because I'm using a cane (but no longer a walker!), U held the leash as we walked back to my room. Kaiya was interested in sniffing everything and looking in every room we passed, but no way was she looking at me. But U said whenever Kaiya stopped to check something out and I kept walking, suddenly she'd hurry down the hall after me. Back at my room, she finally jumped on the bed and curled up at my feet, but still with her back to me. However, the T-word ("treat") got her attention - thank you, queenofattolia
for the salty mix - and all of a sudden she loved me again. After that I got my kisses and that head-tilty attentive look I love so much.
After that I took the leash and we went visiting, and I discovered that she'll make a really good nursing-home dog. She was gentle and calm - although when I handed the leash to U and stepped off to the side to talk to one of the staff, she turned and focused totally on me, as if she was worried I might escape. Eventually I walked with her and U back to the front door, but we didn't make a big deal of her leaving, and U got her focused on a squeakie toy as she led her out. So hopefully now she's not fretting - and U is going to bring her back tomorrow, too, and maybe even Wednesday.
Honestly, I can't tell you how much it cheered me up to see her, even if she was
being a snot. And I hope now she'll be her usual self at Doggone Smart again, because I feel so guilty that I made her sad.