Lucy's Diary of Elegance

A note from my mom: Moments in our pocket

February 20th 2008 9:14 am
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Most of us who visit with therapy dogs have special moments tucked away in our pockets. They are the moments that make an unexpected difference to someone, the moments that keep us doing what we do.

One of our moments happened in a group home we visit. The folks there are separated into different areas based on their functioning ability, so they can be matched with similarly functioning peers and staff who provide them with activities suited to their cognitive and physical ability.

On one side of campus there is a large, lively room where the residents are able to make boxes and fill packages for local companies, and they are paid for their work. This is a bright, fun room to visit, where everyone stops what they're doing to visit Lucy, our therapy dog. Lucy is a small and serious Pomeranian/poodle mix, always ready to do her repertoire of tricks in exchange for a treat. The usual "sit, lay down, speak, and sneeze" are what they all wait for, and multiple hands are outreached around me so they can each be next in line to receive a treat to give Lucy in exchange for one of her tricks. There is laughter and vivacious energy in this room, and not a visitor goes unnoticed or unappreciated. On the way out, everyone waves goodbye, and I'm sure Lucy feels like she has just walked on the red carpet.

The other side of campus houses a quieter room. Here reside the more seriously involved residents. Most of these individuals are nonverbal or have only a very few words in their repertoire. Many love to interact in the limited ways their bodies allow when we visit, and they are delighted to have a little dog placed in their lap or on the tray of their wheelchair. Others need some help to move their hands to reach Lucy on their wheelchair tray, because their muscle tone does not allow them to reach out on their own. Smiles pass across their sweet faces when their wrist brushes up against her fur. Some will attempt eye contact, to reach visually what their hand is touching. Lucy has a wag for all, and this is as much a treat for Lucy as it is for those who are being visited by her.

This quiet room is where our special moment occurred. I didn't realize how special it was until I was led out by Sarah, the employee who guides us through the center. Joe (name has been changed) is a tall, quiet elderly man with a regal, squarish face and handsome, light features. He sits stiffly in his wheelchair, eyes closed and mouth gaping, with little to no control over the movement of his limbs. I thought he was asleep. I was wrong.

Sarah guided his hand over to Lucy who sat waiting atop the table that is attached to the front of his wheelchair. Sarah, a sweet-hearted and soft-spoken woman, is always careful to address the person directly. "Joe, Lucy is here to see you. She is such a soft little dog. Here, do you want to touch her? Let me help you." She gently took his stiff muscles, and guided them to Lucy's back. I pushed Lucy a bit closer to him so his hand would reach. His eyes tried to open, and his mouth continued to gape, but from that open mouth spread a huge, wide-open smile and a noise. We stayed there only a minute or two, helping his hand to pet Lucy, while Joe's face continued to light up. It seemed Joe was trying to talk and I wondered what he was thinking.

We visited the other residents, and on our way back to the parking lot, Sarah spoke in wonder to me outside as we walked. "I can't believe what I just saw. Joe has been here for several years. When he first came, he was very high functioning. He started out like any of us, a normally functioning man, but he has a degenerative disease that is much like Lou Gehrig's disease. Over time we have watched him deteriorate, and it has been hard to watch. I haven't seen him smile for at least four months. He used to have dogs, and he loved dogs. He really connected with Lucy when he touched her, and that was huge for him."

My mouth was now the one that was agape, and I walked in awe, silenced by what I just heard. The situation wrapped around my heart, and as Lucy pranced along to the car, ready for the next adventure, I walked in wonder, realizing at once how moments that may seem such a simple thing to the rest of us can be the event of the year for another. Never underestimate the power of a gentle deed.

 

My first paycheck!

November 16th 2007 3:10 am
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Wow! I'm so excited! Last night I got my first paycheck! The hospital where I volunteer to do my therapy work gave out free, 20 lb turkeys to all the hospice volunteers! I was SO pawcited! So I'se pawviding the Thanksgiving turkey for my family's Thanksgiving meal this year! My very first paycheck!

Pawsome!

Lucy

 

Tagged! Seven sneaky secrets about me....

October 17th 2007 3:53 pm
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My friend Choo Choo tagged me! So here are 7 sneaky juicy bits of unknown gossip about me:

1) In my therapy work, I got a man to smile who is near vegetative and hadn't smiled in months. He has a progressive disease, much like Lou Gehrig's disease, and used to have a dog he loved. We say a special prayer for him every week after we visit him.

2) In one very special group home, I got one lady who is terrified of dogs to eventually ask if she could please hold my leash and feed me. It took her several visits, but she learned to trust me.

3) I can discover if you have an infection or boo boo by telling mom wif a special sniff. I have done this with some of my patients/clients who were unable to explain this themselves to their caretaker.

4) I also visit hospice patients and send them cards that say "Thank you for being my friend."

5) I hate getting my feet wet in dewy grass, but I'll haul my skinny butt into the ocean waves like nobody's business! Go figure!

6) I'm the nanny in the house. I watch the kids, supervise my furblings, put them in their place if they're not playing fair or nice, and make sure everyone is okay.

7) I'm a very serious girl, and I love my daddy more than anyone or anything in the whole wide world. I am his princess and he is my knight in shining armor.

BONUS FACT: I wake my mom up once every night to go outside and go potty. This drives my mom nuts, but she says she's glad at least I ask to go outside and don't decorate the rug.

Another bonus fact: Mom has been trying for months to get a picture of me tinkling while doing a full handstand. What? Not everyone does this?

Lucy

Off to tag 7 pals!

 

I have the craziest, craziest tail!

October 11th 2007 4:52 am
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And if you agree, here's my crazy tail picture and you can vote for me!

Please vote for Lucy, Certified Therapy Dog at The 3rd Annual World’s Coolest Dog & Cat Show

hee hee

Lucy

 

I'm a workin' girl!

June 16th 2007 8:43 am
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Today I started my new assignments to help people in hospice care. I visited one nice lady in her home, and then went to a nursing home to visit my second new friend. They were both lovely people, and in the nursing home I made lots and lots of friends on the way to her room!

It's a sunny, beautiful day in CT, full of smiles and wags.

Love,

Lucy

 

I'm a workin' girl now!

June 2nd 2007 4:36 am
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I's so excited! I've started my volunteer job at a group home, and had a pawsome time visiting the friendly folks there. There were lots of smiles! I'll be going back again and again.

I also got a job in a hospice program and two patients have requested me already, and I am very excited to hopefully give them a little smile and some soft fur to hug.

I've got an im-paw-tant job, mom sez, and I hope to live it to the fullest.

Blessings,

Lucy

 

A big day for me! I graduated!

February 24th 2007 10:04 am
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Well today was a very special day. Mom has been working with me for a few months to teach me some stuff for a good reason, and it all paid off today. Mom and I are now an official Delta Society Team! Yep! We are now officially Pet Parners so we can visit children and adults in hospitals and people in hospice care. I am so happy! It was a very challenging test. They threw a loud coffee can full of coins behind me, but I wasn't scared! And they had a big crowd of people try to distract me and scare me, but I was just happy to be there! And I sat and stayed and came and did "leave it" when I was supposed to. I was just happy to get all that attention and meet all those people!

Mom says she is So proud of me, and that made me feel so happy!

My brother Baxter didn't do so well. When the testing man tried to look like an old lady and came wobbling toward Baxter with a shawl, Baxter got scared and started to Bark! And then the wheelchair came and he got scared again and cowered down! And that made him forget alllll his tricks! Oh, silly Baxter. It was just a wheelchair! So the lady said he might be able to be a therapy dog *some day* but would need lots of practice first, maybe a class to train him. But look at me! I got in. I have lots of good work to do now to earn my therapy dog experience.

I can't wait to get out there and help people smile! Now my mom just has to send in a picture for our badge, and we're good to go!

:::Snoopy Dance:::

Lucy Loo

 
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Lucy, Certified Therapy Dog


 

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Baxter (aka
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