Dogs, in my experience have an inherent sixth sense into human emotions, far more so than people.
A prime case is Sir Winston. As many of you know, who arereading these words, Sir Winston came into my life as a rescue. The Lhaso-Apso/angel mix was dangerously close to death when I adopted him. His undernourished, frail body covered in overgrown matted fur epitomized the term pitiful. Yet, in those deep set brown eyes, that unblinkingly stared at me, I saw a glimmer of hope. He has never proven me wrong yet. Within weeks he transformed into a healthy, loving and treasured companion' and his weight doubled. That was two and a half years ago.
Over the past year, my life has suffered many set backs. I amin a middle of a highly emotionally charged divorced, lost my home, and I almost lost my father to a staph infection that went rampant. My father's infection ended up bursting both ear drums and took root in his ears, nose and throat. That pushed my 82 year old father to the brink and he spent three weeks in an intensive care unit. This was followedby several traumatic weeks in a nursing hospital and then ultimately home.
I took it upon myself to move in with him and be his caregiver. We both appreciated he would get better attention, and be more comfortable, both emotionally and physically, in his own environment.
Naturally, my two dogs Chester and Sir Winston were also relocated. It was a test of wits for all of us for those first few days. Anyone who has experienced a similar situation can attest that it taxes the bounds of sanity on a daily basis. However one common thread seemed to hold us all together -- Sir Winston. Oh, trust me, my beloved Chester also paid his part' but Winston seemed more in tune to the seriousness of my dad's condition. It was ten days into his recovery when it happened. My fatherfell while attempting to use his walker in the middle of the night. All, he wanted to do was go to the bathroom. He is fiercely independent, and naturally having to rely on someone else for even the basics is damaging to his pride. My father fell and fractured his hip. Due to his other health concerns it was several days beforethe doctors dared to risk surgery. And even then I was warned of the risks involved. He suffers C.O.P.D. and is on blood thinner due to heart arrhythmia.
The surgery was successful and he was swiftly moved into a rehab center.
It was on the second day there that I noticed a contented Pug on the lap of a smiling patient as she was being pushed about the facility.
The next day I decided to take Sir Winston. The fuss began as soon as we entered the facility. Or letme rephrase that. The attention and fuss began to be centered onWinston. It seems everyone he encountered was left with a smile on their face. Be it administrators, nurses, physical therapists, and, most significantly, the patients. Naturally, I allowed Winston to return the love he was receiving. It took me twenty-five minutes to make it in to see my father. My father, not one to normally show emotion, grinned from ear to ear like a proud grand parent with a new born baby on show. On today's visit, after taking another twenty plus minutes to get to my father, he was in the physical therapy room. Once again, Winston became the center of attention as he went from one patient to the next. He took it all in stride -- in fact I swear my little dog was grinning himself. It seems as if I have an unofficial therapy dog on my hands.
Technically, I don't think he is supposed to be there. But when the staff sees the joy he brings to everyone they obviously approve. Winston made several new friends today -- all of whom are looking forward to seeing him again tomorrow' and the next day. I suspect my visits to the rehab center are going to get longer and longer. I, for one, am happy to do it, and I know for a fact that SirWinston is as well.
Credit for this goes to-- P.S. Gifford
Hope you all enjoyed this one.