Misty, with slightly fuzzy rear leg, waits for the return of her fur and it seems of her energy, as well -- as it turned out, not quite ready yet to resume her Dog Therapist activities...
“Fergus! C’mere, Boy!” The woman patted her upper chest inviting Misty to climb up and cuddle.
“That’s not Fergus, Mom. This dog is Misty and she’s come in on Christmas Day to see you.”
“Oh.” Misty had clambered her top half onto the bed and was licking the woman. “Goo’ boy, Fergus! Goo’ boy!”
Daughter and I exchanged smiles.
It was so good to be back, meeting our new patients on the Palliative Care Unit. Six weeks had elapsed since Misty had undergone her ligament surgery.
“She’s not quite 100 per cent yet.” Janet Kirby, our long time friend and dog groomer had attended to Misty’s post-op bad hair two days earlier and reported that Misty had needed to sit down while being groomed. Hmmm... Clearly, I’d have to keep an eye on her during our return to the floor. Misty had been very excited to see her red Christmas collar – the one with the jingly bell on it. Then came the moment to reach into the cupboard and pull out her red work vest – the one with the Therapeutic Paws of Canada crest and her name stitched on. Misty whimpered and pranced about in happy anticipation.
At the Hand Sanitizing Station in the hospital a toddler ran up to Misty with arms outstretched. “Doggy! Doggy! Doggy!” Misty returned the little girl’s delight by laying on plenty of smooches. Several people encircled us with smiles and the usual questions rose up: “Doesn’t that hand sanitizer hurt her feet?” “Can my dog become a therapy dog?” “Will you be going to the floor my Dad’s on?” “Is it okay to give him the rest of my doughnut?” ... and my answers: “No” “Maybe” “yes” and “thank you - no”...
I’d missed the seesaw rhythm of such exchanges; the sibilance of laughing tots; wrinkled features softening as people saw their Pet Therapist beginning her work.
In one room, two ladies and their families asked to be photographed with Misty hamming it up on their beds – but something about Misty seemed a little wan. Her tail wasn’t sweeping in the same wide arcs. She eased herself off beds after only short visits. Ever The Pro, Misty was trying her best – but she certainly was flagging after about a half hour. Following a half-hearted visit with one of the nurses (see the photo above) it was obvious – we’d have to leave without seeing everyone on our list.
As we began making our way back to the Hospital’s entrance, Misty began pulling on her leash. I thought she must have to relieve herself... and in a way, she did. No sooner were we spat out of the revolving door than Misty tugged in the direction of a fresh new snow bank where she abruptly flopped on her back and groaned in the delight of rolling over and back in the Cool White. Over... oooooo... Back... ahhhhh..... Over.... snort, snort, snort... Misty rose to her feet, refreshed. Ready for That Nap. She all but passed out on the ride home.
We’ll take another few weeks for Misty’s further recovery... and then we’ll be back on the Palliative Care Unit, where Misty can continue what she does best: spreading The Love.