I do wish pets were a bigger part of nursing homes/long term care homes and hospitals.
I've worked in long term care facilities before. Most recently a small (15 resident facility) one that dealt with residents who were non violent/non aggressive with moderate to severe forms of dementia. I had to quit when an on the job injury bruised my spine-porch railing gave away I was leaning on-fell 5 feet and really screwed up my back to where I can't life more than 20 pounds.
The owners got 5 cats just for the facility and set up a kitty cat heaven for them. Everything kind of tower and scratching post and toy a cat could dream of and pretty much have the run of the place. The cats loved to be held-you give them belly rubs and they turned to putty. And the residents just couldn't get enough of it. When a resident was in a foul mood or in extra pain, one of us would get them set up on one of the recliner chairs and another would go find a cat. Place cat in residents lap, remind them to gently stroke kitty and within 20 minutes they were well on their way to happy ville or they were too distracted by petting the kitty to think about how much pain they were in. The cats did something us staff couldn't.
There is this other case of this gentle man who was in one of the local papers. He's 35, 36 I think. Anyway, his wife said when he came back from his 3rd and final tour in Iraq, he was an angry bitter man. He had no interest in playing with their kids, (now ages 13-15,) nor interest in her. He was given a medical discharge for PTSD. He would only want to leave the house once a month to collect his disability check and go to the VA hospital to keep getting his meds. His PTSD was as bad as it came.
Finally a vets group got him a PTSD, depression and anxiety trained service animal. A 4 year old 60 pound pitty mix named Baby Girl. His wife said within weeks his old self was starting to come back and the pair had become dependent upon each other. Baby Girl was doing what trained therapists couldn't-reaching him. The guy said that one day he was just in a foul mood, had been all day. Some how, he ended up alone in the house-just him and Baby Girl. Baby Girl had wandered off to her favorite napping spot-a window in the living room that got a lot of sun. The guy was ready to do himself in, had his service revolver out and loaded. But before he could pull the trigger, Baby Girl startled him by jumping up on the bed, nudged the gun out of his hand and started kissing him and waggin her tail. She wasn't trained to knock the gun out of his hand but he figures she just "knew" he needed her. That's when he knew he still had value to some thing-even if it was a 60 pound four legged creature.
Whoever said "Money can't buy Happiness" never paid a dog rescue groups adoption fee.
| Pounds lost: 8.4