Personal information obtained on therapy visits is confidential. When applicable the name/location/sex/condition of persons visited may be changed to protect privacy. However, the interactions, conversations are true and did occur as written.
Gopher, Chad, Squirrel and Carla are all volunteers. They do not officially represent any institution that may be mentioned.
Marge is coming to the end of her life, she is fortunate in that her care can still be administered at home and she is able to stay with her husband, and spend her final time in a familiar place. Upon first appearance she would remind most of their grandmother older, somewhat frail, but still full of life. Her body has begun to betray her and she has lost her sight, and now is also losing her breath. We have been visiting with her for a month at the time of this entry and she quickly rose to one of Gopher’s favorite patients, and he now whimpers in excitement as we approach her home.
We always arrive to big smiles and find Marge in the living room anticipating the visit, often with a treat already in hand (might be a reason Gopher has elevated her to a favorite). He takes the treat and immediately turns and sits in front of her. She pets him all over on the head, chest, rubs his ears and scratches his butt. During the petting she visits with me and talks to Gopher often about what a good boy he is, and how nice, calm and gentle he is. She will bury her face in the fur on his back and draw in a deep breath; she places her ear to his side, and holds it there for a minute, seeming to take him in with three of her remaining four senses.
She will then sits up for a few minutes and ask about my week, and how many people we would be seeing that day. Gopher performing his job admirably provides some therapy to her husband and or her son during this moment of rest. He then returns to her and the process starts over again, and continues until it is time to leave and then she gives him a final treat and thanks him for letting her pet him, and thanks me, as it is welcome to have this life in her house since she is not of good age or health to have a dog of her own anymore.
In her conversations with Gopher, the ones not meant for me, she lovingly tells him, “I wish I could see you, I am sure you are beautiful. They tell me you are red and not blonde. I like redder Goldens. How I wish I could see you.” The words are not for me but for Gopher. It is one of the many times in my experience, where is best to let the patient speak, and not engage in a conversation. After several weeks of hearing her say this though it takes strength not to reply, and here is where I get a bit cheesy.
I want to tell her that Gopher’s coat shines in the sun, reflecting the light and showing off many colors from dark red to very light blond, that he almost has a sparkle to him indicative of the term Golden in his breeds name. That although she might not see the sparkle she can feel it in his gentleness the need to lean into her so she knows she is not alone and the warmth of his body. That he has a big smile like many Goldens, and that he has one right now as she talks to him, a smile and stare that in that moment she is the only person in the world. That his eyes are so brown and expressive that even I can feel their gaze upon me if my eyes are closed or he is behind me and it brings me relief when I am scared or hurt and if she takes a moment I am sure she can ‘feel’ his gaze as well. That through her touch, the feel of his fur on her face and breath on her hand that she is ‘seeing’ Gopher in ways not many of his even closest friends have been able to see him. That in her moments with him she sees him as I do.
It is not my place to say such things to her, and it would take from the moment. I look forward to our visits with Marge as well, her stories of a life well lived and I am thankful to her that in her final time she has allowed Gopher and I to share this time with her.
Reminder, a note, and COMING ATTRACTIONS:
Challenge: We only have one entry so far we hope to have more please get your entry in by the end of the week for consideration. Details
Gopher and I have also been given an honor by our friend Garth Riley, and we are so happy, but it requires some thought so we will be writing about it soon.
Gopher gets toys thrown at him while visiting.
A thank you and information on getting your very own trading cards from CustomSportsCards.
How did I get here?