Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ulani Goes on a Visit

A few weeks ago I shared that my mother had broken her leg, and my father contracted a bad bacterial infection while visiting her at the hospital.  Unfortunately things went downhill, as one often hears happens at hospitals.  Now my mother is in hospice care and my father at a nursing home from which he will never go home.  All of this took place in the period of six weeks.

So today I decided that Ulani and I would go visiting together.  We drove the 80 minutes or so to the suburb where my parents are.  My mother's hospice room is in a hospital, and to bring a dog in to visit you enter through the emergency room!  Imagine the excitement!  The doorway has an "anteroom" between two big doors.  The floor there is ridged, apparently to provide traction and drainage on wet days.  We went easily through the first door, but Ulani put on the brakes when confronted with the ridged floor.  I calmly encouraged her forward.  She practically jumped over all of the slats to get to the second door and we were inside.

The man at the desk asked "can I help you?" and I explained we were going upstairs for a visit.  He chuckled "they'll all enjoy that!"

Next challenge was the very bright, shiny, slippery tile floor.  My girl slipped a couple of times before adjusting to my pace to walk down the hallway.  One right turn and we arrived at the elevator.

This hospital is not new.  While it is clean and gradually being updated, some parts are still older. Like the elevators.  We enter and push "6".  Then the floor jiggles a bit as the elevator began to rise.  This quite startled Ulani, and she seemed to grab the carpeted floor with all four of her feet, then slipped behind me into the corner for more stability!  I think she was really glad when the door opened and we exited.

Right away we were greeted by one of the certified nursing assistants who cooed over how beautiful Ulani is, and how much everyone would enjoy meeting her.  We moved on, discovered that Mom was sleeping so went to meet the rest of the staff.  Sister Amy, the chaplain, was delighted to have a dog on board and encouraged us to stay as long as we wanted.  The secretary told stories of her dog, and another aid chimed in with her own stories.  Ulani adored the attention from everyone.

Eventually we made it back into my mother's room and stayed with her about 20 minutes.  She patted Ulani, admired her big, cold nose, and enjoyed watching her explore the room.  After a while I saw Mom getting tired so we said our goodbyes.

At Dad's nursing home we once again met all kinds of warm greetings.  Ulani and I joined Dad in his room for lunch.  She sat on the bed for a while (he was in his wheelchair!) and had a good drink of water.  After lunch Dad wanted to rest, so we began to leave.

I say began because everywhere we went there were staff and residents who wanted to see the pretty dog, ask what kind she was, and give her a pat.  I even had her do tricks for a nice group of ladies.

Everyone asked us to come back again.  I think we will.


Harvey said...

Why aren't you writing professionally? Very touching. And I say that both as an editor and as a human being.

Melissa H. said...

Sounds like she did a great job! Maybe now that she's older she's calm enough for therapy work. Thanks for doing that with her. Too bad we can't bring the cats to see Dad.

Rose H (UK) said...

What a wonderful post Johanne. Ulani is such a beauty no-one could fail to smile seeing her.
I don't know if you have 'professional' volunteer pets visiting hospitals and care homes in the US, but here in the UK they are registered and provide therapy for folk in homes and hospitals, maybe Ulani could do this - time permitting of course!

Anonymous said...

How touching! I took my Cavalier King Charles spaniel weekly to visit my Dad in the nursing home for two years before he passed away. What a treat it was for everyone there! I just looked into a program to have her certified to visit other such places, but they want to charge me to train her! She's already had her internship!!!

The JR said...

I'm so happy to hear that they let you both visit.

When my mom went into the coma, we asked the 2 hospital dogs to come for a visit.

She smiled when we put her hand on them.

Made us all cry.

MuleWagon said...

I'm sorry to hear about your parents - but glad you can bring your dog to visit. Nursing homes have certainly changed for the better in that respect, anyway.