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A Typical Therapy Dog Visit for Vivian

Vivian May 2It looks like once again I took a “blog break” for a few months.  I wish I could say it is because winter has “flown” by, but in Minnesota we are still waiting for winter to leave and it is taking its own sweet time.  Vivian and I spent our winter volunteering on most weekends at the Warroad Senior Living Center.  Vivian has gathered quite a few resident fans, and seems to make more with each visit.  When we originally started visiting we would go at 1 PM on Saturdays, but found many of the people who asked for her to visit them were sleeping; so we asked if we could come in the morning.   Now we go about 10 AM and stay an hour or so; any more than that and Vivian gets a little antsy, and very warm.

A typical visit will find Vivian and me heading to the “Angle wing” (each wing is named after a local area) and visiting with my friend Belle’s mom, and then Mr. P.   Mr. P likes to pretend he is a grumpy old guy, but Vivian can usually get a smile out him and when we  leave he always says “Come back soon, bring the dog”.   After another quick pet from Ilene, we head to Birch.

As soon as we cross over to Birch Vivian perks right up; she does love the ladies of Birch!  Our first visit with Mrs. R starts theVivian May 3 same way every week “Vivian, I am so glad to see you!  And what is your name Dear?”   We visit a while, Vivian gets plenty of petting and then we sign the guest book as “Vivian and her Person Peggy”.  Next we head across the hall to see Ms. B.

Ms. B doesn’t talk, but she laughs and loves it when Vivian licks her fingers.  Viv will put her head in Ms. B’s lap and with frozen fingers Ms. B will push her hand through a poodle top knot.   Then Vivian makes a play for the tennis balls on the bottom of the walker, I say “leave it”, Ms. B laughs and off we go!

Next is the common area and Vivian’s coffee club.  Usually there are two to four ladies having coffee and Vivian makes the rounds from one to the other for petting and adoration.  This group is very talkative and we enjoy visiting about all sorts of things; but especially Vivian.  They want to know if she is full-grown?  Does her hair grow fast? Do you cut her hair? How much does it cost to cut her hair?  Last week my favorite question was, “Would you ever consider polishing her toenails?”   After a chorus of goodbyes, and one “I love you Vivian!”  we head to assisted living.

Once in assisted living we stop to visit with the men’s version of Vivian’s coffee club.  Carl barks at Vivian; Vivian wags her tail and I say, as I do every Saturday “One of these days she is going to bark back and you will be so scared!”   We laugh, Carl gives us another “woof” and we head to our last visit of the day, Richard’s room.

Heading down the hall, Vivian picks up speed and if I didn’t make her heal, she would go at full speed into Richard’s room at the end of the hall.  Once at the door he opens his arms, I let go of Viv’s leash and she flies over to him, to get a back rub!   I sit on the couch, Vivian lays at Richard’s feet and we spend some time talking about “stuff”.  Sometimes it is about birds, or canoe trips, and this week it was German Shepherd’s and why they don’t look like they use to.   I might have to look up GSD’s and see how they have changed over the years because Richard knows a lot about the breed and my knowledge is based on one I knew when I was 8 Vivian Maynamed Shane.

As we leave Richard’s we pass by the café and say hello to the assisted living ladies who are coming down for lunch.  A hug from the mail carrier, for Vivian not Peggy, and we are back in the car headed home.  So that is a typical visit from Vivian and her person “What’s-her-name”!

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