Articles Index/Therapy Dog
Posted 12/20/97



For several years, I have taken Norfolks (young puppies when I had them) to a nursing home. Since last fall, I have been remiss in part due to the press of other commitments and in part due to not having any puppies. I recently received the following letter from a 100 year-old resident of the home:

"When they told me you had terminated the visits of your dear terriers...., it filled me with dismay. It is my fervent hope that you are not ill. It may be that since you have given so many Sundays of delight to those in poor health you may feel that you have contributed enough and there must be some stopping point. Some nurses said "Perhaps he is no longer breeding."

You know how much holding baby puppies in my hand has meant to me, especially while they are still young enough, on their backs with their feet in the air, and cuddled in my hand. Their willingness to snuggle close was always a joy. They displayed remarkable self control and good manners. Once I questioned you, "How can you train such little things to act in such a mature way?" Your reply was, "I don't have to train them. Their mother does that."

For years your visits here have been a real joy. Perhaps you were saying good-bye on the Sunday you introduced to me your grown male - "My Best Friend." So if this is really good-buy, please know that my gratitude to you and your dear dog-family will be never-ending...."

Her letter arrived two weeks after we got a new, 10-week-old puppy. The letter did the trick and the puppy and I went to the home for a long-overdue puppy visit.

A final note. An organization called Pets On Wheels regularly visits the home in question with a variety of pets but I find that Norfolks, especially 3-to-6 month puppies, strike a particularly responsive chord with the elderly.


Ed Plummer
ANTIC, June 1997



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