Eddie visits his mother every day at her retirement home in Northern Virginia. Initially, he started taking litters of Norfolk puppies with the encouragement of the nursing home staff. He would take them at about 8-10 weeks when they could tolerate the 45-minute drive from our house and being passed from one bed to another for about an hour. Eddie sets up an ex-pen lined with newspapers in an area designated by the staff to give the pups a drink and exercise at intervals while he's there. The response after the first litter was phenomenal. All the patients and staff wanted to know when the dogs were coming back, whether we kept any puppies, could they see them again, how big they are when full grown, and when he was bringing them back. So it goes ...
Every Sunday Eddie takes puppies, or if we don't have puppies, he takes one of our adults. The whole Wenwagon crew has had their day at the nursing home ... going from bed to bed, being kissed, hugged, fed special "doggie ice cream," etc. Eddie, who always has a story to tell when he comes home, says that the best part is the expression on the residents' faces when they see the dogs come into their rooms. Most miss canine company. Others who have never had dogs appreciate the attention and they learn to cuddle and smile for Eddie's VCR movie camera. the movies are then shown later to an appreciative crowd who enjoy seeing themselves "at the movies."
Eddie isn't the only one who brings in dogs -- lots and lots of Labradors are Registered Therapy dogs and visit the nursing home regularly, too. So many, in fact, that they host a conformation "Labrador Show" once a year judged by an AKC breeder/judge. But Norfolk puppies seem to be the all time favorite because of their size and the fact that ours usually go limp when held. thus, Norfolks are appreciated by dog people and non dog people alike. So we've come to the conclusion that all dogs are Therapy Dogs, whether officially certified or not.
Ed and Linda Plummer
ANTIC, Spring 1993
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