29 March 2010

Me and Gustavo and some of our friends.

Every Sunday that I can, I take Gustavo to visit some of my favorite people. He likes to go ok, but then again, he likes to do pretty much everything that doesn't involve power tools, especially nail guns and sheetrock screws. Sometimes he gets a bath, sometimes he doesn't. I don't think our friends can really tell.

They live in the nursing home down the street from the mall. It's not fancy, but it's clean and smells just fine, and a lot of the rooms have windows that you can see a tree from. We usually show up after singing, although most of the residents that are in the front room for singing can't really speak, so I'm not sure how singing actually sounds. We wait outside til they're done with the singing lady. They're just sitting there, in a circle when I get there, looking at the air.

Some of the people still look out at nothing as I set Gustavo on their laps, then their hands creep up super slow to pet him. He's gotten better about sitting still on the oddly shaped laps, delicately set in the chairs, different body shapes than you see anywhere else. Legs have changed sizes and laps have disappeared. He has learned not to squirm when frail old hands pick through his fur. Sometimes they pull it, but not too often. Usually they pet his ears.

Abran, with his giant glasses, Hawaiian shirt and fedora, brought out a folder of photos today, and we spent a while looking at pictures with him. He took our picture with a disposable camera, and I took one of him with Gustavo. Abran used to be heavy and loved country western dancing in boots. He's little now, and his dancing days are long gone. It's hard to understand what he's saying, but I think his brother in law shot his dog once upon a time. He loves Gustavo almost as much as I do. He is room 27, and don't you forget it. He wishes us to come every day.

I spent a while with a gentleman who never looked up. I had to put my ear right up to his lips, sound was coming out like a whisper. He told me that they come at night, through the ivy outside his window. I'm not sure who. He had on 2 heavy flannel shirts and Gustavo laid down on his lap. His hands didn't move, only his lips, with words that just sounded like breathing.

There was a lady I don't think I've met before, she told me she was part of an agency. If I remember this right, she has 7 cels and 2+2+2 until they find her, they are dangerous and they are an agency. She told me this a lot of times, while she rolled up magazines and stuffed them up her sleeves. But she also loved Gustavo's ears and scratched them thoughtfully. She was pretty worried about the agency. I told her I would make sure they weren't out there when I left. For this she was thankful.

I always thank Gustavo for bringing me there when we drive home. I thank him for being the dog he is, for hopping up on those narrow little beds and laying down next to someone that might tell me an abstract story about a cocker spaniel from long ago or who might just repeat a syllable, over and over. We both think a lot, on that drive home, every time we go to visit those friends.


Amanda said...

That is tough work you guys do. I salute you and Gustavo. I go to the children's hospital with my 60-pound mutt and I think we have a much easier time of it.

tundrah said...

So sweet. Big props to you and 'stavo for doing this.

Celeste said...

Beautifull post. Good work.

Elf said...

You and Gustavo are wonderful to do this. I hope someone brings me a dog to sit on my lap if I am ever in a situation like that.

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful post. Brought a big tear to my eye, and I thought of how you might have visited my Oats in room 20, had he not moved on quite so quickly.