19 September 2011

On Sunday was another day when we go to the nursing home.

We've been going to the same nursing home for a long time, me and Gustavo. Not too often, life is busy, but we go on Sundays when we can. I'm not sure what exactly he thinks about it.

The bath part, clearly sucks. But you can't bring a sandy, carcass smelling dog in, no matter how cute he is.

We always show up right at the end of circle times. They circle the wheelchairs in the big room, and the church lady is there, playing sing along on the piano. Nobody sings along. We listen outside the door, and when the piano playing stops, we bring in the dogs. I usually lead the charge, right into the middle of all those blank faces, propped up in their chairs.

"Who wants to see a dog!" I chirp out, in a Sunshine lady voice.

I always spot one of our best nursing home pals. I never ask when my favorite faces aren't there any more. I don't want to know.

One of my favorite gentleman friends was in the circle group this week. That doesn't seem like good news for him. I think the wheelchair circle is a demotion. He always says he's taking me dancing in Watsonville when he gets out of this joint because I'm so pretty. I think. He doesn't talk so good. He gets to pet Gustavo first though. Flattery gets you everywhere.

Then Gustavo does his trick show. Gustavo's trick repertoire leaves something to be desired. Circus dog, he is not. But on the nursing home circuit, anything he does is a smash hit. Consecutive rollovers while I pivot around is a show stopper. Which is a good thing because that's his best one.

The nursing home gets him wired. Too many grabbers and squeezers in a row burn him out. He never flinches, and is always cheerful, but I can tell. We usually try to go find a quiet person who's stuck in a room and likes dogs to sit on their bed. Gustavo is grateful. He watched the Raiders game with a stroke victim for a while. Nobody had to talk.

I let him leave early yesterday, after he hung in there with a dementia patient. She seemed agitated and worried, and repeated intense, creepy phrases about being lost and things not working over and over. But she liked petting Gustavo and hanging on to his leash. Sort of tight. He stayed in my arms, just in case. But all of a sudden, she went all bug eyed like she saw a ghost, and then busted out in a beautiful, quiet hymn. All the way through. She had a lovely voice, like maybe once she was a real singer.

The whole time she sang, she twisted his leash tighter and tighter around her hands. He sort of checked out, part way through the song. Like her energy just sapped his, right through that leash. I knew I could unclip it if she worked her way too close to his head, but she didn't. She just held on tight and finished her song, then went back into the aggravated chatter.

After that, I knew it was time for him to go. Something about that lady just finished him off and we snuck out down the corridor, waving at the folks being wheeled down the hall to lunch.


Elf said...

You and gustavo are good people. Thanks for what you do.

Agility Foot said...

I hope I die before sent to a home but if that's where I end up, maybe someone like you and Gustavo will still make Sunday rounds.

Anonymous said...

You and Gustavo are wonderful to do this!

Cedarfield said...

When I used to do Nursing Home visits with my Dobe, Jemma, she would seem to be able to make it for 45 minutes and then she'd look at me and I'd know it was time to go.
I used to go once or twice a week for about 2 years until I got so depressed I couldn't go anymore.