When Charlie became a PAT dog I started to write small stories to leave with the residents when I visited the nursing home.
The initials PAT stand for Pets as Therapy. (click here for a link) www.petsastherapy.org
PAT dogs or cats visit the elderly in nursing homes, people in hospital, special needs schools or children who have fears of animals.
The visits are hugely beneficial as it provides an opening for people being able to communicate and feel the affection of an animal when they are perhaps in a vulnerable situation.
The idea of a visit is to help someone feel loved, giving them something to look forward to if they are in a nursing home or long term care in a hospital.
PAT dogs are assessed for suitability as they have to be steady and calm without jumping on people or showing any signs of nervousness or aggression.
When Charlie passed his assessment we were very proud of him.
Charlie had to wear his uniform which would indicate he was on duty. He would get special dancing feet when his coat was put on, he knew this was his special time for visiting.
His visits into the nursing home were always met with shrieks of delight and smiles. When Charlie visited people who were more fragile than others his demeanour would change accordingly. I will never forget Charlie giving one of the residents a very special moment. The lady was in the latter stage of her illness and was in a very quiet state, all that she had left of her senses was the sense of touch. Charlie laid by her and snuffled her. He was so very gentle that it was an emotional thing for me to witness. The lady smiled. It was a very small smile but the size was actually monumental for what Charlie had given her for that time. Charlie was able to visit this lady two further occasions before she passed away. It was incredibly moving to see.
Please click here for stories I left with the residents The Adventures of Charlie
I hope to add other stories over time, as I am sure my Labradors will provide me with lots of naughtiness to write about!