First Day on the Job for Pet Therapy Dog Lexi

With the rest of the country now at Level One (Auckland Level 2) and the opening-up of rest home visits, I brought out the red scarf for a spruce up.

“You’re next,” I told Abbot, “Just look at those muddy paws!”

As for me, it is time to take our latest recruit, Lexi the Border Collie, for her first visit to the Jane Winstone Rest Home, to see if she has what it takes to be a Canine Friend Pet Therapy dog. As her Mum, Jill waited anxiously in the reception area, I could see Lexi sticking close to her legs. Bright lights; strange smells and tiled floors can be just some of the new things a prospective Canine Friend Pet Therapy dog will experience on their first visit.

“She’s shaking,” Jill told me. I felt worried.

Odette, the Diversional Therapist, greeted us warmly. I bent down and gave Lexi a hug. Her tail waved a little. We progressed down the main corridor of the rest home; residents’ rooms on either side.

“Let’s start with a visit to Jeannie,” said Odette, as she ushered us into a small cosy room. Jeannie sat in an armchair in the corner, a blue pillow pumped up behind her back and curtains pulled to allow in the afternoon sun. Jeannie’s daughter, who was visiting her mother, beamed at us.

“Oh, how lovely. Look who’s come to visit you!” Jeannie’s face crinkled into a broad smile, and Lexi seemed to relax immediately. She trotted over, sat at her feet and gazed lovingly into Jeannie’s eyes.

“Oh,” said Jill, who looked very proud if a bit tearful. “She’s a natural,” said Odette and I wasn’t worried any more. We went on to meet Morah who too was sitting in a comfortable armchair, enjoying the afternoon sun. Lexi, as though she had visited every day of her life, trotted over, sat at her feet and gazed with all the loving warmth and wisdom that only our canine friends know how to do.

The rest of the visit progressed just as smoothly with Lexi instinctively popping her head into residents’ rooms to say hello. The “oohs,” and “aahs,” of everyone she met delighted all.

As Lexi started to pant a little, we brought the visit to an end. Lexi had done a sterling job, bringing much joy and laughter to the residents at Jane Winstone but now she needed a big drink and an even bigger sleep.

Welcome to the Canine Friend Pet Therapy dog family, Lexi and Jill. My first recruit since lock down – what a wonderful way to begin. I know you will go on to be an integral part of what we do.

Sandy McAllen
Canine Friends Pet Therapy
if you'd like some canine friends to visit click here for more information.