Friday, March 26, 2010

Return of the Dog Whisperer

Sometimes I bring out the best in people and sometimes I bring out the best in dogs. A man with Alzheimers came on to our service over the summer but the family refused social worker or chaplain involvement. The hospice RN let us know last week that the family was now open to these services- hurray! I met with the daughter and the caregiver the other day. The patient is nonverbal and content to stare outside. I did get some kind of response from him when I mentioned the White Sox' 2005 World Series Championship- he and the family are huge Sox fans so we, of course, got along swimmingly. Also in the mix were the family's 2 dogs: JD and Comiskey. JD was very friendly and eager to be petted. Comiskey is the timid one but surprised the family by coming into the patient's room after we'd been visiting awhile. I held out my hand to encourage him but the daughter was worried Comiskey would freak out and bite off my hand (apparently timidity can also translate to ferocity) so she sent him out of the room. A little while later he came back in, headed straight for me and rubbed his head under my hand, indicating he'd like to be petted! The daughter was shocked! Comiskey was friendly as could be. She said that he's never done that before- he never comes into the room and never lets strangers pet him. Interesting, no? I seriously don't think I do anything special but Comiskey must have sensed I was a kind soul- or at the very least, a Sox fan. Speaking of which, when baseball season starts, I'm going to try to visit during a day game and see if the patient responds to baseball.

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