Typically, when we do nursing home visits, Bunny goes with me and Flattery goes with Mr. Taleteller. The girls both have their own style of greeting people. Flattery is a little more outgoing and she’s usually the first one to walk up to someone and greet them. She’s the penultimate social butterfly, going from one person to the next, gifting each of them with her presence. Bunny is a little more reserved, and she will spend a little time sniffing the person’s shoes and pants to see where they’ve been first, then she’ll put her head up for them to pet her. She will stand there for a long time if the person petting her has the right touch.
The main difference is that Bunny usually isn’t in a hurry. Flattery almost seems like she can’t stand not being able to greet everyone at once at times. It’s inevitable that Mr. Taleteller and Flattery will be waiting for Bunny and me at the end of the hallway to walk to the next part of the nursing home.
Traditionally, Flattery also usually can’t stand for Bunny to be getting attention from a person that she hasn’t decided she’s finished with yet. If she sees Bunny getting attention, she’ll usually work her way over and get herself closer to the resident and then do this little ninja move where she sticks her head down and comes up with the resident’s hand on her head instead of Bunny’s. I’m not sure why she feels compelled to do this, other than she is particularly fond of the limelight.
Lately, however, I’ve noticed a new trend. Bunny has decided that with old age comes whatever else you decide you want. This includes everything from Mr. Taleteller’s dinner to the spotlight on any and all photo shoots, from the best spot on the bed to controlling who is and is not allowed on the couch, and from getting a puppucino when we go out in the car to getting the attention she feels that she is entitled to.
A week or so ago, Bunny and I did a hospice visit to a nursing home we hadn’t visited before. Aside from one person they told us to stay away from because she didn’t like dogs, Bunny visited every person in the place who was awake. She was the sole focus of attention, and she reveled in it. It was one long line of “how do you do” and while it wore her out, she was clearly a happy girl. This week when we visited our regularly scheduled nursing home with Flattery and my husband in tow, I found that Bunny was less content to let Flattery have the limelight.
I was really surprised when Bunny walked up and pulled a ninja move of her own with one of our favorite, long standing residents and stole not only the woman’s attention, but also a little of her heart. I was holding on to the other end of her leash and I’m still not sure how she managed to get in closer to the woman than Flattery was, but I could see by the expression on her face that she was quite pleased with herself. Flattery, on the other hand, looked totally flummoxed and I wish I’d had a camera to record her reaction. It was one of the rare times that I’ve seen her at a loss for what to do.
I’m not sure if this is a trend that is here to stay or if Bunny just got a wild hare tonight, but it did make me smile. I sometimes worry that maybe she doesn’t enjoy visiting, but then we have visits like the last few, and I feel sure that she’s not ready to quit now or anytime soon. Not all dogs are right for all jobs, the same as people, but when you find a good match, it really does make life seem a lot brighter.