Last week, I again found myself facing the difficult decision about which dog to take with me to our nursing home visit. We weren’t seeing any hospice patients so either of the Greyhounds could go, it was just a matter of choosing which one to take to visit the Alzheimer’s patients. On one hand, Bunny is sweet, gentle and easygoing, plus we know each other very well. On the other hand, Flattery is an outgoing social butterfly who makes an impression on people and she needs the experience and exposure, plus we need to work on our teamwork skills.
In the end, the girls tag teamed me and I caved in and took them both with me. It turns out that it was probably my best call for the evening. They were both very happy to be going and brought their best manners. As it turns out, though, sometimes it takes two Greyhounds with different personalities to make everybody in the nursing home happy.
Most of the time, if I go by myself, I take Bunny. It never fails, though, if I do, several of the more lively patients ask me where Flattery is. For some reason, she is more memorable to a handful of the residents that we visit. I know with one lady, it’s because she’s a black beauty and the woman had never seen a black Greyhound before. Another one laughs over her comical expressions and silly antics. There’s also one who always asks me for stories of her legendary misdeeds. It’s almost disappointing when I tell them that she hasn’t been up to anything lately. This crowd is always happy to see Bunny, but it’s Flattery that they look for.
There are some patients who are a little intimidated by Flattery, though. Either because of her size or coloring or possibly because she can sometimes be a little too friendly for some tastes. Some of the residents just want to give a dog a gentle pat without being sniffed or pushed for a little more petting, and that’s where Bunny excels. Her gentleness and tiny size make her a much less intimidating visitor for some of the more frail and reluctant seniors that we meet.
It was a good reminder for me that both of the girls have their strengths and that there’s more than one type of dog who can be a good therapy dog. It’s also true in life. There’s more than one personality type that makes a good teacher, or nurse, or president. There are also some who aren’t cut out for certain jobs. Morgan is never going to be a therapy dog, even though she excels at protecting the home front. As much as I wish I could be a singer, the only place that I sing is in the bathroom, and the rest of you can thank me for that.
Carrying that even further, seeing Bunny and Flattery work together is a sight to see. Together, they bring a lot of smiles to the nursing home when we’re there. They each work magic on their own, but as a team, they do something greater than they do alone. I think that’s also true of us humans, when we find the right match. Here’s hoping that we can all start finding matches for our strengths to make something better in this life.