Red Feather

by Houndstooth on

It’s not a secret that we do nursing home visits with the dogs.  Some nights are more lively than others, and there are definitely times when I think about just staying at home because I’m tired or have had a bad day.  This week has been a series of bad days and it was really cold, but we bundled up and went anyway, and once again, I’m glad I went.

There are some residents at the nursing home that we don’t have a lot of interaction with, and there are others that we always seek out.  In one of the quieter wings, there’s a gentleman who always tells us that he really loves dogs and every time he sees the dogs, he lights up.  This week when we ran into him, I think he was tired and on his way to bed, but he saw the dogs and wasn’t going anywhere until he’d had his visit with the dogs.

The Visitor -- Tales and Tails

The Visitor

This particular gentleman seems to love to talk, especially to someone who understands his love for dogs.  It’s clear to me when we visit that he still would love to have a dog around.  He always fusses over Bunny and Flattery, but more than that, really seems to come alive when they’re around.  While we were there this week, he began to tell me about his favorite dog.

Red Feather was an Irish Setter who hunted pheasants with him.  He told me that after he got Red Feather, someone else that he knew gave him another Irish Setter to hunt with and she was pretty good at it, too.  However, Red Feather didn’t like anyone else retrieving birds for the man and he’d do his best to make sure no one else got one.  He got along with the other dogs, but he didn’t like to share the man’s attention.  I loved seeing the man laugh as he talked about Red Feather getting in the front seat of his car and insisting on riding with his head on the man’s leg.  He talked about how the dog was out of show lines, but his instinct and drive for hunting were the things that ruled Red Feather’s heart.

I Heart You --- Tales And Tails

I Heart You

As he talked about his dogs, the man gave me a conspiratorial grin and said, “You know, it was like those dogs could read my mind.  I think dogs really learn how to figure out what their masters are thinking.  Not every dog was like Red Feather.  He was just so smart and special.”  He had told me about training bird dogs for other people, and I think he recognized that not all dogs have the same bond with their humans that some do.

I think he really hit the nail on the head as to why some of us are such devoted dog owners.  Once you have a really special relationship with a dog, I think you learn a bit more about how to bond with other dogs.  I think it becomes easier to forge new bonds with new dogs when you have that map of the heart to follow.  We all need a Red Feather in our lives to teach us the lessons of life and love.

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  • SGilbert

    What wonderful blog. It just melted my heart. You, Bunny and Flattery are so amazing. Older people in nursing home need that visit. Sometimes after having a bad day and you go home and have loving dogs to brighten up the rest of your day…I am so sure that is how they feel when you visit the nursing home. You give them a reason to smile, listening to their story, and just being able to pet a dog to soothe their soul. Thank You for taking the time to visit and show them you care! I am sure the gentleman went to bed with a big smile on his face and memories his dog Red Feather.

    • I really hope so! He is so sweet, and I get the feeling that he doesn’t get a lot of company. He always has a lot to say, and I love his stories!

  • Sue Dyer

    It is so nice that you take the girls to the nursing home and brighten up the lives of some of the residence. That gentleman certainly enjoyed seeing you.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend. Sue, Polly & Honey

  • Sara, oreo & chewy

    What a lovely evening you provided for Red Feather’s dad! Good memories and good “dog talk”.

    Great job girls <3

  • Dennis the Vizsla

    hello houndstooth its dennis the vizsla dog hay that man sownds like he reely luvd his red feather dog!!! it shoor sownds like yore vizzits ar the hilite of his munth it is so gud of yoo to go and vizzit those nursing homes like yoo do!!! ok bye

  • melfr

    Map of the heart. What a great phrase. A wonderful story too. <3