Thursday, February 25, 2010


I drove my car for the first time in awhile and it felt great! I missed my car! It is 10 years old - and only 86,000 miles! Barely broken in!! We had the windows down and the top open, cruisin' on Mission St, enjoying the sunshine! We returned to a Residential Care facility today where many of the residents are Jewish - hence the SaBatchKa title - meaning small dog!!

We started the day in one of a few Activity Rooms. Again, Gabby is really good at sitting in their laps now. For some people she is a little too heavy - she weighs about 20 pounds. But, many want her to lay in their laps. Of course we did the upside down hug - that is the most popular. We stayed in this room for about 30 minutes and proceeded to the Dementia Floor.

The head nurse is a very energetic man. He had about 6 balloons tied together and Big Band music playing loudly. The residents were tossed the bundle of balloons and they had to hit them back to the nurse. Everyone seemed to enjoy this game! Gabby isn't too fond of balloons and is cautious around them. At first she watched them play and then discovered that they were not part of her routine so ignored them. She sat on about 5 different laps, gave lots of upside hugs and was very patient.

One lady grabbed her around her neck and had a pretty tight hold on her. This is why they man-handle them pretty good in the training exercise. Thankfully, Gabby sat real still and I was able to undue the woman's hold.

I know this site is all about Gabby and HER experience, but I am very intrigued with this floor and always experience something myself. I respect the individuals and am not trying to make light of their situation - Lord knows it is a HUGE challenge - but I cannot help to find it quite humorous with some of their actions. At times, I feel like we are in a movie and they are all acting!! The nurse in charge is truly amazing, taking it all in stride, making it a FUN and positive environment. We stayed in this room for another 30 minutes.

We made our departure and headed back home. With each visit I see Gabby being more and more patient and still when people are holding her. In the beginning, she would wiggle around in their laps and now she knows to be still.

Another successful job!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeps getting BETTER!!

We returned to the same location we were visiting last week and the week before. The car route. Check. The parking issues. Check. Off to a good start!! hahaha

The nurse that wanted to buy Gabby last week was pushing a man in a wheel chair to the outside of the building upon our arrival. Gabby RAN to the nurse when she squealed with delight of our return, "GABBY!!!!" We entered the make shift living room where our guests from last week were also awaiting our arrival. Gabby was excited, jumping around and licking everyone.

Gabby learned new words today! When I say, "Come-A-Hoppy" and point to where I want her to go, she jumps up and stays. I can say it and pat the couch and she jumps on the couch. If I say it and pat the persons lap, she jumps up on their lap. The people loved to watch her do this!

At this particular location, I feel that the atmosphere is very calm and serene. I enjoy sitting on the couch with the other residents. We talk about Gabby while she looks around, adding to the conversation with turns of her head and perking her ears. It is a very comfortable and easy moment. One lady came over in her wheel chair while I was sitting on the couch. I placed Gabby in my lap and she spread her upper body on the lady in the chair and lower half on my lap. The lady stroked her ears and patted her head with such a light, dainty touch. Gabby was very very still, noticing this extra softness. Gabby closed her eyes and took in all in and that pleased the lady so much.

Not sure the WHY of this, can only guess....but older men have always held a special place in my heart. Always have. Perhaps it is because I had an amazing grandfather that I adored as a child and not much of a father. Not so surprising that I've made a few friends at this location, two being older men. I asked what their line of work was in their youth. One man answered, "Plant pathology". Interesting. He said, "I bet you didn't know that plants got sick too!" The other man when asked the same question, unfortunately answered that he did not know, that he could not remember. Both of them enjoy Gabby so much and want her on their laps.

That is why, we are so pleased to report that this therapy dog stuff just KEEPS GETTING BETTER!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"I want to buy her!"

Gabby was excited to go to her job today when we went to the closet to get her special leash. This was a second visit to this particular place. We've never had a 'double' visit and I was curious if Gabby would 'remember'. We walked in and she immediately did her 'dance' when she rubs her front paws and her back paws on the carpet, looking as if she was scrubbing her paws! It was great!
We met with the Activity Director and was guided to the front lobby area where about 6 individuals gathered, all awaiting our arrival!
I introduced Gabby, showing her little tricks and everyone laughed and joked. I am finding that many people want to FEED her! Many want to give her a cracker or something they have in their pockets! I tell them, "No Thank You! She only eats dog food - no people food." And they feel badly! So, I have been giving them one of her own treats, explaining to them how to tell her to do her tricks and most of the time Gabby will perform and they can reward. They laugh and think it is so cool to talk to a dog and get a reaction! One man asked, "Do you have children?" I confirmed his question and he stood up and said, "Let me give you a hug! If your dog is so well behaved, I can imagine how your children are! Thank you for raising good children!"
This same man would look at Gabby and say, "Arf Arf Arf!" Wanting Gabby to answer back. I explained that all you have to do is say, "Gabby? Tell me a story!" And Gabby will give you an ARF!! He continued to say, "ARF ARF ARF!" Gabby would look at him and wonder what the heck he wanted her to do!! I continued to tell him the correct words to use and he kept doing his only ARF ARF words!! Finally, a woman said, "You are using the WRONG language! She doesn't understand DOG! She only understands ENGLISH!!" hahahaha! Then, the woman said, "Gabby, tell me a story!" And Gabby gave a big ARF!!! hahahaha That was great!
Also, one of the employees fell in love with Gabby. She told me her 8 year old daughter really wants a dog. She thought Gabby would be the perfect dog for her daughter! She asked about the breed, etc.... She asked, "Can I buy her?" I explained Gabby was not for sale and that she was my dog. I told her that she could probably call the SPCA and tell them she is looking for a Lhasa Apso and if they get one, maybe they can call her. She said, "No, I want to buy THAT dog!" Many people think that since I have an SPCA name tag and Gabby has her SPCA scarf, that the dogs are available for adoption. I again explained that Gabby was MY dog and she was not for sale. She asked to take a few pictures of Gabby to show her daughter and I said that would be fine. I hope she understood that Gabby was not for sale!
Here is the picture she took of Gabby with her cell phone!
Super cute! If I were her, I would want to buy her too I guess!! hahahaha

Anyway, we stayed for about 45 minutes, gave lots of hugs and enjoyed our morning immensely!