Max Retriever’s first day at work!

“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
    all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
    Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
    until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
    I will carry you along and save you.

Isaiah 46:3-4
– Max with Anna at Cadence Living

Monday morning dawned bright and cool, my background check finally cleared (I’m sure that was “touch and go”), Max apparently passed all his requirements, and we made our way to “Cadence Living” for his first “test run” as a volunteer therapy dog.

The morning was, I am happy to report, an unqualified success.

We were invited by our friend Anna Krussow, who was recently hired as the facility’s “Resident Lifestyle Director”. Anna and Max became instant besties and we spent the next hour doing what Max does best: meeting and greeting his adoring public.

At first Max was overwhelmed with all the new smells and people and opportunities to explore. But he soon settled down, waited for my cue, and did not approach anyone unless they first said, “Okay.”

– Max practicing with my mum

First, we visited with a group of residents gathered in a lounge. Almost everyone was eager to interact and those who were nervous at first soon changed their minds. Then we went room-to-room to see a few folk who were either bedridden or preferred a one-on-one.

Next Anna took us through to the Memory Unit, where residents need a little more help with day-to-day activities. Again, Max received, and enjoyed, love and attention from almost every person there.

One woman, a staff member, said she was very uncomfortable around dogs. We steered clear; but I did tell her that if she was open to changing her mind, then Max was absolutely the dog for the job.

– from the Cadence Newsletter

The best was seeing the smiles we left behind. Max obviously brightened a few days and if we can do that every time then this is absolutely a success. He also left a lot of dog hair, but there is nothing we can do about that!

Other than Anna, I don’t have any pictures of Max with his new friends. But my mum is always willing to demonstrate, and – of course – help him to practice every day.

Peace and blessings – always – DEREK

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