Sunday, October 24, 2010

NIKKI goes to preschool

NIKKI visited the preschool this week to meet some of the kids she will be working with this year. We visited 4 classrooms for a meet and greet session. NIKKI showed off some of her tricks and gave each student a high five or a shake. It is always so neat to see the reactions of these little 3 and 4 year olds. I will let some of the pictures speak for themselves....
This little boy could not wait for NIKKI's visit. He has been asking me to bring "my puppy" for weeks. When I told him that morning that I had her with me but that she would have to wait until they had finished breakfast he immediately said "I'm done" and wrapped up his breakfast to throw away.

Such concentration...

This has got to be my favorite picture of all time! This little girl doesn't talk but she sure says a whole lot with her facial expressions.

On the calendar for the upcoming week...Sam! Sam is NIKKI's favorite playground buddy.
I will keep you posted! Sam almost always gives me something to blog about!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Graditude and humility

September has been a long and lazy month for NIKKI. Work remained scarce since the first month back to school is filled with getting the classrooms settled and routines established. There is hardly time for a visit from a dog so NIKKI's life of leisure continued. Here is what NIKKI did for the month of September....

Many days were spent having stare downs with rabbits in our backyard. If you look really closely at the top of this picture you can see a rabbit sitting on the edge of the grass. She does not chase the rabbits but will just stare at them. They must know she won't chase them as they never move when she is in the yard. It is difficult to get her attention when she is staring at a rabbit. I am the one that ends up chasing the rabbit out of the yard! She will often look at me as if to say "Hey! What did you do that for?"

NIKKI's other favorite thing is to lay on my bed. My husband, Mark, gave her permission to do this and now she thinks this is her rightful place. When we are in the room she will look forlornly up onto the bed begging to be invited up but often when we are not looking she will make her way up there without an invitation. This picture below is one of those occasions.....

NIKKI has is quite the assertive dog. She was top dog immediately (poor Watson) and she quickly moved up the status ladder in the rest of the family. She rarely takes no for an answer and usually gets what she wants. Now I must say she is very polite, sweet and gentle. You hardly realize she has manipulated you until you have done what she wants. And her persistence for petting has also payed off for her.

The good news is that NIKKI went back to school this week! We got to visit Candace's old classroom that is now Tara's classroom. She seemed at ease in the class and resumed her typical routine. And she did not forget Ms. Flossie who quietly slips her a little peanut butter every now and again!

But it is today's story that I really want to tell. Today, was our monthly visit to the hospital. I was running late and must admit that I wasn't too sure I wanted to go. But we went and I am so glad we did! We made our rounds on the pediatric wing visiting the kids. One little girl yelled "Nikki!" when her door opened for our visit. Apparently, she had been in the hospital before and saw NIKKI then. She remembered all of NIKKI's tricks and couldn't wait to put her up on the bed. NIKKI also provided some love to some weary parents who were keeping vigil at the hospital with their sick babies. It is nice when we can provide a little distraction during a rough time. And might I add that NIKKI really likes this adult attention. She typically moves herself into position to get the petting right where she wants it! (This is when that persistence for petting pays off for her!)

As we were leaving the pediatric wing we ran into a family who had just left the one of the critical care units. You could see the stress in their eyes. The mom asked if I could take NIKKI into the unit to visit her adult son who had been critically ill for several weeks. She said he had recently lost his beloved dog and knew that seeing NIKKI would make his day. Wow. What an experience. This is one of those situations that I am not sure who got more out of our visit - me or the patient! We set up a few chairs for NIKKI to get up on so she was closer to the bed. NIKKI was wonderful! She didn't hesitate one bit. She jumped up onto the chairs and stood patiently allowing all the time this family needed. She showed no sign of distress with the machines or all the people. She just amazed me. To see this very sick man smile and reach for her with such great effort just humbled me. When we left the room the mom began to cry and thanked us for our time and patience. She knew it meant so much for her son to see NIKKI. It is these opportunities that I am so grateful to the patients and the families for allowing me to share just a small piece of their lives.

Kyria sure had this right when she started p4p way back when. Visiting patients with a dog really does make a difference. I am a better person for this wonderful job that has been bestowed on me. I am so humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to work with p4p, NIKKI and so many patients and their families. I think its time for me to end this blog here....I feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes...again!