Tabby writes (from Friday):
Lovely day; bright and sunny and kinda warm! It's the first time I didn't need my jacket since last fall! There are all kinds of smells in the air from the plants blooming, and birds singing and flying. We walked through the park on the way to H. and people were sitting on the benches enjoying the sun. I got petted by one of Mommy's friends who asks for money in the park. He was a customer when she worked at a grocery store around there, so now she talks with him for a bit when she sees him in the park.
At H., we knew something was different the moment we got to the parking lot. There was a big trailer building there, that Mommy says is a health cliinic on wheels. She thought maybe the people at H. were getting their blood pressure checked and things like that. We went inside the regular building, and there was a health fair going on! Tables were set up along the sides of the lobby and the hallways, and people were at the displays talking. R. said we could sign in and go see the tables before our visit. We got Mommy's nametag and signed me in (I have my own sign-in sheet with my name on it), put our bags (my carrier and Mommy's bag) in the office, and went back out into the hallway. I wanted to go back into the office because I didn't know what was going on in the hallway. I wasn't scared, just a bit startled, so Mommy picked me up and held me. We stood for a few minutes, looking and listening to everything going on, so that I could get used to the disruption of my regular routine.
Some of my friends came walking by us and greeted me, so I felt better about what was going on. After a few minutes, I wanted back in the stroller again, so Mommy let me sit in it. Then we started going around to the tables so Mommy could see what there was to see.
The first table we stopped at didn't have anything on it, but it had two ladies sitting at either end of it. They had papers, and were there to talk about what was on their paper, but didn't have a formal display. One of the ladies petted me, then kind of laughed. She told us, "I was going to make a joke about the cat when I saw you over there, but then I thought better of it and figured that she must be here for a purpose." Mommy said yes, then explained about my therapy work. She and I answered a lot of questions from that lady, demonstrating how I ask for petting by putting my paw up, and demonstrating how I am so calm with everything that goes on around me. While we were talking, residents walked by and stopped to greet me by name and pet me.
As we made our way down the hallway, we saw two ladies at another table with a display waving to us and calling us over to their table. Puzzled, Mommy wheeled me over. It turns out they were from DoveLewis Animal Hospital, and had a booth about their planned giving/legacy fund (designating their nonprofit in a will). DoveLewis also has an animal-assisted therapy program, and Oddard the dog (who visits the weeks we don't) is part of their program. The ladies had just been talking about therapy animals, and were wondering if there were ever cat teams. They had just decided that cats wouldn't do well in this situations, then we appeared! So, of course, we answered a lot of questions from them and I got lots of petting from them too! Mommy explained that originally we'd wanted to go through their group, and had trained using the Delta Society manual (the same one they use), but that I didn't qualify for the DoveLewis program. So that's why my certification is going to be through the therapy animal program at SARA instead. They thought that was wonderful that there was some place I could get certified, because they know how important my work is and could see that I am well-qualified for it. Afterwards, they told the assistant wellness director that they loved talking with us and meeting me, and were so glad that there was a therapy cat who visited there!
We talked with a couple other people and looked at quilts, therapeutic gardening programs, medical alert systems, and chocolates (looked, not tasted, as chocolate is toxic for me and the ones offered as samples had peanuts, which Mommy is allergic to). Then we went up to visit with my friends.
I was in a semi-silly mood, because of all the excitement. I didn't want to sit on laps, but loved being on everyone's beds kneading their blankets. There was a new nurse on the floor, and one of the other nurses introduced me to her, then told us that one of the people I used to visit with, who had gone back to her real home (she was recuperating at H. under doctor's orders instead of as a resident), had absolutely loved visiting with me. Mommy smiled and nodded, and the nurse looked a little surprised that we remembered exactly who that was! We remember all of our friends there.
My friend M., who now has a room of her own, was using the bathroom when we got to her room. She was the last one we visited for the day, but we didn't want to pass her by, so we waited outside in the hallway until she was out. She was so glad to see me as usual, and even remembered that it had been a long time since I'd been there! I was so happy to see her, too! She was standing up, using her walker, and I walked around it and her the whole time until she got over to her chair. Instead of sitting in the chair, she offered it to me, so I hopped up there so she could pet me better. She talked to me and I listened, then she talked with Mommy, too. I got down off the chair and went around M.'s feet and walker some more, so she bent down with one hand still on the walker to pet me. I hopped up on my hind feet so that she could pet the top of my head! They both were sooooo proud of me for doing that, so that M. could pet me more easily! I did that a few times, alternating with going around feet and walker, then hopped onto the chair again. I wanted to get up on the little tray table, so M. picked up her lipstick container from there so I wouldn't knock it down. I sniffed a stuffed kangaroo puppet that was new since the last time I was there, then headed toward a flower. Mommy scooped me up and held me, since she didn't want me eating the flower! M. and she laughed at that, and I wasn't really bummed because I was getting cuddled and petted.