You know that black cat that we met at the NW Pet and Companion Fair? The one I mentioned in my last post? Well, today she came to H. to see what I do! Mommy invited her and her person, Chris, to come along with us and see how we work. The kitty's name is Blackbird!
We got to H. before Blackbird and Chris did, so Mommy told the receptionists that they would be coming. Chris had to get a sticker nametag instead of the pin nametag that Mommy has, because it was their first time there. Actually, it was Blackbird's first time visiting at an assisted-living facility at all! She got down off Chris' shoulder (where she likes to ride) and checked out my carrier bag, but she didn't come over to sniff me. Strange! I want to be friends with her, but I'm not sure if she likes me. We hung out on the floor while our people talked and friends stopped by to say hi and pet us. Mommy let Chris know what the routine was and what to expect.
Then, we started off! I really showed off for the new people! I walked over and showed them where the door to the office was, then walked in and showed them where S.'s office was. They got introduced to S., who is our supervisor, and she told them a little about H. and asked Chris some questions about Blackbird (who was riding on his shoulder again).
S. walked with us most of the time when we were visiting. Blackbird's eyes got very wide when we stepped off the elevator onto our visiting floor! I didn't flinch a bit, of course. I know my routine very well. I was surprised that Blackbird was nervous, but I guess I was nervous the first few times I went visiting, too. It was so long ago (about 5 years), that I really don't remember the specifics. Mommy and S. say I was nervous for about the first three times, though, so I guess it makes sense that Blackbird would be. She's about the same age I was when I started actually visiting. She's 3 1/2 years old.
There were a group of ladies talking by the couch in the hallway, so we stopped there and visited with them. They got introduced to Blackbird, who wanted to stay on Chris' shoulder and arm but let them pet her. After a few minutes, the ladies had to go, so we went to visit more friends. When we went into the individual rooms, I showed Blackbird the proper way to behave. I hopped up on laps, beds, and walked in on my own (with Mommy holding the leash, of course). Blackbird stayed on her perch and got petted, but a couple times she got to sit with people and once she got to lie on a table. She liked the table!
She didn't like sharing the spotlight, however. She was counting how many pets I got and how many she got, and she started getting jealous. She hissed at me! At one point, she was too much of a distraction, with her hissing and Chris telling her "NO", so Mommy had them go out in the hallway to wait and watch from there until Blackbird calmed down. After that, she went back to observing me and learning how to visit. When she hissed, I gave her the stink-eye, because she wasn't behaving properly. I know if I tried that, I would get taken home right away! Blackbird will learn, but it will take her a while.
S. and Mommy agreed that it would be better if Chris and Blackbird visit separately from Mommy and me for a while. If we do visit on the same day, we'll start at opposite ends of the hallway and each visit with the same people at different times. That way, she'll learn how to interact with people without worrying what I'm doing. Chris and Mommy can try to socialize us away from H., so that the residents won't get worried about Blackbird hissing at me. They won't try to socialize us to each other at H., though, because that's not good for the residents.
All in all, Blackbird passed the test to start training for therapy cat work, but she just needs to get over her hissing. Great job, Blackbird and Chris!
After we got done visiting, Mommy took me to Columbia Sportswear in downtown Portland. They were having a promotion for the Doggie Dash, which is coming up next month! Mommy got some socks for 20% off, and I got to meet some people from the Oregon Humane Society. Oh, and I got to ride in another elevator and lots of pets from the people who work there!