When James and I entered her room, our new patient was in bed. She appeared to be sleeping. As we quietly approached her bedside, she opened her eyes and said, Is that James who’s come to visit me? And, so the visit began. She was in bed, she said, because she had a headache. I asked if she’d like James to come up on the bed next to her. She didn’t respond to my question… James sat by her bedside – and she was able to reach his head to pet him. I feel she doesn’t know him enough yet to have him up on her bed. She smiled as she pet his head – and started to tell me about the two dogs she and her husband had; then, started talking about growing up in the country on a farm – having a large brown and white pig, goats, and chickens. I love animals, she said, all kinds. All the while she was petting James’ head and ears.
I had expected to extend the length of our second visit to 20-25 minutes, but before we knew it, 35 minutes had gone by all the while our patient Marie telling us stories about the animals in her life. When I said that it was time for James to leave – and asked her if she’d like James to come back and visit next week, she replied by saying, James is a really nice dog. I’d really like him to come back.