Friday, July 20, 2012

Talent Show

"You've got a friend in me..... You've got a friend in me...."
Chester does a lot of firsts with Melissa. And yesterday was his FIRST TALENT SHOW.  Schreiber Pediatric was hosting their annual summer camp for kids, and Thursday was talent show day. 

I have to say .... and I am not biased in the least ..... Melissa and Chester were the stars of the show.  Paws down.   I mean, really, they were.

The gymnasium was PACKED with kids and adults.  The noise and activity were off the charts when we strolled in. Chester was attacked by countless arms, hands, fingers, wanting to touch him. When we found Melissa --- he literally climbed up into the safety of her lap, slimed her face with kisses and said, "My Melissa My Melissa My Melissa....HELP!"  That was the beginning.

Chester and I waited in the hallway and out on the grass (having last minute potty breaks before the big show) talking with Melissa's very cool little brother, Robert, about his favorite subject.....trains.

When Melissa's name was called we hurried in to take our place next to Melissa.

Peg wheeled Melissa in.  
Peg is SuperMom ---she is SuperMom.
I think she should wear a red cape with SM on it.

Peg cued the music.
 "You've got a friend in me.... You've got a friend in me...."

Chester took his spot, sitting  next to Melissa's wheel chair.

She patted her lap, "Up Chester!"

He bounced UP, paws on her lap, kisses on her face.

The crowd CHEERED.

"SIT Chester!"  She gave the hand signal for sit.  

He sat.

Melissa gave him a treat from her treat pouch :-). 


"DOWN Chester!" Melissa pointed to the ground with authority!

Down he went, like a champ.

Next SuperMom brought out the GIANT BLUE RUBBER PEANUT that Melissa uses for her floor exercises.  SM helped Melissa into her position. Melissa now looked like a very CUTE  human bridge,
 for Chester to go under and over.

I commanded --- "UNDER!" 
Chester looked at me.....  He went around.  :-) 
ha ha, funny boy.

Try again.  I handed Robert a treat.  He knelt on one side of Melissa holding the tempting yummy treat.  I was on the other side with silly Chester.

"Chester UNDER!"  He army crawled under. 


Next.... "OVER CHESTER!"

Over he bounded ~~ he soared and smiled at the crowd.  This was ridiculously FUN.

He had so much FUN he did it twice.
(Melissa was relieved he did not flatten her like a pancake -- see cub scout post)


Next talent....Melissa sat in her wheel chair and threw the ball for Chester.  And he retrieved.  You may not think this is a HUGE talent for a Golden Retriever ( I mean it's in the name, & the genes, for heaven's sake).  However,  Melissa is the one that taught Chester to retrieve. She did.  The only person he consistently retrieves for (as in brings the ball BACK) is Melissa.

My favorite part comes next. 

 (drum roll please)
Melissa stands up from her wheel chair.
 (SM is behind Melissa, just in case laughter erupts and we all lose our balance --- it happens :-) )
 Melissa balances by herself, no crutches, no walker,
 and  throws the ball for Chester. 


clap clap clap clap clap

Chester trots back to Melissa's side,
she treats him from her treat pouch that is strapped around her waste.
"Good Boy!" she says to him.

 Smiles are HUGE.

We all stand in front of the crowd.  Robert...SuperMom...Melissa...Chester....Me

Melissa and Chester take a bow together.
(I think Robert did too  ...  Little brothers like to do things like that :-)
Three Times they take a bow.


While the crowd is still roaring Chester and Melissa exit the room side by side...

"You've got a friend in me....You've got a friend in me..."

Best Talent Show ever.....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lightening Storms and Fireworks!

I almost forgot this "tail". 

A number of weeks ago as I was driving home from a Chester appointment ....I said to myself,   I need to write this down, so I don't forget. 

I forgot to write it down...and I forgot.  Don't you just hate that.  (God has such a sense of humor --- I mean, there I was visiting our dear friends who struggle terribly with Alzheimer's and Dementia and then I FORGET what I wanted to remember.  Oye.  )

I remembered.  Just now ... I remembered what I forgot.  Just now, when the thunder boomed and the lightening lit up the night sky.  I remembered. 

We were visiting Willard.  Chester was laying on the bed atop the familiar red blanket, snuggled close to his friend.  Willard stroked Chester's paws.  His head.  The golden feathery fur on his neck.  I sat in the bedside chair silently watching and enjoying the moments.  Just a typical quiet visit.

And then Willard spoke to me ever so clearly.

"Did you hear the thunder last night?"

My jaw dropped open.   "Yes!  I did!  It was so loud."

"The lightening, it was like FIREWORKS!" he said.

"Oh my, yes.   Like Fireworks."  I smiled.


 A miracle conversation....
Lighting up the whole room.

 Like Fireworks.

Don't you just love fireworks!

Mrs. UP (Mrs. Grumpness)

Mrs. Grumpness, Mrs. UP,(sounds like an oxymoron), is one of the familar faces we see each week at Willow Valley.   I call her Mrs. UP because she totally looks like the identical twin to the grumpy-round-faced-slumped-grumbling-aging-man in the movie UP (great movie bytheway)

For the past year or so, every time we visit Willow Valley and walk towards Mrs. UP, she says, "No, NO, NO, grumble, &%*#&%#*" .  I hardly get the words out to ask if she would like to pet the dog ~~ when she shakes her head and says the above stuff.  It's OK, we understand,  --- Chester keeps waggin' and I keep walking, moving on towards others in the room who can hardly wait to touch their 4-legged friend.  Though Mrs. UP resists our love and wags, we love her still. :-)

Last visit, we walked towards  Mrs. UP.

"Would you like to pet Chester?"  We kept walking.

"I'd like to pet THE DOG."



We pawsitively froze in our tracks.

Mrs. UP gently touched Chester's head. His ears.  "You are such a nice dog."

 Chester raised his eyebrows, looking up at me.  I looked down at him.  

He grinned.  I grinned.

We pawsed.  Lingered.

Don't you just love it?


Chetty to the Rescue

Chester and I lingered in one of the common living areas at Willow Valley, visiting familiar residents. Often, in this room, we see a dear married couple, Sue and Russ (names changed) who sit side by side in their wheel chairs  ... holding hands.  So sweet.   Though we are on the alzheimer's floor and memories are  fuzzy ~ there is a tenderness & connection between Russ and Sue that words can't explain. 

Over the past year and a half, Russ has come to love Chester visits.  Russ is a dog person, and whenever Chester would come into the room, he would exclaim "Chetty! Awe....Chetty's here.."  with a kazillion exclamation points. 

For the past few weeks we've missed seeing Russ, he has not been in his usual spot at 2:00 in the afternoon, watching TV with his bride.  I asked Dori (my therapist friend) about Russ, she told me he has been failing quickly and often stays in his room for longer periods. :-(

As Dori and I stood visiting about Russ, Chester stopped focusing on the residents and glared out into the hallway.  "What is it ?"  I asked him.  He glanced at me, and again stared out into the empty hallway.  Call me crazy, but he looked just like Lassie when she was trying to tell Ma or Pa that Timmy was stuck in the well.  (If you were not blessed to grow up with b&w TV, you will be completely clueless about what I just said!)  Anyways...

I followed Chester's lead into the hallway where we faced two open doors. 

I moved toward the door on the left.  "Do want to go in here?" Nope.

I moved towards the door on the right. "This room?"  Chester began to walk through the doorway.  We paused so Dori could go in first and make sure the resident was ok & ready for a 4-legged visitor.  I had no idea whose room this was.  Not a clue.

When we got the thumbs-up, Chester & I walked in together.  On the other side of the curtain, laying in the bed near the window was......   Russ?  Yes, Russ.  Our friend, Russ.  Hearing us, he turned his head, gently smiled,  and reached out his hand towards Chester,  "Chetty, you came to see me....."

Russ was having an especially hard day and it was more than clear that this dear man was "stuck in the well" ~~~  in need of some TLC,  Chetty Therapy, and some assistance  from his Aides who were unaware of his current need.   He was lonely. Confused.   Sad.  Missing his Sue.

 Chetty and I stayed by Russ's bedside while Dori retrieved the help that was needed. 

After Russ was safely "out of the well" --- Chetty pranced down the hallway to his next assignment...
And....Dori and I picked our jaws up off the floor and pondered.....