A Day in the Life of Santa Teresita…Our Neighborhood of Care
Ever see an elderly person who rarely smiles, suddenly brighten up and almost start laughing? All the creases on their sun worn faces crinkle and seem to soften as they reach out their hands to a large ball of fur coming eagerly towards them.
I remember one resident who could no longer speak clearly. This inability to communicate through words was distressing for her and she would cling to my sleeve and look imploringly at me while she tried to tell me how she felt. I never saw her smile until the day we placed a visiting puppy in her arms. A wide smile broke across her face as she stroked his fur and scratched his ears. When the puppy responded with happy wriggles and began to lick her face, she started to giggle and then to laugh.
This is a glimpse of the joy of the Pet Therapy program at Santa Teresita. Blessed beyond blessed are our residents to be regularly visited by three beautiful, well trained Alaskan huskies and at other times by bunnies, horses, llamas, kittens, small puppies, and even a talking parrot!
The encounter between animal and person can be a healing moment, beyond words, beyond pain. There is a language of genuine care exchanged that is restorative and at the same time spontaneous and joyful!