Minty, TonTon and The chicks get some Retirement Home loving!

We were still setting up at the retirement home when the residents started arriving.  At one point I said to one of the nurses, wow there are a lot of people here and she said, Oh my dear, that is only one wing, there are two more  coming.  The corridors  were rippling with slow moving elderly people making their way to the hall. In wheelchairs, using walkers, helping each other along, led by laughing assistants.

In the end we must have had upwards of forty maybe fifty people in there. I never had time to count.  This is a wonderful place. There is a caring feeling here. Minty stood watching them all come in and we were not sure what we should do first.

TonTon knew though. He had been given permission to play fetch inside and he was not going to wait around for someone to change their minds.

He took his new clean rope toy and kept shoving it into laps and against quiet hands until he got a taker. 

TonTon was not on his leash anymore. He was in fine form. I just let him manage the game.  Which he did with all his usual exuberance and concentration. The volume rose. Then out came the chicks. 

Many of these women had raised poultry and were very confident. 

As the chickens did the rounds, Minty followed me around and around the room sniffing and visiting. Being petted and cooed over. But soon she got tired. And I lifted her into  the laps of the residents for a rest. 

And she went from person to person. Being loved and loved.  And stories were told. 

Anecdotes shared. This lady said she could just keep her .. just sneak her up to her room. 

But this shot says it all. Hands reaching.  All those beautiful busy hands reaching out. Minty  fell asleep soon after this shot.

TonTon played fetch with so many different people that he started catching and moving on, interchanging his play mates himself so more people got a turn. Even the smallest blindest throw was caught. We watched him try to get movement out of a man who could not move. Ton put the rope carefully into his hand, the man closed his fingers slowly around it and after some time and much concentration from both man and dog, the man was able to flick the rope every so slightly. The rope toy did not actually leave his hand. But Ton pretended it had, grabbed it as it rose up, threw it and caught it himself and returned it to the hand of the man.  Who just beamed. The old man just smiled out loud.

The worst part of our day was packing the animals and birds up and taking them away again. But we made an impromptu parade as we left, The Old Codger led in his wheelchair, piled high with chicks and boxes and babies bottles, barely able to see where he was going. And we all trundled along behind him lugging animals and assorted paraphernalia. Wonderful staff  helping. Laughing our way back out to the front door, with voices calling out to the animals as we went. And they want us back. Soon.

Good morning. I fly out today.   The chicks are already at their babysitters, the lists are written, my bag is open on the floor and I have discovered with very little surprise, that I have NOTHING TO WEAR at all!  Typical.

We have another exciting development today. Our good blog friend Misky whom many of you know, has posted an interview with me about sustainable living.  Misky is a beautiful poet with a graceful pen, a talented lady who is also a great cook. She has two blogs, one for words and one for food. What more could you want. Her interview is on her pages at Misk Cooks and I would love you to pop over and visit when you have a sec.

Now I had better get out here, feed everyone and sprinkle fairy dust over the farmy so all goes smoothly until I return.   John has everything in hand so I am confident.

I will see you tomorrow from California!! Take care. Have fun.

celi

 

 

109 Comments on “Minty, TonTon and The chicks get some Retirement Home loving!

  1. Safe ravels. I wish I was a fly on the wall to see all of this…Wonderful, wonderful interaction! You are an angel. The residents will be talking about this endlessly! The photos are so telling of the warmth.
    Jess

  2. What a special time you created for those people! I bet there’ll be more to show up next time. You’ve given them all something to look forward to. That’s one mighty gift!

    Have a wonderful visit, Celi. Safe travels!

    • Morning Bill, You are a Real Writer as compared to my fledgling efforts so I am very grateful to hear you say that.. I am hoping to finish a real story for you to read this week..It has been rolling and rolling about in my head, knocking at my eyes to get out! I will have time this afternoon.. I hope c

    • It kind of ran itself gram, I had a plan that was very swiftly kicked out the window as Minty and TonTon took over.. c

  3. Your retelling of the animals and the elderly folk has me sitting her ewith flooded eyes. I suspect that as we grow older ourselves that we feel a bit of empathy. And thanks again for the interview; it was fun. 🙂

    • The interview reads very well, largely due to the slick editing of the interviewer. Thank you for ensuring i sounded coherent!! c

  4. Your posts have infinite capacity to move me to tears: evidence of the excellence of your writing and the charm of what you write.

    I came on here to calm down, having spent the morning doing our tax return, finding the mistakes and then trying to teach Jock the whole caboodle. He asked to learn (in case anything happens to me) but his take on learning is interfering and the whole thing has stressed me out to the extent that I have stopped in mid task – unheard of for me. But your post has calmed me, so thank you.

    • Sometimes stepping away is the best way. Maybe you could make a written set of instructions for Jock. Thank you so much for you lovely words too.. c

  5. This is so beautiful it made me cry. Ton Ton is an amazing intuitive therapy dog! My mother lived in a nursing home for about three years before she died after suffering a massive stroke. I so wanted to care for her at home, but it was beyond my ability and it broke my heart that she had to be there. Even though she was in a good place with a caring staff, it was not home. So much that is tactile is lost to people when they have to be in an institution and I love seeing the pleasure on those old folks’ faces as they handled the animal babies. Thank you for doing this. You bring sunshine wherever you go and set a powerful example for the rest of us. Enjoy your trip!

    • There is only so much a person can do at home. But we always carry that guilt of not having been able to do enough. BUt we can’t and sometimes the best choice is say Help.. And i totally agree about the touching. The activity manager who i am working with at this home is fully into ‘hands on’ with the animals. He just lets things fly and sees what comes next. They are lucky to have him.. c

    • There is nothing like seeing a smile break out from the face of a quiet person.. it is certainly heart warming.. c

  6. Oh Celi, what a dog your Ton Ton is! That story did bring a little tear to my eye, I must admit. Have a wonderful time on your trip, looking forward to reading your interview with Misky.

  7. Oh, that made me cry! I was very close to my grandparents, and this reminded me so much of them. Luckily, we were able to take care of them and they didn’t have to go to a “rest” home. I couldn’t imagine it. It’s sad how easily our elders can slip through the cracks and be overlooked. But you aren’t going to let that happen and that makes me proud to know you!

    What a sweet little thing TonTon is. Some animals have such instincts it just amazes me. Heaven sent. You have been blessed with a special life, Cecelia!

    Have a safe trip! ~ April

    • Deep down TonTon just wanted someone to play with him, he was thrilled to have so many takers! Even the staff were playing, it was great! c

  8. The Old Folk will look forward to these visits I’m sure. I’m curious to hear about Minty’s first car ride with chicks and TonTon. Enjoy your weekend and come back safely to us all. Laura

    • Minty cried and cried in her box until i turned the radio OFF! then she settled down and went to sleep. And so did Ton, with some relief, a bleating lamb is the saddest sound. Ton was squished into the well on the passenger side, the only space left free in the little car, and was grateful to be able to Stand Down.. c

  9. There really should be a “Love” box and not just a “Like” box. This was magical.
    Cecil, my mom was in 3 rehap /skilled nursing facilities before she died and the loving, caring staff at the last one made all the difference in the world. To share just one sustainable moment of her experience there – her best friend was only able to visit her one time (friend’s 92 & still driving…a little), but she wore her red floppy-brim hat and a purple feather boa. As my mom recalled it to me daily, “Did I tell you that Clarice came to see me yesterday?” Those residents will retain that visit in their memories and can relive them over and over. They will sustain.
    Happy trails, Nikki

    • That is a fantastic story, her friend visiting in a hat and boa and your mother loving it so much it felt like her old friend had only just walked out the door. She remained close. That really is a beautiful story.. thank you.. c

  10. Tears are trickling down my cheeks as I write. Oh, C., what an absolute gift you gave to these old folks. I read it in your words, saw it in your photos. Those loving hands. TonTon’s ability to understand and to reach out to the man who could barely lift the rope. All this made me cry. You are a blessing, my dear. Safe travels to California and back.

  11. I seriously had my phone sitting next to my bed so that first thing when I woke up today I could read this. I so look forward to your posts Celi and this one in particular. It just warmed my heart and was a great way to start my day. Tears of joy. My great grandma was in a retirement home much like this and I remember how much she lit up at the site of the animals coming to visit. You brought such joy to these people yesterday. I love it. 🙂 Have a safe and wonderful trip to California!

    • Kristy what a fantastic thing to say, This was a lovely post to write first thing this morning too! I will have a wonderful trip, i shall wave ! Can you do something about the weather while I am gone.. it is COLD!! c

  12. What wonderful stories and photos of Minty. Ton Ton is a good and smart dog. How much joy you brought to those forty of fifty people. Bless you. So you think you can’t party in your nightgown and rubber boots? No, I guess you need high heels with that. Have fun.

    • I would travel in my boots at the drop of a hat, John is appalled when i wear them out to the store but I am comfy in my wellington boots! c

  13. I am so touched by this post. A beautiful way to bring some smiles to those in need. A win- win day from everyone. Happy and safe travels. Take Care, BAM

  14. You are enriching the lives of so many. What endearing pictures and comments. All that could never happen here as therapy regulations are so tough(gel hand sanitizer must be used by handler and animal rubbed down between individual rooms, animals must have their teeth brushed and nails clipped before each visit…it goes on and on) – sad as this is a great experience.
    My grandmother would say you are earning stars for your crown in heaven. (and being a positive role model for the next generation who will one day be taking care of us)
    (Oh, more piggy madness at my place – another heritage breed – cute in their own way…my yard is much too small!)

    • what silly regulations, these people are not in a burns unit, they are just old! i am very lucky to be able to do what i do then! c

      • exactly! Maybe their immunity systems improve by a little exposure – and by being happy. (isolation is just sad – who wants to live that way: alive, but over protected.) You are almost a Noah’s Ark…we can just change that first name.

  15. Cecilia… Speechless Granny at this end. I am balling. One simple moment of kindness… you’d think it should catch on and contaminate the entire world. Thank you.

  16. I think you had a lot of us in tears this morning, celi, including me. I wish I had been there in body as well as in spirit. Have safe travels, and wave at me if you are coming through Denver. Were I more organized I’d rush to the airport to meet you in person…

    • What a lovely thought, i was in Denver for an hour and it is very nice airport! I did not get lost at all though i did have quite a work out getting to the gate.. c

  17. What a wonderful thing for those residents. I am going to take our dogs in soon to the place where Husband is and maybe a duck or two! Have a fun weekend and I will read the interview.

  18. I love how your travelling petting zoo has grown.. what joy to see these people enjoying your animals soft fur and wet noses:) Have a wonderful trip, c… I’m off now too!.. over to Miskys, lol! xoxo

  19. I’m all smiley and happy reading this post. Simples. I think my favourite image is of the lady holding the chick with her beautiful painted nails, but I know what you mean about hands reaching out. See I told you I’m all smiley and happy. Now for the pavlova recipe!!

  20. You must have made this day most fun and special for these wonderful people – nothing brightens up a day like animals as gorgeous as yours 🙂
    Happy travelling my friend – enjoy!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  21. You are an angel! And you brought tears to my eyes with your dedication to these folks in the home. So few would do what you doing, because it is a lot of work! But there you are making the time to make the lives of these lovely folks fun for a bit, and then giving them something to look forward to… another visit on another day!
    Bless you Celi,
    ~ Lynda

  22. That is beautiful. I’d love to take just my Bengal to a nursing home here, but no one seems interested. Sort of sad. I’m so glad you do this!

  23. What a wonderful post to read, brought tears to my eyes. The people you brought joy to are going to remember that day for a hopefully long long time.

  24. Travel safe! And have a lovely weekend. That must be the oldest yell known to women, I have NOTHING to wear. 😉 What a beautiful treat for those old folks, it made my heart glad and warm just being part of the pictures. 🙂

  25. C what a wonderful thing to do for the elderly. Those pictures are awesome. I’ll bet they’ll be talking of that day for a long time to come…or at least until you come back 🙂

  26. This is truly wonderful and inspiring, to bring such joy to a place that is usually quite barren. And I’m so impressed at Tonton’s skills! He seems to be very tuned in.
    Not all the photos are loading, alas! (do you reduce the resolution of the images before posting?)

  27. When my kids were babies, I would take them to music activities at the senior’s centre. There was so much love, there. You are all kinds of wonderful for bringing those smiles and sharing them here, with us. Have a great trip, c!

  28. Wonderful as always… thank you. And, thanks for telling us about MiskCooks as well – I look forwrd to visiting that bolg regularly as well!

  29. Wonderful post – reminds me of when I took one of our goldens to an old persons hostel and the reactions from the oldies – most people love and dreadfully miss the animals that shared their lives. Thank you for beautiful photos and lovely words. Joy

  30. This was such a special post to read Celi, it brought a tear to my eye because my mother is in a nursing home in England, and I could just imagine her sitting there and getting so much enjoyment out of seeing and touching the animals. The last photo with all those gentle hands reaching out to touch Minty, says it all. You and the animals gave those dear old folks a day to remember!
    The farmy will be fine now you have sprinkled your fairy dust over it to help John!.
    Safe travels to California!

  31. You give so much joy through your generous time and sweet animals. I love the woman that must have dressed special for the event…the lovely lace that she was wearing was beautiful.

  32. What a gesture. How to transform lives, Celi. Are you sure they won’t want to move the residence onto your wee farmy? So where are the pictures of you in your wellies?

  33. How wonderful to see such reciprocity…older folk getting love from the animals, and the animals giving love in return! How wonderful! I’m so glad to see pictures of the lovely older dear ones! Welcome to California! We turned on the heat for you 🙂 Debra

  34. Hi C, what a wonderful thing you did for the people in the retirement village. That must have been a true highlight in their calendar. I’m sure they are all looking forward to you coming back. Have a great time in California xx

  35. Bravo for your gift of time, and animals, at the home. My mother takes my dog all the time while I’m at work (daily visits with my nona)…the other residents just love to see the pup. Animals and music are two joys I think all residents should be given daily. Safe travels ~

  36. Beautiful – this made me cry. Just back from the UK where I had a long conversation with a young Indian man who ran the local fish & chip shop about how sad he feels for lots of the old folk who come in for the pensioner´s special once a week and how they talk about living alone and their families don´t visit. Some cultures take care of their old folk more than others, that´s just the way it is I guess. Very sad, they all need a Celi and her animals!

  37. I got all teary reading this post. The photos are so amazing! You and your little babies made the day for those lovely old people. If there is such a thing as karma, you banked a lot that day!

  38. I didn’t get notice of this post, darn it! I did get the next one, though. This just made me smile and smile. What an angel you are, Celi. I hope when I’m old and if I’m in a retirement home, there’s someone like you and yours coming to visit me. I can’t believe how big Minty is already! What a wonderful and heart-warming post. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. Now I’ll go read Misk’s interview. Safe travels.~Betsy

    • Morning Betsy, i am enjoying the sun and my family but i am also dying to get back to my wee animals.. aren’t we funny! c

  39. That brought the tears out. The joy you bring to the old folks is multiplied by our vicarious experience of it. What a hugely intelligent and empathetic dog TonTon is. (More than a little input from his owners, I’d say.)

  40. For some reason I had tears in my eyes when reading this ( difficult through tears!). I think it is the combination of those beautiful seniors and juniors having a moment together. Wonderful!

  41. How wonderful! You said you were taking him to the old folks home in your last post. I was thinking Ton Ton doesn’t look old at all. Makes sense now. What a great way to give back.

  42. This is so beautiful, so beautiful….You made me cry dear Cecilia… You are so nice. I haven’t heard something like this day before… How you made them happy… I want to give you a big hug… what a beautiful photographs they are all saying one thing: LOVE. Thank you, with my love, nia

  43. Wow! I LOVE this! I bet you smiled for days after this experience. Thanks so much for caring!!!

  44. You brightened the lives of all the residences, they will surely remember your visit for a long, long time, beautiful photos and touching writing, thanks.

    • Morning Norma, we are going back this thursday! pop in on friday and see what happens.. who knows!

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