The final collar installment…for a while. Rassilon has enough collars and I am rapidly running out of money to keep buying them.
And the last 6 collars, received today.
That’s it. 36 Collars is enough. He can have something different for his next birthday.
Rassilon and I were asked to fill in at the nursing home we used to visit. We gave it up to help out someone who wanted to still do visits, but had health problems and couldn’t travel too far. So, as the nursing home was a fortnightly visit, that was perfect for them.
Well we went along today, and we still remembered the people that really enjoyed the visits and seeing Rassilon, so we went around to see the people on our list. However, there was an infection warning in the place, so we were actually given the option of visiting or not, but we went in anyway. Sick or not, people still like their visit from the dog.
Well, we went around the top level and met the people that really enjoyed Rassilon’s visits, and they remembered him, and his name, even after all the time we have been away. But the sad news came when we went downstairs.
We went to the room of the Polish woman who had not been on our original list, but saw Rassilon and really wanted to pat him, and enjoyed having a good long talk, (I always visited her last so I could spend extra time with her). The room was empty, but I knew it was bad news when I saw the bed with no sheets or blankets.
When I asked what had happened, I was told that she had passed away, and by the fact that the room was empty and the bed not made, and with the shortage of nursing home spaces, I guess it was possibly only yesterday.
This is the down side of therapy visiting aged care facilities on a regular basis and getting to know the residents. I will miss our talks together. And Rassilon will miss the blanket she always put on the floor to keep him warm.
But, in a case of one out one in, we met another resident, not on the list, but who wanted to pat Rassilon and just have a talk.
For me, when in a nursing home especially, forget the time limit, the residents are lonely and want to talk to someone. Rassilon is the ice breaker, he gets me in the room and gets them talking, and I will sit and talk with them. That is why my last 7 visits, which should have totaled 630 minutes have actually totaled 1000 minutes. I don’t think I EVER do a proper timed visit.
But it is about the people that I am visiting. I know it sounds like I am making myself sound like a hero or martyr, but having seen what it is like to be stuck in a hospital with no visitors, I feel sorry for the people we visit, and if spending time with them makes them happy, that is what Rassilon and I are there for. I am doing nothing but talking, and that is not a hard thing to do for a few extra minutes.
Wednesday again, that means hospital visit. This comes around so fast. The difference today was that Rassilon was more in tune with the needs of nurses than the patients, with close to double the amount of nurses than patients getting to pat him. And Rassilon was willing to spend time with the nurses, but it was in and out with the patients.
We also got a request to do another shift tomorrow at the nursing home. The person that was doing it is unable to do it tomorrow. We gave up that nursing home to someone else who lives quite a distance away, but had an operation on their back, so has trouble travelling long distances. Well they can’t get to the home tomorrow, but, rather than cancel the visit, Rassilon was asked to fill in.
Next week we already have 2 visits booked, but I will not be available on Thursday as I have to go to the hospital to have an examination on my hand to find out how bad it is and to arrange an operation.
But today, when we got home, Rassilon’s whoops-a-daisy birthday present was there. Because I like him to wear a new collar for each hospital visit, I ordered him 6 new collars, (yes I know I bought him 4 collars not long ago).
But I stuffed up. His birthday isn’t until next month!!
In the meantime, I received an insurance refund, (after about 4 years), so I decided that I would spent some of that money on Rassilon and get him some MORE collars for his REAL birthday, they are still getting made and sent out, that makes 6 more collars still to come. But on the bright side, that is 10 weeks hospital visiting before I start back at the beginning and then he can start to recycle his collars. After all, at about $22.00 per collar, he will need to wear his 36 collars again, several times to pay for themselves. (The plain black collar with his name embroidered on it in gold was actually $47.50).
I bought a plastic chain and some shower curtain hooks as an easy way to display all the collars. The trouble is finding somewhere long enough to hang the display. It is only the length that is the problem because the chain is really light, and all put together, it looks really good. And makes all his collars easy to see and choose.
Today Rassilon and I had an extra therapy dog visit to Immanuel College. I put in for it because Rassilon loves kids. And today was exceptional. He had an absolute ball.
We got to the school and met the person who organised the visit. He suggested we go to the Admin building and sign in. I said that I was happy to do that, but that he should not be in a hurry, because when people see Rassilon, they want to pat him which attracts more people, and forward motion slows. And…I was right. Eventually someone took Rassilon so I could go to the admin building. That was probably the last time I held his leash.
After we signed in we were taken to one of the school buildings where more people wanted to pat Rassilon, Abby and Bella. Unfortunately, while Abby and Bella were able to get into the recreation area and then into a classroom, Rassilon got stuck at the top of the stairs, where he was surrounded by people wanting to pat him, and didn’t make it any further.
After the 90 minutes were up, Abby and Bella left, but Rassilon was still getting patted, so we stayed for a bit longer until the school finished for the day. Then we had to try to get through the crowds to the Admin building to sign out. When we were in Admin, the receptionist said it would have been good if Rassilon could have gone to the boarding house.
Well, I was glared at by a lot of students, so I said we would go there. On the way I let Rassilon off his leash to have a run around the garden. Well the kids thought it was fantastic seeing him stretching out, (and even commented on how he didn’t run off the grass), they were amazed at how fast he was and how quickly he got up to speed.
Then we went into the boarding house recreation room where, you guessed, Rassilon was patted by lots of people.
But despite all these people patting him, he was so comfortable and gentle. I didn’t hear him complain or growl once, in fact, he even posed for a selfie (which in my rush, I moved a bit). I would say that as an easy estimate, Rassilon was patted by at least 100 people.
All I can say is, if they ask us to go back, which a lot of them wanted, Rassilon and I will be only too happy to go back. It was a fun day, and Rassilon got a change of scenery and people. (We do the aged care wards in the hospital). And he really enjoyed mixing with the young people for a change.
(As an afterthought, in South Australia, Greyhounds are supposed to be controlled on a leash at all times, but if you look at the photos, you will either see the leash on the ground, being held by one of the students or you will guess that, as I am taking the photo, I am not holding the leash, and Rassilon never made any attempt to run away).
I have come to the conclusion that Rassilon looks scared or nervous in photos, but he isn’t. At the school he was having a wonderful time, contrary to how the photos look.
The day started out expensive. I went to buy some new glasses, I have to have bifocals, but the main part of the lens will be almost plain, with the reading lens being the bifocal insert. As they will be used for driving, I added transition lenses that go dark in the sun. As a result, I was relieved of almost $500.00 for them.
Then I applied to join the lawn bowls club, when approved (on Monday), that will be about another $400.00. in club fees and Bowls SA fees. And even though the application hasn’t been approved yet, (but it will be), I am signed up to play a game next Saturday. The problem is, I have brand new bowls that I have NEVER rolled, and it has been 20 years since I played. (I bought the bowls and a bag, and typically, they were not cheap).
Anyway, the good bit.
The bowling club in in the area behind the football oval, so as I was driving out, I stopped and took a big gamble. I let Rassilon out the car with no leash and easy access to 2 busy roads, so he could have a run on the big oval.
I took him onto the oval and let him stretch his legs, which he did and enjoyed to the max, even wanting to play and have me chase him.BUT THEN…he ran under the fence away from the oval.
Now, this is the fantastic bit. He had his exercise, the ducked under the fence and went up to the car and stood there for me to catch up and let him in. He DID NOT run away, he just went to where he was comfortable.
I was so proud of him right them. He had the perfect chance to run away, but prefered just to go to the car.
Rassilon just keeps making me proud of him. When we go to the college next week, he may be allowed off his leash, as we will be with Abby and Bella again, 2 dogs he knows and gets on with.
It was busy for Rassilon this week as a therapy dog. It was good for me too. I went to the doctor and have been booked in to have some horrible steroid injections to fix up my sore foot and sore shoulder, plus I have been booked in for a sleep apnea test. This was noticed by the anaesthetist when I had my eyes done, but the last few nights have been, sleep for an hour, wake up for an hour.
I had to have a government assessment done regarding my ability to look for work, but they have given me a medical exemption, due to all the different things that are going wrong with me (and my age). BUT, that means I am free to do the therapy visiting, so, rather than being ‘unemployed’ or a ‘dole bludger’, I can now use the title of Therapy Dog Handler as my occupation.
And Rassilon is the Therapy Dog who earned his money this week. We had 3 visits. Wednesday at the hospital, Thursday at the University and today at the Unley Community Centre. 3 completely different visits, but each one was good fun.
I think the visit to the university was the most enjoyable for Rassilon because we had company. Another handler brought her dogs along. 2 Maltese terriers. She left them on the leash, but let the leash go, so the dogs could run around. Unfortunately, if I did that, Rassilon, being so much taller, would keep tripping over his leash. So…I took his leash off, and he…did nothing. He didn’t run away, he was just free to walk around and go up to the students and get patted, which he did.
Today we went to Unley. I left early so I could have lunch at the centre before the visit, then I went and got Rassilon out the car and took him back to the community centre, so he could meet the other people that were having their lunch as they came out of the dining room. He was having a wonderful time.
And when the main crowd had left and there were just a few people in the centre, I again let him off his leash, so he went around to say hello, but didn’t go near the door. He is getting SO GOOD. He even had a run at the hospital on Wednesday when I let him off his leash in the garden.
But today, his upcoming birthday present arrived. I like to try to have him wear a different collar every week when we go to the hospital, so today his birthday present of 4 new collars arrived from Dogs 2 Hounds, so he will be good for a little while longer.
We have 4 more visits this month, then next month the R.E.A.D. program starts at Goodwood library (Next month is the start of the financial year). So I am looking forward to that. Not for me, I don’t really like kids, but for Rassilon, who loves kids.
So we will wait and see what the future brings. R.E.A.D and more therapy visits.
(R.E.A.D. = Reading Education Assistance Dog)
Click on the picture of the READING dog for more details.