I knew that visiting people in rehab and nursing homes would be an interesting and rewarding experience, but I wasn't prepared for the joy we all experience as we make our way around a hall or gathering
Dover, of course, loves the attention. He knows when I put a neckerchief on him that life will be getting interesting.
The people we visit are delighted, and will tell us about their dogs and remember days when the dog was always by their sides.
I am extremely moved by people's hands on Dover's head. Tentative hands, enthusiastic hands, playful hands, longing hands, quiet hands. One hand, two hands, a pat on the top, or a ruffle around the ears. Once a man in a wheel chair saw us as we were leaving after a visit and he came tearing down a side hallway - calling out at top voice: "Stop! I want to pet that dog!" Sometimes, when I ask, "Would you like to pet Dover?" a woman might look away, and then her hand will move tentatively towards him, as she reaches quietly and tremblingly to touch his soft fur.