Henry the therapy dog visits the local nursing home with handler Emma Risinger. At the home a certain lady with advanced Alzheimer’s disease no longer talks, opens her eyes, or responds. She is no longer able to do anything but suck on her fingers. Henry has tried to visit her countless times before, without success; but this visit was different. Henry sat on the chair next to hers and put his paw on top of her hand, and watched her hopefully. When that didn’t help, he leaned in closer and put both paws on her hand. He stayed there for a while, paws on her hand, gazing up at her, waiting for her to notice him.
I was finally about to tell him it was time to go, when, to everyone’s amazement, the lady opened her eyes. Shockingly, she pulled her fingers out of her mouth, looked at Henry, and started petting his paws. The staff stared in amazement as she petted Henry and even babbled to him for a moment or two. Eventually she retreated within herself again, but not before a miracle had taken place, and she, even if only for a moment, was able to be herself again. It was truly a beautiful thing.
I don’t know how Henry knew to be so persistent that time, but everyone is glad that he was!
Written by Emma Risinger