One visit, we went to a room where there was a non-verbal gentleman. I was told by his nurses that he didn’t want any visitors. Rocky peeked his head into his room and his eyes opened wide. The recreational therapist asked if we could come in and he opened and closed his hand. Rocky walked right up to his bedside. The gentleman reached down and pet his nose and almost instantly, the largest smile painted across his face. Everyone said that was the first time in weeks they have seen him smile and acknowledge anything. We found out on our last visit that a few days later the gentleman passed away. Within the days after meeting with Rocky, the nurses said that he was much more responsive and they truly believed it was because of that visit. Rocky doesn’t know when he visits that the people we saw previously might not be there this time, but it certainly hits my heart knowing the connection they had with Rocky was a found memory in their last few days.  It isn’t just the residents that Rocky brings joy to. The staff love when Rocky visits and often are found taking ‘selfies’ with him and braiding his mane. It’s hard not to smile when you’re around him.

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Written by Samantha Breitling