Are you wondering what it is like to be out visiting with Lily? It is a humbling experience, and every time we go out with Lily, we are amazed by the work she does, and how it benefits the people we visit. And, how we are personally changed by these visits.
We are honored to continue Lily’s work in 2016, and it is full of excitement, joy, and wondering about what the new year will bring. Lily and her team will be out seeking the lonely, the sick, and anyone needing comfort. We will continue with our regular weekly visits to all our friends, but we will be on the lookout for new friends.
So what is it really like to be with Lily on her visits? What it is like to enter a hospital, a skilled nursing facility, or even a funeral? What do you say? How do you enter a room where people are suffering or are lonely, depressed, confused?
Well, you take a deep breath and Lily takes over. We start by asking if anyone would like to pet the dog. This is all one needs to do. Lily does the rest. Having a partner with you is helpful, too, because often a handler is busy watching out for Lily, and the partner can see who might be interested in seeing the dog. You can tell who is interested by the look of sheer delight on their face.
Once someone is petting Lily, we stop talking and we listen. People will say things that are on their mind. Some talk about the pets they used to have at home. What a loss for them to have to leave their pets once they come to a facility. Some cry when they see Lily because they are remembering their own pets. I always ask what their pet’s name was. This usually gets them talking about themselves a bit. I have met many pets through our visits: Patch, Owen, Tommy, Sammy, King, and Mitzie, to name a few.
But, when I close my eyes after a visit, I remember the smiles on so many faces when Lily enters the room. There are only a few people we visit that don’t like animals, and ask not to get Lily near them. But, I noticed that in the last few months, some of those people are starting to soften and I can at least have Lily near them. And I still get to visit with them without them petting Lily.
And Lily takes all this in. She looks at her friends, and lets them love on her. She goes to everyone, and she snuggles. And she smiles…a big, big smile for all her friends. This is what a day is like with Lily.
When going out with Lily, I’m reminded of her Bible verse, which is 1 Thessalonians 1:3
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a perfect verse for Lily.
Are you a Comfort Dog Handler, or have you been visited by a Comfort Dog? Please share your experience in the comments, below. We would love to hear from you.