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Missy visits Lexington

Missy let Audrey love on her, talk to her and shared her entire being with Audrey.
Melissa L. Stoneburner

Therapy dogs are simply wonderful! Each time they are around, it is evident that they spread love and peace as they go.

Yesterday bore no exception as one therapy dog, Missy, visited the residents rehabilitating at Lexington Health located on Finley Road in Lombard, Illinois. Missy visits several times each week; daily if she can.

Missy is a nine-year-old Collie. She is kind and gentle and just seems to know that her place in this life is to provide love and comfort to people longing for those qualities.

She is a perfect therapy dog because she takes her time going from person to person, allowing them to pet her, talk to her, and love on her. The temporary residents at Lexington, in turn, get to experience the love that can only be provided by a dog.

Watching as each person in turn reached out, petted Missy, told her secrets, and thanked her for coming back again to visit them, my heart swelled. As we age, we regress. So, just as a child loves to have animal companions, so, too, do elderly individuals. In fact, it is proven that dogs can extend our lives simply because they help to lower our blood pressure, keep us calm and help us not to ever feel abandoned or alone. Besides that, dogs truly listen. They don’t talk back and they keep our secrets to the grave.

Many people are experiencing the benefits of adopting rescue dogs. So, too, are they seeing to it that these dogs meet their full potential. Missy, for example, was a rescue dog turned therapy dog. Just because they were abandoned by some individual or individuals, does not mean that they do not have great potential. Missy’s owner/handler saw that potential and thus people are benefitting from her great insight.

Therapy dogs get trained when they are typically young. It takes almost two years of training to get the dogs used to different scenarios, different people and different situations. When you see a dog in a place that you typically would not expect them to be, a rehabilitation center, a nursing home, or a hospital, and the dog is not wearing a vest, it typically indicates that the dog is a therapy dog. They are present for the simple task of being petted, touched, hugged and loved on. These dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance to many strangers. This is what sets them apart from other dogs. It has been said that a simple touch of a therapy dog is enough to alleviate death anxiety in a hospice patient.

Although the patient’s at Lexington are simply there to recover from an illness or physical setback of one variety or another, it was evident that the vast majority of them looked forward to the simple pleasure of a dog being in their midst. Missy is the perfect therapy dog to give these individuals that little taste for home that they crave!

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