A pet therapy visit to the adult day care center has a range in audience today from those who can’t pet her enough to one who sits behind a couch, using it as a protective shield. After a pleading look to the one behind the couch, she turns to the others and begins to make her connections: A wheelchair guest squeals with delight as Melina bows to him; a juggler successfully pets Melina while holding cups of goldfish in both hands; a former cheerleader encourages Melina to do multiple commands – simultaneously.
At 70 pounds she may be just a few short of some of these guests. Intimidating as that may be to many of them, they can’t help but be drawn to those eyes that comfort – even from a distance. While some understand her gentle size and move just in time for her to sit at their feet rather than on them, others urge her to come up into their lap. I appreciate her discernment. She goes into her performance mode, appreciating the thrill of the cheer from her fan club.
As our time winds down, we say our goodbyes and assure them of our return. We make our way toward the door to leave, and as we pass the “shielding” couch, I see a hand reach over just in time for an adventurous touch.