Out of the blue on Friday, I got this email:
I am writing to ask whether you and your Pet Partner would be willing to come in to visit residents at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham.
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham provides both short-term rehabilitation and long-term care to a total of 268 elderly residents. Our facility has been open for a little more than a year, and as the Volunteer Coordinator, one of my highest priorities is to bring in canine-human volunteer teams. We are a dog-friendly facility, and the presence of animals here would truly enhance the quality of life for many of our residents.
Wow, right? I’ve been wondering how we were going to break into the therapy thing. After Jacoby’s escalator incident, and then the holidays, therapy visits have been on the back burner. So to get this email out of nowhere was pretty awesome. There was just one tiny little word that worried me… So I responded:
There are just two things…
One, I don’t have a dog. My partner is an Abyssinian cat named Jacoby (Jake). He’s very interactive, loves people, and isn’t afraid of very much at all. He loves meeting people and would be great in your situation. If you check my blog (address below), you will see photos of him out on adventures with me.
So, if you don’t mind a feline-volunteer team, we’d love to come in!
Second, I don’t drive…but I assume you’re T accesible?
Luckily, the answer was quick and positive!
I would LOVE to have you and Jake come…I had assumed he was a dog because I haven’t heard of two many cats doing this type of work. I have two cats myself, and they are a little too high-strung. I think our residents would absolutely love it!
If you take the Orange Line to the Forest Hills T station, we have a
shuttle that picks people up on a regular schedule and brings them back to our facility. We are not right on a T line, but lots of the employees and some of the volunteers travel here that way. Is that doable for you?
I’d love to meet with you at a time that works for you.
After a game of phone tag and an actual conversation, Jake and I will be going on a visit to the center on Monday afternoon. I am excited and yes, a little nervous. This is going to be a big week for me and Jake, both as partners and individually.