Wookie takes his job very seriously. He has not missed a day of work since he started going. He has an entire collection of ties (he now wears one everyday) and the staff and patients adore it. He strolls down the halls in his tie with an air of importance.
The state surveyors thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. I wasn’t expecting that response from them, but they softened like butter when they saw him interacting with the patients and staff. One of them even took me aside to ask questions about how I was able to bring him with me. She expressed a desire to do the same thing, but didn’t know how or where to start.
The patient with dementia continues to call him “Mutzy” and frequently says “I’d take that dog home with me if I could”. He has now been adopted by another patient that calls him “Shelby”. She calls for him constantly down the hall and asks for help to “find her dog”. She breathes the ultimate sigh of relief when he comes out into her view. Another patient tells me every single morning that he is “the best thing that has ever happened to this place”. She tells her daughter all about him over the phone.
I believe Wookie is a true empath. I know he absorbs my anxiety and grief, but I have now witnessed him absorb it from others. He calmly approaches them and I swear you can see the emotions being transferred over to him. He carries them well, but I can see pure exhaustion in him at the end of each day.
I worry about him and the patients when we pull out of here at some point. I know they will grieve each other and neither entity will understand “the why” behind it. The administrator has now avowed that she will never go without a dog in the facility again since watching the transformation of the staff and patients. Wookie has definitely left his mark on this place, I can only hope he will have the opportunity to continue his “important” work at the next facility.