Yesterday, Day 27, we went to visit a local assisted living facility where my parents lead a Bible study every week. This week, for the first time, we took our dog Coqui, and he was quite a hit! As soon as we walked into the room with him, the elderly folks sitting in rows along the walls all seemed to lean forward at the same moment, their faces coming alive, as they exclaimed about the new visitor!
It was special to watch Dennis, an elderly gentleman who is not able to speak, as he interacted with the dog. His fingers twined into Coqui’s fur as he gently fondled him and gave him a cookie, and there was a gleam of a smile in his often sad face. Coqui seemed relax and enjoy his quiet, silent stroking, and I wonder if perhaps Dennis knew that here was a creature with whom he could communicate, words or no words.
The climax came when we were singing some hymns. One of the staff members pointed out joyfully that Dennis was singing—for the first time that she had ever seen him sing! I don’t know, of course, if the doggy therapy somehow flipped some switch in Dennis’s brain that allowed him to sing. But I thought it was beautiful how God has ways of communicating love and joy to people, even through a furry creature with a sloppy warm tongue. =)