Chris snapped around and said to her, "Gail, P.C.'s a dog not a cup of sugar; people don't go around borrowing dogs."
Gail then told Chris the story of her mother, Molly. It seems that Molly was living back East, by herself. She started having falls and started forgetting things (like turning off the stove). Gail's sister and brother, who lived back there, decided it was time for Mom to go into an assisted living home. Molly didn't want to go; she wanted to live with Gail's sister, but Gail's sister worked and had no way to take care of her.
Into the home she went. It was a very nice home with a lot of wonderful people Molly's age, but Molly wasn't buying. She immediately went into severe depression. She became very difficult and even had to be helped to eat. When Gail's brother and sister visited, Molly would not respond to them.
They tried all kinds of doctors and therapists, but Molly was as responsive as a rock.
Finally, in desperation, Gail went back east and brought her mother home with her.
"Chris, she doesn't talk, she just sits there. I've heard about depressed people responding to animals and I thought P.C. might help."
Chris took Gail's hand, "Okay let's give it a try, P.C.'s a nutty dog; he can get anybody going."
Chris, Gail and I got into the car and drove to Gail's place. I had been there lots of times. Gail has llamas, but no dogs. Llamas spit.
We went into the house to the back bedroom. This was a very cheerful room in yellows and whites with lots of sunlight streaming in. The room smelled strange.
"Mother, I want you to meet P.C., he came over to visit. P.C., this is Molly, my mom."
Gail's mom, Molly, was sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around her legs. Molly was staring at the wall. I walk over and sniffed her. The strange smell was coming from Molly.
My senses told me that Molly was trying to tell me something. I finally got it: Molly was asking for help. I put my tail in the high position and started wagging it to show that I was friendly. Then I pricked my ears forward to show her that I was interested in her. She didn't move.
I walked over and licked her on the nose--everyone responds to that. Molly didn't move, but she was following me with her eyes.
I squatted down in front, raised my back end and wagged my tail to show her I wanted to play, but Molly didn't want to play.
In desperation, I did something I don't usually do with new acquaintances: I put one paw on her lap, wagged my tail and woofed gently.
Molly moved for the first time. She very politely picked up my paw and placed it back on the carpet.
On the way home in the car, Chris remarked to Gail, "I guess P.C. didn't get much of a response out of your mother, either."
"Oh, no, Chris," Gail replied enthusiastically, "that was about the only response she's made since we've had her home. Please, let me borrow P.C. again."
Sure enough, the following Sunday, I was back in the car on the way to Gail's place. Gail told Chris that, on the advice of her doctor, she had more than doubled the amount of water that she was having her mother drink. The doctor suspected that, along with everything else, Molly was dehydrated.
"Mom's still not talking but she seems to be listening when I talk and she acts like she's feeling better."
When I came in, Molly was sitting in a chair, staring out the window. She smelled better also. As soon as she saw me, she snapped around and followed me as I crossed the room. I put my head in her lap. I nudged her hand with my nose--everyone knows that means "pet me." Molly said, "P.C."
Gail almost screamed. "Yes, Mom, P.C.'s come to visit you again." Molly started to pet my head. I wagged my tail and licked her chin and wiggled all over. She continued to pat my head.
I put my paw in her lap. She picked it up but didn't put it on the floor this time. Instead, she shook it like people shake hands. Then she said, "P.C., thank you for coming to see me again."
I heard Gail telling Chris that these were the first words her mother had spoken since she had been home. Molly stared directly into my eyes, an action that dogs interpret as a challenge, but I knew that Molly wasn't challenging me--she was just really seeing me for the first time.
Now I go over there often. These days, Molly acts just like other people. She is really very nice and likes to take me for walks along the river. I feel lucky to have a friend like Molly.
Actually, people are the best friends dogs have. People don't try to judge dogs, they just try to understand them. People don’t care if a dog is young or old, black, brown or white, fat or skinny--if they like dogs, they like them all. The best part is that people are extravagant in their appreciation whenever a dog does something that pleases them. Dogs love this.
I can't help wondering what would happen if people were as loving and understanding with each other as they are with dogs.
Keep it waggin'