Reality, TV

Sponsored by Memorable Pets

Use code RWONDER for free shipping (up to $50 of shipping costs) on your next order! Click the Memorable Pets logo here to start saving.

Dorothy sat in front of the television with a few other residents. The entire group was slouched in their respective wheelchairs, sleeping, oblivious to the world around them. 

Dorothy’s eyes were closed, but the TV was on and the volume up loud. She wasn’t paying attention to the screen at all. To make matters worse, this was the first thing that visitors to the floor saw when they walked in. 

The sight looked like a stereotypical dementia unit—people zonked out, unfazed by the world around them—and I hated it.

We had just set up our “Pet Shop” with two pets generously donated to me by Memorable Pets. The Pet Shop was down the hall, and I wanted to see what would happen if we started moving residents there.

I went to Dorothy’s wheelchair and crouched down by her side, gently touching her arm. She woke up and I told her that we were going to go down the hallway. 

As soon as we arrived in the Pet Shop area, Dorothy’s eyes grew wider. I chose the dog from the table and offered it to her. “Will he bite?” Dorothy asked, extending her hands to him. “No, I promise he won’t bite,” I smiled back. 

She took the dog in her arms and put him on her lap. Instead of sleeping in front of the TV, Dorothy was awake and present, gently stroking the dog’s fur. She stayed in the room, happily petting her new friend, until it was time for lunch.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

rachael photo

Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

16 things poster