One day in the children’s ward Lira and I walked into a room where an approximately 16 year old young man was in bed with his Mom sitting along side of him. When I asked if he would like a visit from a pet therapy dog his Mom informed me that he was hearing impaired. She signed to him asking if he would like a visit. He signed back ok in a teenager kind of way.
After I laid down a sheet Lira hopped up into bed along side of him. She snuggled in. He started signing to his mom asking me questions about Lira. His mom would translate his questions and then sign to him what I said. Although he was always looking at his mom when he was telling me what he wanted to say I would try to remember to look at him while he was communicating. I remembered years ago in a training class in the fire department that it was a courtesy to look at the person who was hearing impaired. It’s a hard thing to remember. It’s easy to look at the person signing rather than the person who is communicating through the signage.
When his mother would speak to me directly she would sign so that the young man would know what she was saying. I remember thinking what a lovely art it is. She was so expressive with her hands with emphasis on ideas and feelings. Each individual has their own creative technique. She was beautiful and graceful to watch.
The conversation was actually quite fascinating. In between engaging with me through his Mom he would pet Lira. After the initial questions about Lira he actually started talking about his father. How he goes to Europe and visits his Dad but its kind of boring over there. Then he started expressing how the divorce between his parents affected him. Mom was wonderful… not only did she speak every word that he gestured, she also acknowledged his feelings and shared the feelings with him. It seemed Lira the conduit to this special talk.
When the visit was over his mom came over to us on the other side of the bed. She gave me a warm hug and thanked Lira and I. She said this was the most he had talked in a very long time. Lira and I left feeling fortunate to be able to experience what I call “a timeless moment.” It seems that Lira shares this feeling of contentment after visits like this.
“Have a grrrreat day everybody.” Love Lira