Llamas

More is coming, I promise – the grand reveal explaining what the tepee is all about and perhaps even a little investigation into its etymology.

For now, I will focus on Llamas.

Not the Tibetan kind (single ‘l’), rather the South American variety.

Those who spit.

Sometimes.

Earlier today, I wrote about my recent talk which focused on the fundamental importance of happiness at work – without which care isn’t really care, it is process, drudgery.

An element of happiness, or, rather, a route to it is through animals.

The connection for me, at least, with dogs is the strongest that exists. We have co-evolved to be so dependent on one another, I can’t understand how someone can say they are ‘whole’ without a canine companion.

My dog is able to stare into my eyes and convey understanding that is deeper than words.

And from the company my hound Maisie provides me, to those in hospital.

There has been a recent movement of ‘PAT’ this stands for pets as therapy. It is realising the benefit that animals can bring to people who are poorly, or perhaps not even sick, just unfortunate enough not to have ready access to a cat, dog or cockatiel of their own.

In my lecture I showed a short film of a nursing home in Nashoba Valley, Massachusetts, USA where llamas have been brought-in to meet the residents; to assist in therapy, to bridge the gaps in communication that are sometimes destroyed by age and disease.

You can see the film here.

I don’t know much about the physiology of llamas and in particular their continence; I guess a few grassy pellets on the nursing home floor are neither here nor there; they have chickens and the occasional dog.

My old ward in Doncaster has its own dog and cat. They have been adopted as members of the team.

You see, the bonds are deep.

The barriers can be just as great.

No cats or dog allowed.

Allergies and disease.

To my knowledge, apart from rabies, there aren’t many infections you can catch off dogs (OK I won’t go in to worms and those who are immunocompromised, for whom there might be issues), but, when you look at the population in our country at least who are either resident in care home or temporarily passing through hospital or respite care, matters of immune response are not usually high.

What affects older people?

Loneliness (more on that later), pain, fear, depression, fatigue; Sure, yes, I know, most older people (whatever you determine an older person to be) at least in the UK are often happier than us young souls who have decades of uncertainty ahead – social and economic let alone environmental, yet, if you happen to be one of those older people who has fallen, developed an infection, pneumonia or sepsis, the friendly gaze of a dog might just make all the difference.

Certainly, better than antibiotics for the urine infection that you don’t have! (Please see earlier blogs…)

Let’s loosen-up.

Nay let us take a step beyond.

And, consider that some of what hospitals (or the management therein) spend time obsessing about – bare below the elbows is one of my pet hates (unproven and probably wrong).

Again, sigh, I am back to Bruce Lee (did I know as a 13-year-old, reading the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, that more than 30 years later I would still be referencing this wisdom?) – don’t spend all your time focusing on the finger; look at the moon, see the stars. In the morning hear the bird song, look at the snowdrops, the shimmer of cobwebs and the coldness of dawn

Don’t think of the spitting, the pooping, shedding ungulate, consider instead the potential, the connection, the resonance.

There is more in heaven and earth than can be described in any rule-book or list of guidelines and protocols; if you consider feeling as the most reliable compass, go with it.

smiling llama.jpg

4 Comments

  1. The joy in my 92 year old Father’s eyes when my younger brother took his dog in to the private hospital to visit was a sight to behold. So too were the number of nurses, patients and others who came up to pat this warm docile companion.

    I totally agree with Nigel’s comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the llana! Seems haughty but so well-behaved!l
    We have Woodie’s Wings (raptors) visit and small animal zoo ( bearded Dragon seemed to like me!).
    They are all rescued animals / birds but unable to release due to injury etc.

    Like

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