January 6, 2011 by Klara Hanincova
Just before Christmas a little white puppy from the New Rochelle Humane Society and I took a very important trip. As we were driving over to the Bainbridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bronx, the quiet atmosphere in the car was broken only by the voice of the GPS. While my thoughts were completely absorbed in driving, the puppy was lying down in her crate feeling either a little anxious about her first big day at the nursing home or just a little car sick. For both the puppy and I, it was a first trip ever to the nursing home, but while I was just a driver and a photographer, the puppy was the one with the important mission ahead – to bring joy and ease loneliness.
As I was carrying the crate with the puppy down the corridor towards the manager’s office, I noticed a growing excitement caused by her presence. A lady glided her wheel chair towards me at a speed that I would never have expected and said: “Where is the puppy? I want to pet the puppy! Is it your puppy? I want to pet the puppy!” The excitement grew even more once the puppy was out of the crate. “What breed is it? Is it a boy or a girl? How old is she? What is her name? How big will she grow? Can I hold her?” I was showered by questions as my little fluffy friend was traveling from one lap to another showering everyone with kisses. We visited every floor of the nursing home. I was taking photos and the puppy was spreading love and happiness to all of those who opened their hearts to her.
I remember walking into a small gym area, seeing a man sitting in his wheelchair holding the puppy, being very jovial. There was nothing unusual about it. Only later, as we were leaving the gym I glanced back at the man. His body was motionless, his head down and his face worn out. Separated and removed from his surroundings, it was hard to believe that it was the same jovial man that just a few minutes ago was playing with the puppy.
There is nothing more emotional than when the two worlds, each of them in need of help, come together to ease each other’s pain. That day, the puppy brought joy to many lonely hearts and in exchange, she got what all young shelter animals need the most in order to become sociable and adoptable pets: the benefit of human touch and exposure to a new environment.