Seniors’ Situation Room – Edition 11 by Dawn Ford

CFN – There is a quote from Ben Williams that says that there is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. It is true! Every time I am at the Villa (St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre) and see the therapy dogs walking toward my friend and I, I hear a little five year old voice in my head saying,”Puppy, puppy!!” My friend Anne, whom I visit regularly at the Villa, was never known to be an animal lover. Since the little therapy dogs jump on her lap and give her kisses on her cheek, she is enthralled. Her favorite TV show is now ‘Pick a Puppy’. Anne has recently asked me for a picture of a Great Dane puppy which she has never seen. That’s what love can do.

I hadn’t had the privilege of seeing any therapy dogs at the (Glen Stor Dun) Lodge, but one day I met Benji, a gorgeous, huggable, wonderful Sheepdog. He was accompanied by his owner who was there to visit a relative. It was love at first sight. After several hugs and wet slurrpy kisses from Benji, I told the lady that Benji wanted to go home with me. She told me in no uncertain terms that Benji was hers forever. I tried. Lucky for me, she knows my brother at the Lodge and has on occasion brought Benji in when I have been there. More hugs. He is so beautiful and has the most gentle face I have ever seen. Everyone loves him, of course. What’s not to love??

The one thing I miss in my life is having a dog. But, I have a cat. His name is Tiger and I think I saved him from death row at the SPCA since he had been there for a long time. I went to get a little female that I could carry, but this cat in a cage kept putting his paw out between the bars and meowing at me. The attendant said that she thought the cat had picked me out. I remember saying no, that I wanted a female…But, she put him in my arms and it was love at first sight. What could I do when he snuggled up to me and purred his little heart out??

So I took Tiger home. He is a big, big baby and rules the house. He also thinks he is a puppy. He will chew any wire or cord hanging within his reach or plastic, or whatever – you name it. If I am missing an elastic I panic, wondering if he ate it because I caught him chewing an elastic band one day. It is a miracle that he is still alive.

One day I picked up my old fashioned phone and he had chewed through the cord…still alive, though. The vet told me Tiger has an identity crisis and thinks he is a dog. Maybe I wished it on him. His favorite thing is when I am lying on my bed at night and if I say my prayers out loud for his benefit, it seems, he lies on my chest and purrs like a motorboat all the way through the recitation. He seems to especially like “The Lord’s Prayer”. It is as if he knows what I am saying. Maybe he does.

The Seaway Senior Citizens Club has many great activities for Seniors. Lately they have an art display in the gym where I go for my Tai Chi class. It is wonderful to see the work of all these talented club members who are part of the Art Group.

There are wonderful paintings and some craft work done so well that you would think they are oil paintings instead of embroidery. Some of the work is for sale. Recently there is a wonderful work by Libby Cameron done in pastel chalk, I think. It is a drawing of a horse’s head. I fell in love with it immediately and I am hoping no one buys it before I do. It is so well done that you feel like reaching out and patting this gentle creature. I have never been around horses much in my life, but I can see why they are so beloved. I don’t know how she is able to capture the gentle spirit of the horse but she has done it so well that she won first prize. What a gift for all of us to enjoy. Kudos to all the artists.

Els Cordell, the Executive Director of the Seaway Senior Citizens Club, is on a short medical leave. Els does a wonderful job and is much loved by everyone. We wish her well and a speedy recovery.

In the December 2012 newsletter from Child Haven International are again many wonderful articles. Child Haven runs eleven orphanages in India for destitute children and also house and shelter some women and so lovingly, even some seniors who have no one to care for them. I am in awe of these volunteers who spend so much time fund raising to provide for those in need. Our Canadian Directors are Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino, Dr. Nat Shah, Peter Freud and Bernadette Caron. Our local Support group is led by Elaine Macdonald who is well known to all of us.

You can read the entire newsletter in color on their website. On page 18 is the story of a little boy, Tulsi, born in Nepal who lost his mother soon after he was born and his father had to pass his little son from one family to the next to be breast fed. At four months old in 2002 he came to one of the orphanages in Nepal to live. Tulsi has only thirty percent hearing. He plays with his hearing aids so, according to the article, they are often broken. He is making satisfactory progress in school.

I was hoping that the cochlear implants might one day be available to him, as they will be for many of our children in Canada. Visit this site for more info on these implants. I spoke with an audiologist who told me that the implants could cost $40,000 with a follow up of about $10,000. My hopes were dashed as this is a lot of money….but who knows what wonderful things may happen and we can help him in the future.

Don’t get discouraged if you feel that you are getting older and life is passing you by. As Dr. Amen tells us, get busy!

Here is a partial list of some of our forefathers and what they were doing as they aged:
George Bernard Shaw still writing at age 93
Albert Schweitzer running a hospital in Africa at 89
Alexander Graham Bell inventing things at 74 (1875 phone )
Eanon de Valera President of Ireland at 91
Michelangelo still painting at 88
Pablo Picasso painting at 92
Ronald Regan, President of USA at 70

It sounds like we can still have a lot of mileage in us. Give your hobbies a try or get one you love to do. It’s good for the grey matter in our brain.

The Chamber of Commerce is cautioning people about electric retailers coming to your door. They prey on everyone but seniors are especially vulnerable. The Chamber has received reports of two electrical retailers, Summit Energy and Just Energy soliciting consumers in the Cornwall region and may even imply they represent your energy company. A friend of mine said a Summit Energy salesperson came to her door on two different occasions at night. Please view CFN’s article for more info.

Here is a bit of “pet therapy” for you. I think some angels look like this:

Have a good week,



 Would you like to sponsor this bi-weekly column? If so, contact Don today!



  1. I think you may have met Elizabeth and Izabella who are both certified therapy dogs with st john’s ambulance. I am happy to see they brighten someones day, if only for a few moments. The seniors always look forward to our visits.


  2. Dear Dawn,

    Thank you for mentioning Child Haven in your well-written column!

    Fred Cappuccino

  3. Good morning, this may be a strange question, but I was wondering when the above photo (column feature image) was taken at the Villa. The man in the background is my father and he recently passed away. I would like to date the picture. We miss him terribly. He loved getting acquainted with the “fuzzy” visitors!!

  4. Stephanie: It was taken in August last summer. Would you like a copy? I can ask Don for one. I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I often talked to him when he was outside when I was at the Villa visiting. He was a nice, nice man. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  5. Author

    Hi Stephanie:

    I am sorry to learn of your dad’s passing.

    I deliberately chose a depth of field that would keep the resident out of the sharp focus to respect his privacy; you’re welcome to a higher resolution image, but your dad is in soft focus. I shot the photos right after lunch on August 14 this past summer.

Leave a Reply