Many people know that animals are therapeutic and comforting. Some animals are trained to be therapeutic animals, and some animals are just naturals as was the case with Sammy at The Oaks at Hampton. Sam came to be the third house dog at The Oaks when he was six weeks old. On the floor, he was a typical wild and crazy puppy, but when an elder picked him up, he turned into a cuddle bug. Sammy just knew that they needed to hold him and love him. He never squirmed or tried to get down. He was content to be held and
Two elders especially coveted him. Sammy belongs to the Lifestyle Director, so goes home every night and comes back to the community in the morning. In the beginning, one of the elders, CJ, would leave breakfast and sit in the family room at the time Sammy always came to work. Sammy would spot him and bolt right to CJ. The second elder, Marjorie, decided to join CJ in the family room because she too wanted to spend time with Sam. CJ then started sitting in the front lobby so Sam would see him first. Not to be beat, Marjorie would wait outside on the sidewalk to get Sam before he even came in the building. Marjorie was a cat lady. She had never owned a dog, but Sam sure owned her! Sam went back and forth between CJ and Marjorie spending most of his time strolling around on their rollators.
When Sam was about six months old, Marjorie, who is 96 years old, had a stroke and while in the hospital she had a second stroke. Marjorie could not speak, could not walk and could not move on her own. She came back to The Oaks on Hospice with her future looking very limited. Sam immediately went to hug her after she came back. She was lying in her bed as Sam ran into the room and jumped up on her bed. Marjorie grinned and said “Sammy.” Tears appeared in everyone's eyes, as she hadn’t spoken a word since her stroke.
From then on, Sam attached himself to Marjorie. He hung out with her in her bed as she slowly worked on getting her speech back. Pretty soon, she was able to get out of bed and to the therapy room where Sam sat by her side through her whole session. Soon after, Marjorie was able to sit in a chair on her own, and she watched as a new chair was delivered to her apartment. When other elders asked Marjorie about the new chair, she said she and Sam didn’t fit in her old chair. There wasn’t enough room for both, so she needed a new chair.
As Marjorie got better and better, when anyone saw Marjorie they saw Sam. From 9:00 am- 5:00 pm, Sam was Marjorie’s dog. He wouldn’t leave her side. Marjorie graduated to her rollator and every day Marjorie and Sam walked outside around and around the property two or three times a day. Sam even got matching sunglasses when the summer sun got in his eyes.
Eight months into their love affair, Marjorie slipped out of her chair in her room and landed on her wrist, breaking her wrist. Sam growled and barked at anyone trying to get near her because he thought they were going to hurt her. If Sam was not attached to Marjorie before, this incident cemented them as one.
Today, Marjorie is 99% recovered and she credits Sam with that. Sam and Marjorie spend all day every day together. Sam may be one of The Oaks at Hamptons house dogs, but everyone knows that Sam is Marjorie’s dog and Marjorie is Sammy’s person. The love that these two share shines brightly. It is evident to everyone who sees them that pets make a significant difference in our lives.
Congratulations to Marjorie and Sammy for being our featured Residents of the Month!