As a young girl I participated in the civic group Girl Scouts of America. The mother of one of my friends was our troop leader, and she had a soft spot for elderly people. Our monthly civic hours (required to maintain our badge) were often devoted to reading stories to those in nursing homes and visiting others in need who opted to remain in their own homes. Sometimes we took them special treats to enjoy, and we often talked about our extracurricular activities, for they really seemed interested in learning about our lives.
I was particularly close to one kind lady named Miss Sheila. Sheila was an animal lover and often told me stories of her cat, who was then deceased. After listening to many stories about Miss Sheila’s cat, I wheedled permission to bring my own kitty and her cat trees (the smallest ones, of course) to visit Miss Sheila and her friends at the home during one of our trips.
Miss Sheila was thrilled and delighted to watch my cat’s antics on the cat trees. I placed them close together near Sheila’s chair so she could see Freddy (my cat) leap from a perch on one of the cat trees to the swing of another. With a rope ladder and dangling toy mouse, there were lots of playthings for Freddy which meant she entertained Sheila thoroughly.
From then on I made a habit of bringing Freddy and at least one of the cat trees once each month when we made our nursing home visit. It’s true what they say about how animals really can brighten a person’s outlook and bring them the kind of joy that enriches their life. It was evident by the look on Miss Sheila’s face each time she saw Freddy.