Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Opie the Love Ambassador

Opie was in true loving form on our visit this week to our elder friends. The day was warm with a breeze and we sat outside under the tent. I have to say, Opie is presenting himself as a very intuitive therapy goat-which was what I was hoping for when I found him. He is very calm with the elders, and even almost fell asleep again with one of them. I truly believe he senses they are not as strong as other people he knows. He sits calmly in their lap and doesn't fidget. An elder's skin can be tender so I'm careful about that, not wanting his hooves to break skin, but so far he understands his mission is to commune.

I am really having a good time getting to know these people. I told them all I wanted to learn all their names better, so Thursday I practiced and now have their faces in my mind when I repeat the names: Joe, Richard, Sylvia, Evelyn, Ruth, Jean, Mary and Mary.

We also talked about getting everyone a photo of Opie for their rooms, they liked that. The people at this residence are of varying degrees of physical limitations and backgrounds. I found out that Jean is the resident dancer, even though she walks hunched over with a walker. I am going to explore that more next visit. Joe always has questions about the farm and other things-but they show a man still very engaged in the living world. Evelyn calls Opie "Darlin'" and says he's so cunnin'. Both Marys are quiet but there is a life under there, a history. Richard seems to like cards better than Opie but that is okay. Ruth is funny under a quiet front and Slyvia just is so proud when Opie sits on her lap. We all remembered last visit how Opie seemed to go right to her and he sat with her and fell asleep. Eventually, he made his way to her again this visit, and she just looked so pleased.

I do not like to talk down to elders, or talk to them like they are children, or only talk about happy thoughts; nor do I talk to children like they are invalids or babies. I'm taking my time exploring the people at the residence, but this last visit I felt we were starting to really get to know each other. I also think they realize I am committed to coming to see them regularly and that means something. The days get long for an elder, even one with a good life and caretakers.

I really loved the photos where you can see their beautiful hands. I like to visit when I'm there, and don't want to sit there snapping photos. But I had to take some, and am working on getting each of them a photo.

We also talked about making sweaters for Opie-he actually doesn't need one to stay warm, but I thought it would be fun to get him a traveling wardrobe-he is just as worthy of one as the Von Trap children, don't you think? I'm thinking an autumn sweater, and then a holiday one. I'm not one to dress up animals, but Opie is about the town now and will enjoy it I think. I know my pug does.

Apifera Farm is a non profit in the state of Maine and a pending 501c. Our mission is to not only help special needs/elder creatures but to share them with our elder and needy people that need recognition and love. You can help support our efforts here.