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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Bear and Opie's Love Mobile keep on rolling

Every week the staff and residents notice how Bear is growing. I notice it too. I already look fondly at his first photos here, he is growing like a weed but still is completely a pup. He has a beautiful temperment and each visit I think we bond more with people, and I with him. People keep saying how calm he is. Well, I agree, but then I always add,

"Knock on wood."

I think that initial ride home in the truck, on my lap, for 2 hours was a real bonding thing for Bear. He was so timid, and trusted me instantly. He had too. I taught him basic 'sit' immediately, and within a day he was doing it on command, and does so on our therapy visits. He sits well on people's beds too and isn't too ansy-although as I've said before the home is kept sooooo warm and I give him water but at this stage water means piddle breaks outside, which is fine. The hot temperature of the place makes him pant a bit. Panting can mean other things-pain, anxiety, fear...but in this case, I truly think it is the temperature. He is not as bothered in the beginning hour. Some of the private rooms almost take my breath away they are so hot! If I ever end up there I will have to be buck naked at all times.

Opie has sort of taken a back seat in stardom to Bear, but I think he is okay with that. Opie's real talent lies in going up to people that need him most, something he can't do in The Love Mobile. Come summer when he can be in the courtyard he will be free to show his talent again. Will bear follow suit? We will see.

In the past two weeks, three people we visited at the home have died. They were sudden, and fast deaths. The thing is, you don't do this thinking nobody is going to leave. They all leave. I wonder if I could do this if my parents were still alive? It might sadden me in ways I could not fathom now. It's not that I don't feel sadness at times, I do. In fact, I have to treat myself to decompressing after visits, and sometimes I forget that the visits even though enjoyable and full of laughter too, the energy is very strong on some days, around some people. I have to remember that for the animals too. I have a ritual of pulling energy off their backs as I breath it in, then quickly release my hands as I breathe out. I thank the animals for their work that day.

This residence home is a good fit for what I want to accomplish with my work and animals. The staff is helpful and loves our mission. I am getting to know some of the visiting wives, 'The Wives Club" as they are called. I've been to homes that are so depressing the second you set foot in the place. This is not so here. They try really hard to make it full of life, versus bodies waiting. The rooms are rather hospital like, but that is the stage most of the resident are in, this is not a place you go when you are independent, it is the end of the line basically.

Bear and his friend John who used to have a lab and loves Bear

Opie holds court and Earnie talks to him

Even though he can get out, he stays in his basket with my command