21 November

Zinnia Joins Meditation Class At The Mansion. News Of Good…

by Jon Katz

It was an impulsive decision. I was heading out to the Mansion to run my weekly Meditation Class there, when I thought, “why not bring Zinnia?,” she loves to work and meet new people.

So I tossed her in the car, brought a small marrow bone and headed off to the Mansion. As always, she drew a large crowd of adoring residents and staff, all of whom remarked on her calmness and ease and affection for people.

“Wow, she’s going to be an amazing therapy dog,” said Kassi, the Mansion director, who nearly melted into the ground when she saw Zinnia. I put the bone on the floor, held onto Zinnia’s leash but she munched on her bone and lay quietly during our 14 minute recorded and guided meditation tape on Thankfulness, an appropriate topic as Thanksgiving approaches.

Our meditation session was challenging today. I was distracted by Zinnia and some residents talking loudly at other tables. But Zinnia settled and I was able to talk about breathing as a means of settling down from fear and anger.

The residents loved Zinnia, some because she was cute and others because they sensed her calm and affectionate manner. We all thought she did beautifully, and I’m grateful our visits to Bishop Maginn yesterday and the Mansion today worked out so well.

It’s still early in the game, but I feel very good about this dog. I love the idea that she can sit through a meditation session at the Mansion, an alien experience for her, but one she adapted to easily and quickly. Soon, I’ll start working on one and one work with her.

“This is your new therapy dog,” I announced to the residents when I walked into the dining room, and they cheered and applauded. Zinnia made them very happy.

P.S. Kassi tells me there are now 18 aides at the Mansion, not 14, they’ve hired additional staff for the Memory Care Center. So I need $200 more dollars for my Christmas plan to get a $50 Wal-Mart certificate for each of the Mansion aides. They deserve it and more,  and could use it.

I’ll need to keep the fund-raising going a bit, I need at least $200 more dollars. Thanks, if you wish to help and can, you can contribute via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com or by check, Jon Katz, Mansion Aides, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

In other news, the Mansion put out a call for hats and gloves, I found some on Amazon, some in consignment, some were missing but discovered. I think I’ve got this one. They need five pairs of gloves (I got that), and at least five winter cats (I think I’ve got that too.)

Also, the electricians have come to measure the new Mansion Break Room, they’re putting in a baseboard heating unit and extra outlets in the walls. The small refrigerator, and tea and coffee makers and chair and table are all set. I’m bringing some more wall hangings, but there isn’t much room for anything else.

Thanks for your support.


  1. Perhaps, if you have a free moment you could update the list of residents that might like to receive a Thanksgiving card. Thank you.

    1. Margaret, that is difficult to do, there is so much change and so many memory issues, I think the best thing to do is send cards to the Mansion so they can post them up on their bulletin boards…The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816

  2. Wonderful to see such happy faces! How is Fate doing with her therapy work? It seemed she was showing great love for the contact as well and enjoyed seeing pictures of her too.

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