You’ve heard of therapy dogs, right? Well, two weeks ago Kieran and I caught half a dozen praying mantises in Briones Regional Park. On the way home, we stopped by my father’s nursing home in El Sobrante and introduced him to some of the insects. He had a great time and laughed harder than I remember him laughing in years. Therapy dogs require the right temperament and years of training to be certified. But these Mantis religiosa were ready to provide tickling and therapy right away, with no training! Could this be a new business venture?

Kieran has sharp eyes, and spots many insects in the tall, dry grass.

Kieran has sharp eyes, and spots many insects in the tall, dry grass.

Praying mantises are quite curious, and will crawl over your hand and fingers if you hold them like the branches of a bush.

Praying mantises are quite curious, and will crawl over your hand and fingers if you hold them like the branches of a bush.

Though all the same species, M. religiosa, some are green and others are brown, like this one, which perfectly matches the tall, dry grass.

Though all the same species, M. religiosa, some are green and others are brown, like this one, which perfectly matches the tall, dry grass.

Here's yet another green one. We captured six that day.

Here’s yet another green one. We captured six that day.

Our Michelangelo mantis moment, when Kieran introduces his grandfather to a "therapy bug."

Our Michelangelo mantis moment, when Kieran introduces his grandfather to a “therapy bug.”

Dad thought this unique experience was hilarious.

Dad thought this unique experience was hilarious.

When I was a boy, my father often took me out to catch critters. Now's my chance to return the favor.

When I was a boy, my father often took me out to catch critters. Now’s my chance to return the favor.

Next up -- a brown one, who turned out to be much more lively!

Next up — a brown one, who turned out to be much more lively!

It headed right up for my dad's ear, tickling him and making him laugh and laugh!

It headed right up for my dad’s ear, tickling him and making him laugh and laugh!

Then it headed up the pillow.

Then it headed up the pillow.

Yet another therapy insect at work! We should get some little vests for them to wear!

Yet another therapy insect at work! We should get some little vests for them to wear!

A peaceful moment.

A peaceful moment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: