An Ohio man named Ross Smith and his 92-year-old grandmother, who goes by “Granny,” have been making funny videos for five years. The comedy duo has gone viral for their unique sense of humor and particularly for the quick wit and rambunctious spirit of little old Granny. They now have over 19 million fans on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. And they’ve become best friends while doing it.
“We’re just trying to spread as much positivity as we can,” said Smith. “It makes us happy too.”
In an attempt to bring some holiday cheer to Alzheimer’s patients and other senior care residents this holiday season, Smith and Granny spent the Monday before Thanksgiving visiting four senior living facilities in the area. They used their comedy talents and an extra special surprise to make the day truly special for the residents there.
“It was time for me to come up with an idea to use this voice we have and to give back,” Smith said. “A lot of people were reaching out and saying they can’t speak to their grandma and grandpa anymore because they have dementia, and they live vicariously through us.”
The surprise? Why, puppies, of course! What else could it be?
Smith and Granny enlisted the help of Petland, a pet store in Lewis Center, Ohio, to bring puppies to residents at The Village at Westerville, The Inn at Olentangy Trail, Sage Park Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, and Otterbein Senior Life. They spent a few hours at each facility, allowing each resident to cuddle, pet, and play with their own adorable little pup.
“What I learned is people who are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, they aren’t receptive much,” Smith said. “But with animals and music, they really have old memories come back and hit them hard. So, when I go into these rooms and I speak to people … you can tell they’ve been affected by this disease. But when you give them a puppy, it’s like radio silence and they’re so focused. It’s like night and day.”
This comedy team went all out, even wearing dogs on their shirts and getting Thanksgiving-themed costumes for the puppies to wear, including a turkey, a pumpkin, and a pilgrim. And Granny, of course, curated some extra special stand-up material for the occasion.
As the residents played with and petted their pups, Granny went around talking to each individual and making jokes like, “I was on the Mayflower!” and “You folks are a perfect match. Did you meet on Tinder?” She even led several residents in gobbling like turkeys.
“Do you know who let the dogs out?” Granny asked one resident. “I did!” To another patient, she said, “Do you want to start a food fight at lunch?”
One thing is for sure. This is one hip grandma, and her energy is boundless! She has such a sweet and playful spirit, and we’re so glad her grandson picked up on her bright light and decided to help share it with the world!
But Granny’s fountain of energy had to run dry eventually. She ended up catching a cat nap (or a puppy nap?) at one of the care facilities while the residents played with their puppy friends.
Not wanting to leave the patients empty-handed at the end of the day, Smith and Granny devised a plan to leave each senior with a special gift that would help comfort them just like the puppies did. They created custom pillows to look like each of the puppies so that every care home resident could keep a plush toy that looks exactly like the puppy they had the pleasure of cuddling!
At the end of the day, Smith and Granny thanked the residents and the staff for letting them and the puppies come and have so much fun celebrating Thanksgiving. “Turn up!” Granny shouted as they left.
Luckily, you can still share in this touching and comical event even if you weren’t there, because Smith recorded the event and shared it on social media on Thanksgiving Day. His goal with the video was to let seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia know they
are not forgotten, especially during the holiday season.
“[People] just forget about folks when they’re old,” Smith said. “We want to give all we can to those who might not have families for the holidays or might not have a home or might have a hard time remembering the holidays.”
Check out the viral video to see this hilarious comedy team in action. This is the best combination of hilarious and heartfelt we’ve ever seen, and the smiles on the faces of the residents says it all!
This Thanksgiving we brought puppies to people affected with Alzheimers. We are so thankful to put smiles on so many beautiful faces. I challenge all of you to spread your love with someone in need this holiday season ❤️
Posted by Ross Smith on Thursday, November 22, 2018
Thank you, Smith and Granny, for using your special talents to improve the lives of those around you, especially some of the most vulnerable and often forgotten people of this world. Your work will not go unappreciated!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?