Seems to me that medicine can be delivered in a couple a ways. Of course, there’s the traditional way through IV’s and meds administered by staff and then there’s the 4-legged love-meds that pet therapy animals deliver through a nudge on a patient’s hand or by a wagging tail. I’m kind of partial to the 4-legged version. I’ve seen it work wonders. Like the patient we recently visited whose blood pressure was taken and it was sky high. The patient smiled weakly and called Sam over to him. Now Sam handles being around medical equipment with very little difficulty but I’m always kind of nervous that he might step on a tube or pull out a line and this guy was pretty wired up. Sam edged his way over to him and sat in front of the guy’s legs. After the first reading, the nurse said “hmm, let’s try it on the other arm and see what we get.” It took her a minute or so to maneuver around to his other side. Meanwhile the patient is massaging Sam’s ears and Sam is of course soaking up the attention and he lays his head against the man’s thigh (this is the only “trick” this goofy dog will do).
By the time the nurse got around to the other side and took another reading, the pressure was nearly normal! She was a little surprised at the big difference but the patient just smiled and said (as he pointed to Sam), this is the reason it’s better. Dogs are miracle workers. We talked about the incredible ability of dogs as they help patients keep their vitals more normal and the peace these amazing creatures provide patients. The couple recalled stories about their own dogs that had meant so much to them throughout their lives and how grateful they were to have had a dose of that magic 4-legged medicine that day.
I’ve seen that 4-legged love inspire people in other situations, too. Like my friend Sara (who maintains quite the work out regimen) recently told me, she finds Frances, the ‘gym mascot’ there to give her just enough inspiration to put in those last tough reps. She’s told me there are times she’d like to quit but a gentle flick of her tongue or those adoring sweet brown eyes and a wagging tail always gets her to dig down deep and finish her set. It makes her feel accomplished and inspired. How can you beat that?
Whenever we end a shift, I know we have made a difference in the health of patients and their families, just like with this guy and his wife. Too often we take animals for granted, but the bond between patients and dogs is irrefutable and continues to amaze me especially when I see results like that.
So what if you’re a rotten hound some days (like when you snitch a piece of cheese off the table or roust through the garbage)…you made a patient and his wife manage to feel a little bit better and that’s what this is all about. ❤️
To all the Frances’ and Sam’s…way to go!