Sam here. We went to the hospital and hospice this week and were joined by someone who was able to came along on visits with us. Normally, pet therapy teams operate alone so this was a great treat for me to have someone else by my side all day. Our new fur-iend Sandy, is joining our merry little band of volunteers at Pet Therapy. We were asked to have her shadow our visits to see what it is we actually do.
Once again I did the work with patients and staff mom just drives me and holds the leash. She seems to be a weak link in this ‘pawtnership,’ but that’s a subject for another time. We arrived early and waited in the hospital lobby to meet Sandy and I got to spend loads of time schmoozing with a number of volunteers and visitors. I didn’t get my normal lengthy meandering in the morning because mom had this weird idea I needed a bath and to have my furs trimmed so I didn’t cooperate too much. Let me just say I AM NOT a fan of that process and absolutely despise having my feet furs trimmed!
Any who…yesterday was a super busy day at the hospital and fortunately I had
plenty of pogo-sticking in me plenty of energy to spare for everyone. There were lots of comings and goings with people everywhere. I met the nicest man being discharged who was so excited to be going home to his own pup that he had been missing. He was willing to give me nice ear scratches so I wagged my tail for him and looked deeply into his eyes. He smiled and praised me for stopping to say hello. What…are you kidding, it’s what I do best! Saying hello is my middle name. Then we went up to the Senior Behavioral Health Unit and I was lucky enough to meet Phil who loved me from the first second our eyes met. He walked down a long hallway just to greet me and I felt the same and enjoyed his sweet smile, twinkly eyes and the stories he told. Usually there are more women at the unit so it was a welcomed change of pace that we were able to visit with a number of fellas this time. We never know what to expect on that floor but it turned out to be a great day for visits and Sandy enjoyed it as much as I did. Phil was a real special upright who has an amazing ability to connect with animals. Those kinds of people always make me feel extra special. The staff was super excited to see me perform my one and only trick, licking my chops on command. First I do one side, then mom asks me to lick the other side so I do it (I mean, how hard it that?). Then she tells me to do it again while holding on to an extra special treat so ‘natch’ I do it. I’ll do just about anything for those Zuke’s treats. We play this one side/other side licking of chops to the delight of everyone. No one seems disappointed it’s the only trick I do. I mean seriously even cats can shake paws, so why would I do something that easy? Why is it uprights think dogs want to shake hands with them anyway? Eew…they touched my feet – gah!!!
Sandy’s pup is a 2-1/2 year old Golden Retriever named Captain. No doubt he will command the pawfect ship once he officially passes the remaining requirements. Sandy told me he’s super smart and so well-behaved with loads of energy. With her husband, the 3 of them will bring smiles and comfort to patients, staff and visitors alike. And she hopes to meet as many terrific people as we did.
Trust me, it was a very long day with lots of people to visit and chat with for a few hours, far more than usual for me. After we finished up, I was completely wiped out. I didn’t even eat dinner I was so tired. Being a therapy dog can be hard work but I completely love it. Keep your paws crossed I get to see Sandy again and get to meet her Captain soon! We wish them the best of luck as they begin their own comforting work in pet therapy.
Live, love, bark! <3