Hospital work can be hard as well as rewarding

We’ve spent the past several days working at the hospital lately. For my little senior citizen, it’s been a lot of time spreading joy throughout the hospital system. In addition to our actual visits with patients, we’ve been helping the program out by selling the annual calendar for next year which funds our program all year-long. The whole calendar project was grueling work for me as I helped put it together and dealt with the marketing folks who seem to reside on another planet when it comes to design…read inflexible and a printing company less inclined to work on the attendant issues that came up during the printing process. In other words, exhausting. But nothing compared to what poor Sam endures when greeting visitors in the lobby selling them on cold hard floors in the lobby. I often joke about him doing all the work and me just driving him but that really isn’t too far off the mark in all actuality, especially during the sales part.

Sam waits patiently, leash fully taunt waiting for them to buy a calendar stop and say hi as we man the sales table, his tail wagging like crazy at each passing visitor or hospital person. He tosses his head as if he knows each person as if they are some lost friend, looking longingly when they walk past by, without stopping. He turns around and walks back to stand next to me and mans his position with the hopefulness of a true optimist that the next person will stop for a moment. 

Luckily he is rewarded quickly. One of the nurses we visit with from a floor upstairs stops for a long ear scratch and shares lots of ooh’s and ah’s, the equivalent of auditory nirvana for Sam, his tail upright and flitting back and forth like a Swiffer duster hard at work. Sam loves nurses.  They are loving, kind and sweet in his mind and he can’t get enough of them.

As we work the lobby, several people ask if we would come upstairs and visit with the person they are there to see. I diligently take down the room numbers and make notes so we can swing by following our shift selling. It’s clearly gonna be a long day but one that will make lots of people happy.

And then the lottery jackpot falls into our lap. A small toddler about 3 years old walks in. She’s adorably precious with curly blonde hair and wears thick glasses. She’s not much bigger than a minute, and it was touching seeing her eye to eye with Sam. She and her mom are visiting her grandmother. She squeals with delight when she recognizes Sam and rushes over to twirl her fingers through his soft hair. Her mom explains she’s close to being blind in one eye and they are working to strengthen her vision with the glasses. The little girl smiles and coos, Sam is in heaven as he absolutely adores little kids and patiently allows her to pet him ever so gently. She leans in to kiss him to the nose. He wags his tail and looks at me as if to say, “It’s ok, right, mom?” I asked her if she’d like to give Sam a treat and she tells me “oh yes.” Sam has died and gone to heaven. A little kid AND a treat. What could be better than that?

We spent over two hours visiting with folks in the lobby, chatting about our program, showing the calendar to countless people showing them Sam is Mr. May and featured in another photo in the calendar demonstrating what we do. I can see he is tired. All this ministering to people and their various emotions as they come to the hospital taxes him. It taxes me too. We go upstairs and visit with those who requested it and by the time we leave, it’s been over 3 hours of non-stop therapy work. Even a young dog would be spent but I knew Sam was particularly tuckered out. So tuckered out in fact, he never flinched when his sister greeted him in his bed when we arrived home. Normally he’d go off to find another comfy spot. Instead, he just laid there letting her curl up next to him. In her own way, I think she was providing some well needed therapy for Sam. It was the end of a very special day for a hardworking pup.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

60 thoughts on “Hospital work can be hard as well as rewarding

  1. That was pawsome Sam! Three hours! Not sure if I could do that yet. What a tiring but rewarding day. Glad you were able to rest. Everyone needs that after such hard work. Benji

      1. Good luck with the calendar sale. Pretty soon there will be a calendar out with Benji and Ms. Zulu on it too. We hope to get the photo shoot done this weekend.

        1. Woohoo! How exciting. Sam is in it twice this year, in the front showing what pet therapy does as well as the centerfold for May. His ego got extra stroking this year and hopefully he’ll strut his stuff at the sales table later today. ☺️

  2. I am not at all surprised you are exhausted with all the hospital works and the marketing.. I have had “that” kind of week myself. Not as physical as yours, but tiring none the less. Lovely photograph of Sam and the Ninja.

  3. It’s a great thing to do. Those precious moments with a dog can mean so much to the people in the hospital.

    1. There are some days when I’m sure he’s considering it. But it’s probably more about his stubbornness than being a senior. At least I hope so. Hope it starts to cool off for you. I heard it was 104 at the beginning of last night’s World Series game. Eek!!

  4. With Sam as a calendar boy, how can they not fly off the shelves? It sounds like it was a tiring and yet so fulfilling day; I hope there’s some rest time soon. Even with a pesky ninja trying to “help”.

  5. So heartwarming to read about Sam’s wonderful ability to bring comfort and love to those who need it
    Hazel & Mabel

  6. You are right about us just being the drivers. The pups do the real work. Looks like you are going to have to get Sam a queen size bed if he is going to be sharing. <3

  7. you are the perfect secreatyry for the fourlegged superstar… that was touching to read that people asked you to visit the person they want to see… if you ask me, Sam and his colleagues should get a kind of medal for their works… they are a kind of life savers, I’m sure…

  8. It’s a wonderful story. I admire you – and especially Sam – for all your great and hard work. Thank you!
    Please, give Sam a very warm hug from me.
    Take care,

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