Mental Health Thursday

How can I help you?

We visited West Pines yesterday (read about a previous visit here and the kinds of patients we see) and noticed that most of the staff were wearing green remembrance ribbons attached to their ID badges. When I asked what the occasion was, they said it was Mental Health week. I didn’t find anything online about it (it could have been a hospital campaign although I note it was Mental Health week in the UK from May 16 through May 22).

In any event, Sam was ready to provide his own version of therapy for a number of staff and patients. Here are some of Dogtor Sam’s therapy session notes.

From the moment we walked into the facility, Sam realized there was work to do. Not one to shirk his duties, he began even before our chaperone arrived to take us on our rounds. He   strolled over to a visitor sitting in the lobby. She sheepishly asked if she could pet Sam and as soon as the words came out of her mouth, he was standing next to her, tail-a-wagging. She got down on the carpet and looked deeply into his eyes. She bent close to him and whispered something in his ear. His tail wagged even more feverishly and he sat next to her while she began to massage his ears. It was the beginning of many massages for the furry therapist.

Sam saw several people, all of whom genuinely enjoyed seeing him. But his most memorable visit was with “Sarah,” a tall, thin woman with a vacant stare. She politely asked to face him as she sat in a chair and began stroking him gently. He looked deep into her eyes and seemed as if he was completely mesmerized by her gaze. She told me of her own service dog but I’m reluctant to quiz patients about their personal lives (HIPAA plus it’s really not my place to question them). It’s better just to let them share whatever they want. I could tell she was missing her service companion greatly but seemed more than happy to spend time with Sam. A few moments after she sat in front of him, a young bearded fellow came over and sat next to Sam. It seemed too much for her to have someone in such close proximity and she got up and moved to the other side of the day room but keep a watchful eye on her new furry friend. The young man sat and talked to both Sam and I, saying how much he enjoyed dogs and how much they seem drawn to him. Sam was enjoying his presence and after a few minutes sitting on the floor, he decided to get up and move around to loosen up a sore hip. As soon as he left, Sarah returned and sat down cross-legged on the floor in front of him. Sam seemed to realize she needed more of the kind of therapy he can provide and sat patiently with her. Soon he was laying on his side next to her while her fingers returned to massaging him in his favorite spots. A few of the staff commented at how relaxed Sam was and I noticed Sarah seemed more relaxed too. My heart swelled at the thought of this knucklehead making Mental Health Week a little more pleasant for a few peeps in need.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

105 thoughts on “Mental Health Thursday

  1. I absolutely love when you share Sam moments, every single person I have met that is involved in the Therapy Dog environment are so caring and kind. I feel that perhaps we all need this program as much as the people that are on the receiving end. Truly a wonderful bonding of animals and people who truly need them.

    1. I often feel guilty because I’m convinced we get much more from visiting patients and staff than what we give them. 😍

      1. I hear ya!! Molly passed her evaluation to become a therapy dog last Saturday. One of my proudest moments and I can’t wait until we are out there making our visits!!! 🤗🤗 I am so excited to become a member of this organization !!

        1. Congratulations!! That’s pawsome. Can’t wait to hear your stories. Be prepared for some two tissue experiences. 😍

            1. They do but there are some days when you’ll be touched in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.

  2. It’s second nature for Sam. It’s harder on me because I too often think, “but for the grace of God there go I”. Its a amazing article.

  3. Enjoyed reading the blog above, really explains everything in detail, the blog is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck for the upcoming blogs.

    Hello, I am Dr. Nitesh Khonde expert in Traditional & Modern Ayurveda and panchakarma therapy. I like your article above there are so many ways to prevent, Ayurveda is the natural process for all kind of treatment over Mental Health and other health issues…

  4. Mental health is about being emotionally, cognitively and socially healthy and the way we think, feel and develop relationships and not merely the absence of a mental health condition.

  5. Thanks for sharing this useful information. I really like your post.Amazing information.Very Informative.Great Job.Keep Updating. 🙂

  6. Dogtor Sam you are just what THE Dogtor ordered!!! LadyMew cuud use sum ‘Poochie Therapee’……shee iss down aftur Kissmas day….shee went to THE farm an had a guud time butt shee ended upss at’ angel’ Unkell Siddhartha’ss grave an cried a lot. Poor LadyMew….what do you purr-scribe???
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    1. Sorry to hear your mum is down. I’ll send special delivery digital tail wags for her and hope she feels better. ❤️

  7. That story of Sarah enjoying Sam so very much made my heart swell. You definitely did something very good during that visit. It must be so rewarding when you have visits like that one.

  8. What a great post. Sam is indeed serving a great service for the disabled. This service continues the love of pets and is much needed. I am trying to get peeps to understand how valuable a service this is and the positive impact on those suffering.



  9. It is truly a gift. I knew Lexi was here on earth to give joy to others, and I would say the same about Sam.

  10. oh I hope you can visit Sarah again soon… it seems you are the one who can make her days a little brighter… We often are helpless when we have to deal with mental issues in our family, so thank you today to all who work to help out at this front and who have a heart and open ears to the problems of patients and their families…

    1. Mental health patients (and those suffering from addiction) have special needs. Sam seems to know what they are and how to brighten their day even if just for a couple of minutes.

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