Spreading the Love Thursday

Last week we visited hospice and hospital over Valentine’s Day and experienced some of our best visits. Ever. Sam was especially extra patient and loving on both days.

Sam spreading the love

We typically make a swing through the surgical waiting area before heading up to our assigned floor to visit with family and friends waiting for their loved ones and this week was no exception. Sam seemed to sense the first group needed extra attention. They included a husband, wife and another friend of the family’s. The husband’s face lit up as we came around the corner and Sam made a beeline for him. His wife squealed when she turned around, but Sam was determined to say hello first to him. His tail was wagging like a wound up metronome as he gazed into the guy’s eyes, so deeply in fact his wife commented on it. Sam turned toward her and she melted under his hypnotic spell, then he turned his gaze back to toward the man again. We spent several minutes chatting, learned he retired from being a police officer for over 40 years. Retirement wasn’t exactly his jam so he started working part-time at Home Depot for a while and shared several photos of pups who came in with their owners and said how much he appreciated it when people brought their 4-legged ‘handyman’ in to provide TLC with employees. He was totally in Sam’s paws, so much so, that he began leaning against the guy’s leg. Sam laid down next to him knowing he needed to chat and share stories of how much he enjoyed that job with those pooch encounters.

It became clear we could have spent loads of time visiting with this couple and learning more about them and their own dog at home but saw several other groups in the waiting area so we began to wrap it up. As we prepared to leave for the next family, the man asked me to say a prayer for his 91-year-old mother-in-law. Bless her heart, she was having a serious procedure done and worried about her long-term prognosis. Now I completely understood why Sam spent so much time with him. Sam knew his visit was what the doctor ordered for this family.

Sam spreading the love

We moved on to the next family whose elderly mom was the patient, Sam gave and received loads of kisses and hugs from the two sisters and aunts and uncles waiting to hear how their loved one fared in surgery. It’s always touching seeing this knucklehead spreading pure joy among people whose hearts are heavy as their family faces uncertain times. He seems to know who to visit first and for how long. Ironic considering when I try to get him to do something along our daily walks, he looks at me like I’m speaking in tongues.

Following the hospital visits, we went over to hospice where the nurses in particular needed Sam’s loving presence. Overnight, 5 patients had passed away, something that’s extremely rare for one day, and the staff needed some puppy love from a sweet loving therapy dog. While we were there, the last body was removed and as noted before they perform a Tibetan bowl ceremony while the body is removed. It’s a beautiful ceremony and Sam sat solemnly next to the line of nurses lined up watching as the body is removed from the building. Once the body was removed and everyone went back to work, he spent extra time with each one of the nurses on the floor. They needed his special attention and tail wags and they all expressed gratitude for his visit. While we’d just been visiting a couple of weeks earlier, I was particularly glad we answered the call to help them deal with the loss on what was a probably an extra difficult day at work.

This silly, goofy dog had the perfect touch for our Valentine’s Day visits and I couldn’t be prouder of this boy for doing what he does best. Making people smile and feel better, even if just for a few moments. While I know his days may be numbered as part of the pet therapy program, I know he will always give it his all.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

72 thoughts on “Spreading the Love Thursday

  1. Oh Sam, I just knows they will never forgets your handsome self ~ you truly brought comfort and joy to those who needed it. You are one FABulous dude, and I am so glads you and your Moms are doing the work of Angels ♥
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

    1. We try our best to bring some comfort to patients but especially to the staff who takes care of them-they definitely can use it.

  2. What a wonderful visit you two had with all of those who needed some extra attention. I can’t imagine how the nurses must have felt, having lost 5 patients in 24 hours! I’m sure Sam’s attention was a welcome relief! You guys are a great team!

  3. Bless Sam, and bless you for helping him to bring relief to so many people needing it. I was at the hospital for 9 hours yesterday, for my sister to have surgery. The surgery itself was less than 2 hours, but the rest was just waiting and worrying. I know how much a visit from Sam or another therapy dog would have meant. All went well though, and the prognosis is good for my sister! ♥

    1. Glad to hear your sister’s procedure went well. We would have loved spending time with you while you waited! Sending oodles of poodles healing thoughts.

  4. Monika, be sure to video at least one session before Sam retires. Just ask patient permission first, as you know. I cherish the video of Lexi’s final time at the children’s hospital.

    1. Sadly the hospital forbids that, even with patient release. But it is indelibly carved in my heart. ❤️

  5. Okay, okay, now I am really ugly crying. What a beautiful heart your Sam has to pick up on the needs and pain of strangers. I remember when my mother-in-law was in intensive care and if a therapy dog had shown up, I think it would have been the best thing for all of us in the waiting room.

    1. Oh no, please don’t ugly cry. Only tears of joy are allowed here. 😍 Despite being a knucklehead, Sam has a very sensitive side when evaluating people’s emotional needs.

  6. Animals are very soothing. Especially Sam. My brother came out of the hospital yesterday and is staying with me for a few days. He has been enjoying lots of attention from my gray cats. Someone slept with him last night and he was delighted. The youngest insists that he play. It’s distracting and peaceful for him. I hope if I ever end up in a residence situation, they bring in therapy animals.

    1. Glad your kitties are ministering to your brother. It makes all the difference in the recovery process.

    1. I cannot imagine having a job at hospice and marvel at the folks who take care of terminal patients. They are amazing in my estimation!

    1. Many thanks for the kind words Kristiina. Sam really does act like a magician making people feel better.

  7. Oh, Sam, you made my heart sing. What a sweet, thoughtful doggie you are and so sensitive too. You’re one in a million❤I come back as a doggie in my next live and then I hope to find you❤Pawkisses for a wonderful day🐾😚🐶

  8. Sam – you gave the best Valentine’s Day present to those folks. What a great thing to do!

  9. Sam does wonderful things for sure. Wow on losing five patients in one night. Glad you were there when needed the most.

    Thank you for all you and Sam do. ♥

    1. Thank you; having worked in healthcare, I know first hand how pet visits help the staff as much as the patients. 💜

  10. that was beautiful Monika. It’s true, love in Sam’s form can lift you from despair for a moment, enough to breathe and face it again. He is so tuned in, does it take a lot out of him to do this? Wish he could tell us what it’s like. There are healers who can provide for others, and not be drained, but I wasn’t one of them. I remember being exhausted after days of social work. Sam is the sweetest boy.

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