Happy Saturday and welcome to a special post we are honored to sponsor today relating to the celebration of National Pet Therapy Day. Normally we don’t post on Saturday’s but this is a subject very near and dear to our heart. So get ready…there are a lot of pictures here so you might want to grab a cuppa of something tasty, sit back and see out how Norman celebrated his first National Pet Therapy Day. Special thanks to Ann at Zoolatry for the ‘wagnificent’ badge celebrating today.
As a hospital ‘Dogtor’ Norman regularly visits patients and staff at a local medical center which includes a hospital, hospice and mental health center every month. We try to raise awareness by educating the public on the role therapy animals play in enhancing health and well-being of humans-be they patients or staff and bring a bit of comfort to all we encounter. A few days ago, the hospital hosted a special event in support of National Pet Therapy Day.
Various pet therapy teams assembled outside the front entrance of the hospital to meet and greet visitors and staff.The event was extra festive as the Volunteer Department provided a dog-bone shaped cake for the dogs with treat bags for them and their handlers. The cake must have been quite tasty judging by all those slurping tongues among the attendees.
It was great seeing the dogs together with their owners. When Sam and I began pet therapy over eight years ago, there were more than 50 dogs. The passage of time has sadly thinned our ranks and we’re down to just over a dozen ‘Dogtors” these days. But there is a diverse variety of pure and mixed breeds in the program from tiny Chihuahua Bindee, to ginormous OES Norman along with Corgi Zoe; miniature poodle, Roxie; Golden Retriever Rylie; yellow Lab Fiona; Italian Spinone, Bella; and agility champion Shetland Sheepdogs, Logan and Bismark. One of Norman’s favorite pals is Oreo, a sweet Shih Tzu who had been very sick earlier this year but who has recovered and returned back to work. Also in attendance were deaf dog Spanish Galgo Greyhound, Penny. Other therapy dogs not in attendance include Bellaroo, a Lab/Husky/Border Collie mix; Corgi-mix, Teagan; Coco, a retriever mix; GoldenDoodle, Dolly; and Standard Poodle, Indie. All the dogs are loved by patients and staff alike.
The pet therapy teams initially milled about catching up and greeting one another as well as visitors and staff before cake was served.
The ‘pawparazzi’ always show up for events like this. Not only is Norman the largest dog in the program, he’s also the furriest with a soft coat that begs to be touched.
Norman loves everyone and is always a hit with kids, young and old alike. He’s also a favorite of Kyle, the hospital valet attendant who always spoils him with lots of attention.
That cake looked tasty enough for humans to eat but was especially baked for the dogs. [Note the blue tongue from the frosting on Bindee-probably safe to say she liked it.]
Once everyone had their fill of cake, treats and attention, we had a mini-parade near the hospital entrance. Norman and Roxie were co-Grand Marshalls. Roxie, being the ultimate professional she is, followed the route perfectly. Norman, ever the gentlemen, let her lead…but I think mostly because he had to stop and visit with each photographer and well-wisher along the route. He may also have also been hunting for more treats.
All in all it was a fun event enjoyed by all attendees. While Norman isn’t officially ‘certified’ through Alliance of Therapy Dogs or any other therapy group, I have no doubt he could easily pass any certification exam. He loves people and always seems ready to bring a smile to their face.
What about your dog…do you think he or she could be a therapy dog? To be clear, all of our therapy dogs are evaluated twice a year by board certified vets to make sure they are up for the task and each handler must pass an annual safety exam to ensure they are up to date on all hospital rules as well as all HIPAA regulations.
Live, love, bark! 🐾