The ‘Dogtor’ Is In ~ National Pet Therapy Edition

National Pet Therapy Day

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.

Norman

Dogtor NormanAs 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.

Cake

Bindee
Our pal, Bindee, has the longest tongue I’ve ever seen on such a little dog.

Dogs

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;ย  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.

Fiona
Pet therapist Fiona with her handler.
Norman
Norman with Roxie, Zoe, Logan, and Bismark (L-R).

The pet therapy teams initially milled about catching up and greeting one another as well as visitors and staff before cake was served.

Norman & Oreo
Norman greets pal, Oreo.
Norman
Norman with the ‘Pawparazzi’

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

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.

Norman

Norman

Cake

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.]

Bindee
Bindee and her blue blep.
Norman
How come I got such a tiny little piece of cake, mum?
Norman & Roxie
Roxie and Norman.

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.

Roxie

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! ๐Ÿพ

59 thoughts on “The ‘Dogtor’ Is In ~ National Pet Therapy Edition

  1. Great photographs of what looks like a great place for dogs and humans. I think I mentioned before that we don’t have hospital dogs here but we have school dogs – dogs that sit with a child or several children and they read to the dog and it helps them gain confidence. If my Benji were there, he would chew the books and have the children playing tag. :o)

    1. There are reader dogs here too; I’ve thought about doing something like that for Norman. He seems to enjoy being around kids and probably be quite good as a reader dog but some kids are intimidated by his size despite him being a big ole softie. Sweet Benji…he’d make a great player at tag.

    1. It was so nice seeing so many folks turn out. It’d been far too long. Looking forward to seeing how the interviews were chronicled.

  2. Thanks for sharing all about the therapy dogs! It is such an important service!

    1. It something Iโ€™m very passionate about after years with Sam who was the most amazing therapy dog I ever saw.

    2. Thank you! Yes, it’s been particularly good for the staff who are still catching their breath after such a long time dealing with COVID.

    1. It sure was-I love it when we can meet up with the rest of the team. It’s great to see small and large pooches together again.

    1. Many thanks for the kind words and for swinging by the Ranch. We ๐Ÿ’™ visitors.

  3. When the two current therapy pups come to where I work, all the staff and most of the residents are smiling and want to have their chance at a good snuggle.

    Thank you Norman for all you do, and for your Mom to help you to get to your venues to do it!

    We think Benji might enjoy that kind of thing, too…with a bit more polish on his manners, LOL! Dalton?…he needs the therapy! BOL!

    1. BOL…you’re too funny. I was always blown away when Sam did his therapy work. He was a knuckleheaded pogo-stick all the time…until we pulled into the parking lot at the hospital. Then this amazing, well behaved dogtor emerged and went to work. It was the most amazing transformation I’d ever witnessed. ๐Ÿ’™

  4. Hi Norman, it’s nice to meet you. Your work as a Dogtor sounds very impawtant. We are very impressed and are glad Junie sent us over to meet you.

    1. The pleasure is all ours. Many thanks for swinging by the Ranch (with much gratitude to Junie as well). We ๐Ÿ’™ visitors.

  5. Happy Pet therapy Day! What an event! We LOVE all the people and pets who pawticipate in such a wonderful thing. When our Dad was in the hospital he LOVED having the dogs come and visit especially since us guys could not come and visit!. You guys ROCK! Purrs Marv, Jo Jo, Kozmo and Cinnamon

    1. Many thanks, Marv, Jo Jo, Kozmo and Cinnamon. Visiting dogs are a big hit with patients, their visitors and nurses alike and we’re always pleased when we see them smile.

  6. ****HI-5’ss**** Sweet Norman!! Yore an amazin Dogtor an wee are honored to now you!!!
    So many lovelee Poohiess that follow inn yore paw stepss. Wee love that cute Corgi Poochie!! Corgi’ss are cutiess!
    Butt NO Poochie iss like you Sweet Norman! Yore #1 <3 <3 <3
    ***nose bopss*** BellaDharma an {{{huggiess}}} BellaSita Mum

  7. Such good, sweet, doggies doing such important work. I used to work as a therapy dog at the VA and library. When Covid hit, they closed to volunteers. We never went back. It was fun and rewarding work. We miss it.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

    1. It’s very heartwarming to be part of something so special and to see how much they contribute to the health and well-being of both patients and staff.

    1. You might be surprised-Sam was the bounciest pogo stick I ever knew but when he got to the hospital, he was completely transformed.

  8. The hospitals where Lexi did therapy never introduced the other therapy folks and animals or had any events for them. I sure never was given a list of rules! And Lexi was never officially certified, but had to pass some tests to be allowed into the program. You bunch are so much more organized! Lexi was also the only small dog who did therapy in the local hospitals, so it was great seeing all the small dogs there! BTW, did the peeps get any cake, LOL?

    1. Sometimes I’ve wondered why sharing of vital info among pet therapy volunteers can be lacking. It’s one reason I joined the Volunteer Executive Committee to implement positive changes on behalf of all volunteers. Too often, we in pet therapy have felt like stepkids. ๐Ÿ˜•

  9. Therapy cats — let’s see, hiding under the bed, slurping patients water, curling up in the middle of the bed. Hmmmm. That was a dang good looking cake.

    1. Ha! I think many patients would love the company in bed. I know they allow patients to have visits from home with their cats but have had to interaction with any out of respect for patients and their families. ๐Ÿ˜ป

  10. That was a wonderful event! All the dogs and owners are heroes but of course our FAVE is Normie with his Mom. The joy you all bring to patients and families and those who need some distraction is HUGE. Bless all of you.

    Love, Pam and Teddy too
    p.s. Teddy couldn’t be a therapy animal – he’s a Mama’s boy! LOL

    1. It was a very nice event-thank you for your kind words. Norman is a bit of a mama’s boy too and checks in with me to see if it’s ok to say hi to someone else. It’s kind of sweet getting ‘my approval.’ ๐Ÿ˜

  11. There is nothing more rewarding than therapy animal work – it’s the highlight for me – everyday. Norman is adorable!!!! Thank you so much for what you contribute to your program, words are never enough when you think about the lives you touch when you are volunteering. Congratulations and enjoy your day – you both deserve it!

    1. Thank you! It truly is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve been able to do in my adult life even though Norman does all the work (I just am his chauffeur). Volunteering is such a joyful endeavor-it does one’s heart such good and brings such joy to others.

  12. Hi Norman ~ what a wonderful event and so well deserved. Thanks for introducing us to all your amazing Paw Partners in Therapy, each and every one of you are so very special and we commend you for all you do and all you give. Thank You!

    1. Thank you, Ann. When I see how much patients and nurses enjoy the visits, I can’t help but feel like we’re helping others. And thanks again for the superb badge-well done!

  13. What fun! The blue tongue made me laugh! What a great mission and outing, they deserve to be celebrated!

    1. It made us all laugh! Little Bindee has a very endearing blep anyway but seeing it blue was just too funny.

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