Medicine and Inspiration

Good boy!
Good boy!

Seems to me that medicine can be delivered in a couple a ways. Of course, there’s the traditional way through IV’s and meds administered by staff and then there’s the 4-legged love-meds that pet therapy animals deliver through a nudge on a patient’s hand or by a wagging tail. I’m kind of partial to the 4-legged version. I’ve seen it work wonders.   Like the patient we recently visited whose blood pressure was taken and it was sky high.  The patient smiled weakly and called Sam over to him.  Now Sam handles being around medical equipment with very little difficulty but I’m always kind of nervous that he might step on a tube or pull out a line and this guy was pretty wired up. Sam edged his way over to him and sat in front of the guy’s legs. After the first reading, the nurse said “hmm, let’s try it on the other arm and see what we get.” It took her a minute or so to maneuver around to his other side.  Meanwhile the patient is massaging Sam’s ears and Sam is of course soaking up the attention and he lays his head against the man’s thigh (this is the only “trick” this goofy dog will do).

By the time the nurse got around to the other side and took another reading, the pressure was nearly normal!  She was a little surprised at the big difference but the patient just smiled and said (as he pointed to Sam), this is the reason it’s better.  Dogs are miracle workers.  We talked about the incredible ability of dogs as they help patients keep their vitals more normal and the peace these amazing creatures provide patients. The couple recalled stories about their own dogs that had meant so much to them throughout their lives and how grateful they were to have had a dose of that magic 4-legged medicine that day.

I’ve seen that 4-legged love inspire people in other situations, too. Like my friend Sara (who maintains quite the work out regimen) recently told me, she finds Frances, the ‘gym mascot’ there to give her just enough inspiration to put in those last tough reps. She’s told me there are times she’d like to quit but a gentle flick of her tongue or those adoring sweet brown eyes and a wagging tail always gets her to dig down deep and finish her set.  It makes her feel accomplished and inspired.  How can you beat that?

Whenever we end a shift, I know we have made a difference in the health of patients and their families, just like with this guy and his wife. Too often we take animals for granted, but the bond between patients and dogs is irrefutable and continues to amaze me especially when I see results like that.

So what if you’re a rotten hound some days (like when you snitch a piece of cheese off the table or roust through the garbage)…you made a patient and his wife manage to feel a little bit better and that’s what this is all about. ❤️

To all the Frances’ and Sam’s…way to go!

National Cancer Survivors Day

National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual event celebrated world wide in hundreds of communities to celebrate cancer survivors, inspire those recently diagnosed, support families and reach out to communities affected by cancer.  With more than 14 million survivors in America, we all probably know someone who has beaten cancer. Today Sam and I celebrated their survival as the hospital held its 7th Annual “Leaves of Hope” event.  And although I’m still a bit jet-lagged from the long flight home, Sam and I crossed the finish line before all the other pet therapy dogs. Yay, Sam. 🐾

Whenever we represent the pet therapy program at the hospital, I’m very proud of my fur-kid.  He always does his best even if he tried like hell to snatch a bagel off the breakfast-for-survivors table.  Clearly there’s work to be done about his table manners.  I just can’t help wondering where in that stupid pea-brain did he think snitching a bagel would be acceptable??  Goofy dog.  But he was mellow and his usual friendly self around all the dogs, the runners, and the chaos associated with an event that had 750 runners (a new record this year-woot!), race personnel, cancer survivors and other supporters/volunteers at this event.  As we walked through the health and safety expo, we were greeted with smiles and appreciation for being part of the pet therapy team by countless survivors.  When I see these former patients, I can’t help but marvel at their courage, their resilience, their optimism.  They’re the ones that inspire Sam and I every single time we have the privilege to do a hospital shift.  I am profoundly in awe of their human spirit and ever so thankful for my own life blessings.   They give me so much to contemplate and I am driven to help them out any way possible.  What Sam and I do seems so minor and yet their faces told me otherwise.  For this, I am extremely humbled.

To those who have to deal with this terrible disease, know we are here for you.  At events like this, as well as walking through the oncology floor trying our damnedest to lighten your load just a bit with a smile, a kind word and a tail wag.  Through research and events like this one we will beat this rotten bastard of a disease and together we’ll continue to celebrate your life.

Ok, now what?

When you give birth to a baby, you go through all kinds of hell with excruciating labor pains etc. and creating this blog has been pretty much like that.  I’m totally tuckered out to the point my brain hurts to even think about creating clever posts.  While I was setting up hyperventilating over the details relating to the blog, I had tons of ideas on what I thought would be fantastic posts.  Now that we’re out of the delivery room so to speak…I got bupkus. I mean where in the bloody blue blazes did all those great ideas and stories go?

Maybe hypnosis can get this baby back on track? For now I’m sleep deprived and brain dead just like any new mom. I sure hope that numskull dog does something adorable, inspirational or funny or this will be the shortest lived blog in history.   Fingers crossed that some sleep and/or alcohol will rejuvenate the creative process. Till then what do you want to talk about?  Anybody…somebody?