Sam here…back from our big road trip. Boy, oh boy…was that something else! Remind me to NOT jones for another road trip for a while. Ok, we all know I’ll run out and stand next to the car every chance I get but still for some unknown reason wanting to go, go, go, I can never remember what it is that I don’t like about riding in the car specifically but I really don’t. What is wrong with me??
Any who…it’s that time again where the nice folks from pet therapy evaluate me say nice things about me. But first, they had to check me out and make sure I was stable enough to continue to do therapy work. Stable enough? What does that mean?! I was beyond happy when mom pulled up in the hospital parking lot. I leapt with joy down the hall knowing I was gonna see my fur-iends and nurses there. My paws were crossed that the big hunk of a girlfriend, Truffles would be there so I could say hi and impress her…like I always do (heh, heh). And sure enough…she was there!!! Oh joy, be still my beating heart. <3
The visiting vet was so nice to me and gave me loads of treats as she was examining me. If I remember correctly her name was Dr. Roberts, but truthfully I was so excited she liked me that I kind of forgot and just gave her some “sugar” on her nose. Ooh, ooh, I love me some tasty treats. My girlfriend Truffles pushed me out of the way a couple of times to get some of those tasty treats but that’s ok, she deserves lots of yummies and by golly if I can be the prince to get them for her, so much the better. Remember, I’m a gentleman when it comes to the ladies. The mere fact that she’s twice as big as me doesn’t have anything to do with it. So there. I think the vet really liked me though. What do you think?
She sure knew how to rub my ears just right and it was great being back at the hospital too. I pogo-sticked my way down the hall toward the volunteer’s office to meet her. Good thing there weren’t too many people around or mom would have been embarrassed to pieces. A couple of the nurses I especially like came by for snuggles and tail wags on their way to their shifts. I happily obliged them with both and a nice lean on their legs and they showered me with attention. It’s so good to be back. We took a leave of absence while my Omi was recovering from her illness. We’ll be visiting patients next week and I for one, can’t wait to bring smiles to everyone we’ll get to visit with then. Color me one lucky dog!
Ahh, Brooklyn, the most populous and ever so hip borough in New York City. Well I can tell you flat out, Brooklyn ain’t just in NYC!
So over the weekend we hit the hospital/hospice trail. It was a glorious Autumn day while we weren’t able to visit with any patients on Sunday (they were all either asleep or unable to have visitors) it that didn’t stop us from having a terrific day. Little precious Brooklyn, an adorable 18-month old toddler spotted Sam from the opposite end of a the hallway, and came running up to hug him, squealing “doggie!, doggie!” the whole length of the hallway. I wish I would have had the presence to video her and Sam’s reaction. He was so excited to see a little kid tottering toward him since he absolutely loves little kids anyway and especially little girls. His tail was furiously wagging. Brooklyn and her family were visiting her grandpa who was being moved from one room to another so the family was migrating with their personal items toward the new location. Like most little kids, she was completely captivated by his super soft hair and continually wove her fingers through it the whole time she petted him. They had quite the ‘visit’ with her smiling and speaking an unintelligible language, but saying his name over and over. It really was quite cute.
After spending quite a bit of time chatting with Brooklyn and her lovely family, we visited with a number of staff members. I am in awe of the work they do daily; their giving just never seems to stop-be it for patients, visitors, or one another. They all wanted to take time out to get in a few ear scratches and enjoy the ever present “I really like you lean-in” from Sam who seriously crushes on more than a couple nurses.
Saturday we were scheduled to visit the Senior Behavioral Health unit, an inpatient geriatric psychiatry program at the hospital designed to address the complex mental health and medical needs of older patients. We have visited this floor before, but this time I was particularly struck by the fact that 99% of all the patients were elderly women. Is it because women live longer as a general rule or is it something else? In any event, we spent a lot of time with Annie and Karen. Despite my lack of formal training, I was struck by the fact that both women appeared lucid, knew what was going on around them and were very much aware of what was going on in the outside world. Annie, at age 82 was a real charmer. She had a twinkle in her eye and was completely captivated by Sam who made her beam from ear to ear as he leaned against her leg and looked fondly into her sparkly blue eyes. She was ever grateful we took time to visit her and thanked us repeatedly. I suspect she may have been quite the gal in her time. She left me with a smile in my heart at meeting this lovely woman despite her future being a bit uncertain with unresolved issues as to where she would be going next.
After visiting with Annie, we talked for an extended time with Karen who was in better physical shape and younger. Both Karen and Annie were to be released some time this week and both mentioned they had no family to go ‘home to’ which left me sad. I wonder how many women across the country are in the same position? And why as a society have we allowed so many to get in that position?
As you can see, Karen enjoyed her time with Sam and we talked about her family and how they’d abandoned her and how she decided to ‘create a new family’ for the holidays. She gave me her recipe for pecan pie right off the top of her head and asked if we had family to visit for Thanksgiving and if not, to please come by; she’d love to have both Sam and I. The gracious invitation from this kindly Southern-raised woman was tempting though I know my own family will be assembling for the annual football and food fest and we’ll have much to be thankful for this year (more on that in a later post). She continued on with the details surrounding the preparations for the roasted pig and shoat she was going to serve (doing it southern style for 3 days in the ground and wondering out loud as to where she’d get banana leaves to wrap the pit). I offered a solution which she thought might work and she made a note to herself to contact a floral shop about getting some from them.
While I have many more thoughts about Karen, Annie and folks like them, I will continue to contemplate the state of health care for older people, particularly women. Still, all in all it was a good weekend to visit with patients and staff.
Have you ever wondered what happens to older patients with no family to care for them? What are your thoughts?
Sam may have a new budding career as a super model. Our Pet Therapy program has only one fundraiser which bankrolls the program throughout the course of the year with sales of the pet therapy calendar at the gift shop which includes photos of all the participating therapy pups. Who doesn’t love seeing photos of pet therapy pooches-no one apparently because we sell out every year. Over the weekend, the calendar came out and I’m happy to share that Sam is rocking the runway with his own month for 2016. After working with patients both Saturday and Sunday, the puparazzi swarmed him but this boy took time out of his busy modeling schedule to pose in the garden. Though it’s not the photo I thought they’d use in the calendar, we’re nonetheless thrilled with him finally having a month all to himself to showcase his doofus-ness in all its glory. All of the pups had fabulous entries so it’s no doubt difficult to pick out which one will be featured with such a terrific group of pooches.
Though he’ll always be a super model in my mind, I think he looks pretty swell as 2016’s Mr. October. 🐾
How was your weekend? Paws crossed that all our friends on the East Coast survived the rain and kept safe from Joaquin’s high water levels. We’ve had you in our thoughts and prayers.
This past week was pure hell. There I said it. Work was beyond dreadful with challenges like I’ve never seen, this all coming on the heels of a fantastic week (guess the pendulum does swing both ways 🙁 ) All in all it was one of the worst weeks in a long time. So it made perfect sense to end all that with a stint at the hospital.
Sam and I needed to recharge our soul batteries and I can think of no better way then to give back to those to absolutely need the kind of energy Sam can bring. And what visits we had including being chatted up by 3 fellow Standard Poodle owners. Woo-hoo!
Sam knew right away we were heading for the hospital as soon as I pulled his bandana down and was he ever excited, jumping around like the pogo-stick that he is when he expresses his joy (it was all I could do to get him to ‘sit’ for this pic-notice he’s on ready to spring into action with his hind legs though). Becoming impatient with me while I was getting stuff together, he started whining loudly and when that didn’t jib with his dog watch timetable, he resorted to loudly barking at me and racing around in circles in front of the doorway…something he almost never does unless you’re the serial killer mail lady. Once I gathered everything we needed (you know…treats), we were off. Sam left skid marks out the door, raced over toward the garage and stood there dumbfounded since the door wasn’t open. The look on his face said what the heck?! He shot me a withering glance as if I had just stepped on his baby sister’s tail. I had to laugh at his reaction (I had moved the car out on the street earlier). As I moved toward the street and he heard the familiar click of the doors unlocking and he bounced out toward the car. I nearly had a heart attack as he started moving into the street as if to enter the car through the hatch door (stupid dog!) but when I opened the side door that he normally enters, he jumped in faster than a flea hopping on a dog. He was certainly R-E-A-D-Y to get to get going and get to work. 🐾
Once we got to the hospital he shifted into his ‘going to work’ stride. Head and tail erect, confident and purposeful gait. We first visited with the high schoolers manning the information desk as well as Sam’s buddies in the gift shop. Can I just say I totally love it when young male volunteers turn into puddles of cooing baby talk with loads of ahh-ing around Sam? So adorable.
The first person we visited with up on the floor was actually a visitor who was with his adult son in the hallway. He immediately (and correctly) identified Sam as a Standard Poodle. Normally that shouldn’t be a big deal, but because of his coloring, 99% of people we encounter think Sam is some sort of doodle hybrid. He told me about his black standard, BB who was over 17 when he passed recently. 17 years old? Seriously, were you giving him water from the Fountain of Youth??? Holy yikes, that’s quite the number with ANY dog, let along, a large one. We chatted a bit and some visitors from a nearby room came by and entered into the conversation. Then a patient getting in a couple of laps around the floor joined our merry little band and we all had a lovely visit talking up the virtues of Standard Poodles.
Later we stopped by BB’s mom who was a patient. She was laying on her bed, adorably cute and very diminutive with a sassy ball cap with a flower on the side. She was so excited to see Sam and told me about her sweet BB who guarded her whenever people were around. Apparently BB was not one to shirk his duties unlike another standard poodle I know who would probably point toward the jewelry box if a stranger came in the house (normally poodles are excellent guard dogs but nothing is very normal about Sam). Allie really enjoyed Sam’s visit and we left her smiling and grateful after a few minutes since she was pretty tired and needed to get ready for some medical tests that afternoon.
After visiting with other folks familiar with Standards and hearing their personal stories about those super smart dogs (I’m jealous at the lucky owners at times though I am reminded you just can’t buy Sam’s level of sweetness). We left for hospice and met the Ressler’s who owned a Standard Poodle named Sumo (get it, “sumo wrestler?” 🙂 ). They were such a sweet family, with kids, sons and daughters visiting and Sam was in hog heaven with all the attention moving from one member to the next.
Sometimes when Sam is on duty at the hospital, he seems far more focused on me rather than patients. He watches me and my every move carefully though I’m not sure exactly why my dog must be a mama’s boy, sigh. When he realizes the Pez treat dispenser was no longer flowing, he became a little more engaged. Seriously, I’m gonna have to make him work first then get treats later. But he will lick his chops on command (both sides on cue even) and everyone seems to love that particular (and only) trick that the dimwit will perform.
We were at the hospital nearly two hours, a long time for him to be so on target for and it started to show. By the time we were finished I could tell he’d hit the wall. We went home and he took a long, deep sleep, ready for his next adventure on the evening walk.
On Sunday he was even more focused on me except when we made our rounds among the high school volunteers (Sam has a long history of loving kids and these kids are no exception). One new young and especially petite girl absolutely fell in love with Sam. I thought she was gonna kidnap him and judging by the heavy lean into her (causing her to nearly topple over by the way!), I think he’d have readily gone home with her. That is until I touched the magic pocket with the high value treats. Hey, I’m no ordinary fool! Plus when we got home I gave him an elk antler for all his efforts making people smile.
So what did you do this past glorious weekend? Enjoying the pre-Autumnal weather?
This weekend was hospital/hospice duty and coincidently, it was also a 2 year anniversary of my reconstructive surgery from a bad motor scooter accident. Our current duties gave me pause paws to reflect about that day two years ago where Sam demonstrated why he’s such a great therapy dog.
I knew he would be-this dog loves people more than oxygen. He loves to be around people, even when they run up to him squealing and carry on, with loud voices, people with cigarettes, with strollers, dogs with retractable garroting leashes. He loves them all. And he has shown me those loving feelings over and over again.
Two years ago he literally took care of me. Oh sure, my daughter made sure I made all my doctor appointments and follow-up sessions, but Sam was there next to me on the sofa when I couldn’t sleep due to pain, when I couldn’t get comfortable to save my soul. When I had to go to the bathroom, he was there, watching me, making sure I was safe. He couldn’t do anything like help me get dressed (it’s amazing when you can do when you have to by the way) but he always supervised, making sure I didn’t do anything to pull out stitches, or bump the shoulder against a door jamb. He watched me like a hawk and checked in countless times during the day, putting his head on my knee or thigh, looking up at me with soulful amber eyes, as if to say “You need anything?” His companionship was paramount in my healing process and I often wonder if his assistance made the difference in my recovery. It was then and it is still is today.
Sunday was our day to visit hospice and the coronary ICU unit. As is typically our MO, we mill around the hospital coffee shop and first floor reception areas, swing by the gift shop and generally check the pulse of goings-on before we head up to our assignment. A small little shoeless girl saw Sam and squealed with delight rushing up to us, yelling “Doggy!” Her mom came from around a partition and said, “Don’t run up to the dog,” but she was in motion and we all know moving objects tend to keep moving and with her will, I suspect she was not to be contained. I said, it was fine, Sam ‘loves little girls’ so the mom acquiesced. the little girl oohed-and-ahed over Sam and was delighted at his super fluffy coat (yup, another bath day torment session but that’s a whole different story). She put a huge kiddy bear hug around Sam’s neck and while he checked in with me through his eyes, but he never moved a muscle. Just stood there and let her hug the dickens out of him. Her mom kept saying, “Don’t squeeze so hard,” but she couldn’t seem to let go of Sam. He let her hug him and I let him do what he does best, minister to people, large or small.
After our encounter, we proceeded to our assigned floor, had some amazing connections with some really remarkable people and I couldn’t stop thinking about how Sam takes everything all in stride, today as well as he did two years ago.
We finished up at ICU and then went on over to hospice. There weren’t many patients to visit, though we got in some quality doctor and nurse time which is always gratifying-I know they need the therapy dogs as much as the patients do. The one patient we did get to visit was more than a challenge. She was unhappy that her son and grandson hadn’t visited her, she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t get the video player work so she could hear a movie and begged me to put a different DVD in for her. I tried to accommodate her while Sam watched. He watched this woman and tried to get her to focus on him, She wasn’t really up for a dog visit, preferring to make us run to get a nurse to ‘fix that damn thing’ and then a second trip get her a glass of milk. We did both without complaint. And once we got her settled in, her breath leveled off and she relaxed by letting go of all the things that aggravated her and sank back to watch the movie. We left her shortly thereafter, the end result of the mental numbing watching a movie although I doubt she heard me say goodbye knowing she’d be falling asleep soon. And that was ok, I cannot imagine being alone in a hospice center knowing the end was near and not being able to make the last few moments of life be somewhat enjoyable or at least comfortable. That’s cool, but I hope that when my time comes, I want to leave this earth with dignity and graciousness. The idea of being fussy and crabbish is too overwhelming for me. Please understand I say that with no malice or judgment, just that once again, another person is alone at the time when they especially need their family which may have been why she was so cantankerous. But who knows?
After a very long, deep nap when we got home, Sam was ready to go out for our evening constitution. We walked our usual route and ran into several people who asked if they could stop and pet Sam. One woman who was walking with her daughter stopped us and asked if she could pet Sam. We chatted for a few minutes and Sam’s therapy work came up. She replied, how coincidental since they we’re out trying to suss out a difficult problem and she thought this therapy diversion might be just the ticket. She looked into Sam’s face and asked him whether he could give her some momentary balance because she needed it. I gulped hard thinking she might break down and sob, but said of course. Both she and the daughter petted and hugged Sam for a long time and again, he stood there, patient, motionless knowing he was doing what he was meant to do. When we finally bid our farewells, I couldn’t help but see this affable goofball in a proud light. He proved once again, his work never stops…he’s always on the clock and so the naps he takes are exactly what he needs to rejuvenate and be ready for the next one who will need him, be it me, a patient, doctor or nurse or someone just out walking the neighborhood.
Does you dog provide you with life balance and comfort at those exact times when you most need it?
Today’s edition revolves around the concept of motion. In my ongoing effort to learn how to speak and understand “Doglish” I’ve discovered that “Eas-y” apparently means go as fast as you can up or down stairs (rather than take the stairs slowly and safely). 🙂 I know Sam isn’t wild about stairways; we don’t have them at our house and he’s never quite sure how to maneuver up and down without moving at the speed of sound. As hospital volunteers, we must be able to navigate them as a team in the event of an emergency. Every trip to the hospital, I start out by taking at least one flight of stairs to keep Sam on his game. Practice makes perfect, right? With our last trip, there was some serious doubt we could safely handle any more than one flight. Safely being the operative word here. We started out ok, but then he suddenly seemed to realize “Egad, I’m doing something I know nothing about and must freak out and run as fast as I can to get away from these horrible stacked obstacles.” He went from zero to 60 in a nano-second! It was all I could do not to scream my head off like a school girl and just hang on to the leash for dear life. Oh Sam, I really do love you but I’m convinced you’re secretly trying to kill me every opportunity you get.
This week we needed to be re-evaluated for temperament and checked out by the vet who works with our program. Dr. Sarah is a dream. She loves all the dogs, makes time for butt and ear scratches while going through the drill, checking each dog professionally, and quite measured-read…s-l-o-w-l-y. We do this every 6 months, and we’ve been through it enough that I have never worried about it in the past. Sam adapts well and typically just stands there while the laying of hands and banging of utensils go on around him while I answer questions about him for the records. He never flinches and we’re usually in and out in a jiffy. But when we showed up the other evening, a miniature Schnauzer also in the program was there ahead of us. Sweet little Odie is about as cute as a button and was wagging the little stump of a tail nearly clean off when he saw Sam. Sam took one look at him and started doing his jack rabbit run/bounce/jump maneuver like a canine gazelle to investigate just who was this little wind-up toy. Again, it pays to be dead weight some times, because I was sure he would (a) either rip my shoulder out of the socket or (b) pull me down on my bum side. Heel or stop please help me! commands didn’t seem to affect Sam. He saw his little buddy and by golly, he was gonna go say hi…no if’s and’s or but’s about it. While it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, at least I didn’t fall or injure my shoulder, but only barely. But Sam saved the best of his evening antics for Dr. Sarah. Yeah, there’s actually more.
Sam burst into the office where the evals were held like a bull in a china shop and ran around the table hither and fro investigating everything and in a blink of an eye even tried to hop up onto the table to check out what was that divine odor he could smell. There were some really high value treats that completely captivated him along with the various props that are used to see if the dogs react that he just had to get his big honking nose in the middle of while the rest of us were totally wigging out at his energy level and quickness not to mention the audacity of climbing up there on the table. I was mortified, Dr. Sarah was somewhat surprised (ya think?) and the coordinator was laughing her head off and kept saying, “Dr. Sarah, this dog is almost ten years old, can you believe it?” That numskull! In his feeble brain, apparently “come” at a re-certification evaluation means run around like a crazy nut case and freak everyone out while entertaining your newest BFF, Odie. At least Odie remained cool with it all, little stub of a tail never stopping for a second. 😉
[Full disclosure, the above photo is a reenactment since I wasn’t quick enough to snap a photo at the hospital. I was too busy tripping over my jaw from the shock of seeing that doofus nearly tear the entire room apart with his excitement but fortunately Sam was more than willing to help with ‘staging’ it again. Perhaps ‘help’ in Doglish means he’ll do anything if there are treats involved.] ;)
Oh that dog! Have you mastered Doglish yet? Got any tips that I might use on this bonehead?
Sam here. This past weekend mom took me to the annual awards ceremony for pet therapy volunteers. This is where all my pals and their pawrents get together to snack on food, catch up since the last time they saw each other and congratulate everyone on all the hours and visits for the entire team. This year’s turnout was lighter than in past years, guess it’s harder to schedule a get-together sometimes since some people were wrapping up vacations and out of town travel before school starts but those of us who were there still had a good time.
Looks like mom’s driving me to the hospital has paid off, I had 59 visits and received a ‘bronze paw’ for more than 50 visits. Woof, woof! Thanks, mom.
This year we are all sad because our favorite toy poodle, Teddy is leaving the program. Teddy is moving nearly 150 miles away and we’re all going to miss this sweet little boy and his biped, Mary Ann. She gave me lots of ear scratches and Teddy loves mom’s homemade treats, so we made them some to take along for the drive to their new home. I helped in the kitchen by laying in the way when mom tried to pull them out of the oven. It’s important for me to supervise the making of treats-I have to put my paw of approval on all of them before they go to anyone. Nom, nom. This batch was A-OK.
Here is our own Ms. Lilly with her mom Roxanne. Lilly is a greyhound who has over 600 visits-more than any other dog in our program. A retired racer, Lilly has been with the program for a number of years. She’s a real sweetie and a great ambassador for pet therapy and greyhound rescue.
My fur-iend and fellow Standard Poodle, Zeva and her mom Sharon, had more than 100 visits. There are loads of pawsome pets who bring happiness and joy to patients, staff and visitors alike. They are such a terrific group of dogs with some of the most adorable faces. Can you see why the patients love these guys? Don’t you just want to hug them?
What exciting things did you guys do over the weekend?
Sam here. Boy oh boy, did we have a good weekend at hospice and hospital though it started out decidedly unpleasant for me.
Nobody warned me I had to take a bath again! After all, I just had one last month. And here I thought you peeps had my back. 😉 So mom tricked got me into the bathroom with a couple treats. Can’t believe I fell for all her sweet talk…again! That woman knows exactly how to torture me and it’s a four-letter word I can’t even say…B-A-T-H. Blech, I hate baths, but I was mostly a very good boy and stayed there and took it like a man like the pitiful wuss I really am when it comes to water. She used a new conditioning shampoo that smells pretty good if I do say so myself with Rosemary and Mint. If I wasn’t so scared in the bathtub, I might have licked it off.
After the bath water torture, she use the hairdryer on me. The only thing I despise more than bath time is the drying misery. Fortunately she toweled me off really well before hand so the drying with the blowing air torture device was minimal. But then she brought out the clippers to trip my feet, ears, tail and bum the torture continues. Boy, I must say though, she did a pretty good job; several people even commented on how handsome I looked and when I looked down at my paws, they even impressed me. I wonder why Heather at the groomers can’t seem to get my toes quite that spiffy. Maybe I do too much of the fast paw-dance for her. Heh, heh.
Once mom put my bandana on, I hightailed as fast as I could toward the car. I even barked at her a few times-something I rarely do. I really wanted to go to the hospital and she was lollygagging around. Man, she moved so s-l-o-w-l-y I never thought we’d get to the hospital. Open up the car door, woman and let me in! Sheesh, I already do all the work at the hospital, do I have to drive now too?
Once we finally got there, there were loads of patients and visitors I was able to visit receive tons of attention from and I got to see my favorite nurse at hospice. I totally love Ann and there she was…woof, woof! I leaned in real close to get her attention and it worked. She gave me a big hug!
A couple of patients didn’t want to see me though on Sunday. The first lady had some people visiting her and when my mom knocked on her door to ask if she’d like a visit from pet therapy, she said no at the exact same time her visitors all shouted YES! She laughed and then invited us in to say hi to everyone. I had so much fun going from one person to the next one. I could hardly contain my glee and nearly wagged my tail completely off. Then as they were talking to my mom, I decided I should just lay down next to the bed. That means I’m very comfortable with the people and energy in the room. They thought I was tired but mom explained it’s just my way of letting them know I’m on guard duty. When we left, the patient said she was very glad I came in to visit.
The other lady was all alone at hospice. She smiled at me but said she “didn’t care for a visit from a dog.” Mom was very nice and smiled back, saying no worries and we moved down the hall to another family that really wanted to pet me. Mom told me that if she was ever in hospice she hoped that she’d ALWAYS want a visit from a pet therapy dog. I didn’t understand what was going on. I mean I took a bath, groomed up all fluffy and super handsome and was a complete gentleman. I guess some people just don’t like dogs. Maybe she was in a lot of pain, I don’t know, but it made me a little sad andI think it made mom a little sad too knowing I wasn’t able to spread my magic Ju-Ju on her.
We also visited with some of the staff. One nursing assistant dropped the bedding she was changing and ran over to hug and pet me, squealing like a little girl. She really loved dogs and kept saying how wonderful I was. I caught mom beaming at me and then the treats started coming. Finally!
We were there for quite a while on Sunday and when we came home I crashed took a nap. Making people smile takes a lot out of me and I need to reenergize so we can take nice long evening walks when I wake up.
What did you do over the weekend? Did you have as much fun as we did?
Even though it was a few days before July 4th, I didn’t get a chance to share our adventures last weekend when we had shifts. Sam brought the same red, white and blue spirit to hospice and hospital as he does every time we go. When we went into the gift shop to say hello to the volunteer high school girls he loves so much, I spied a battery operated necklace that would show off Sam’s ‘howliday’ spirit. Everyone seemed to love it especially when Sam cast a handsome pose my patriotic buddy in the lobby, all lit up.
A young woman came down from visiting her mom while Sam was posing and asked if we wouldn’t mind dropping in to say hi to her folks-she thought they’d both enjoy the visit. Of course, I said and we went up to her room; sure enough she was right. The mom and dad very much enjoyed Sam’s visit (even though he seemed pretty interested in the dad’s roast beef sandwich-oye that dog!). Then we went off to our assigned floor to visit the short-term behavioral patients. When we arrived, “Mary,” was one of the patients who instantly captivated with Sam. He patiently allowed her to hug him repeatedly around the neck while she practically squealed with delight. Both her and the therapists kept saying how calm and sweet he was to allow all that neck-hugging attention. It’s always rewarding when we can put a smile on a patient’s face and make their day a little bit brighter for them, both literally and figuratively. The light-up necklace was a huge success. 🙂