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Zane Grey and I visit Pediatrics at a couple hospitals.
Children’s faces always light up with smiles when they meet him and Zane connects to them by sitting or lying beside them and purring as they pet him over and over – he saves his best purring for children.
One special time I recall, I laid Zane in bed with a patient whose Mother said he had no feeling in his legs. Zane positioned himself across one of the patient’s legs and was purring strongly. Seconds later his mother and a couple of nurses noticed that his leg was warming and pinking up.
Zane’s purring had stimulated his circulation.
On a follow up visit, we learned that the boy had gotten up after that and walked some.
Our animals sometimes know more than we do, and Zane always seems to understand what the children we visit need.
Bacon and I mainly visit local hospitals and schools when specifically requested. Bacon does her best to share joy & brighten people’s days.
Our visits create very special moments as hospitals can be confusing, chaotic places with lots of faces coming in and out of a patient’s room with their days often including some unpleasant or difficult care provided by staff.
When we get to change that up and bring a [big] beautiful dog into the room, patients get excited. They are able to pet Bacon and share emotions with her or just enjoy the moment. Bacon happily trades sad emotions for a puppy smile.
Family members see their loved ones happy and relaxed and Nurses and Doctors notice their anxiety lessen. There have even been a few times patients have walked with Bacon up and down the hospital halls for their physical therapy sessions.
Bacon makes a big impact.
Scout is a 7 year old Golden Retriever.
We are able to visit many different venues and are part of the Crisis Animal Response group.
Our regular commitment is to Story Tails. This program is in our nearby elementary school, and we love it! Every Wednesday at 10 o’clock we arrive in the school library where we have a comfortable setting.
We sit with four different children for 15 minutes each as they read to Scout. Scout loves the attention, and the children love reading while she lays nearby.
The children who are sometimes intimidated or shy because they have a difficult time know Scout won’t judge them and I play the role of “coach” to encourage and help out with a tough word. It’s so gratifying and rewarding.
Indigo and I visit with children and their counselors in area schools and our visit activates vary.
Indigo may provide comfort as a child hugs her and discusses difficult emotions, or time with her may be a reward for a child meeting a goal they have been working on, or she may be helpful in teaching a lesson such as dental hygiene by getting her teeth brushed as we notice no doggy breath. Sometimes we discuss how indigo might feel in a difficult situation to break the ice when a child is not ready to share their own emotions yet.
Whatever the challenge of the day brings she always makes a difference and I love that we can do that.
My therapy dog Bonnie and I visit patients and staff at several hospitals. On a recent afternoon, a coronary intensive care nurse asked if we could visit a patient she was worried about. Bonnie and I found a very ill patient connected to wires, tubes and lifesaving equipment. Bonne laid next to the patient on the gurney for at least 15 minutes. The patient kind of petted Bonnie and tried to smile. Bonnie and I then continued our therapy animal rounds.
On a visit several weeks later the same nurse asked, “Do you remember the patient I asked you to visit?” She told me that they expected the patient to pass soon but the patient started to miraculously improving shortly after our visit. Several days later he was moved to a step down unit and was currently convalescing at home.
The doctors and hospital staff had already done all they could to help this patient. The nurse felt that the therapy dog visit was a key factor in the unexpected recovery.
It’s personally rewarding and gratifying to know that volunteering as part of a therapy team can and does make a difference to so many people.