Tag Archives: therapy dogs

She’s My Medicine, Too.

Last week was a stressful one. Nothing major, just enough little things running together to make me feel very “verge-of-panic attack.”

And then Thursday came along. And Frankie and I went on our weekly visit to Barnes. Our experience on the 15th floor – the psych floor – was one I won’t soon forget. There was no particular reason. No miracle moments. Or even tears shed. But we did get to see one of Frankie’s favorite patients. It’s unfortunate that this patient is back, but still nice that Frankie could make her smile, especially when we were warned that she had had a rough week, and may not even want to pet her. But she did. She came out of her room, lit up at the site of my dog, and did not let Frankie down.

There were also 3 or 4 other patients who came out to greet us . They sat on the ground, Frankie showed off her laugh-inducing “puppy-dawg paw” and infamous “60 pound lap-dog” routine . One patient was hesitant at first, but by the end couldn’t stop patting her on the head and offering more treats. They all told me about their dogs, how much they missed them, what they’re like. And, without even trying, stopped thinking about whatever it was that brought them to the hospital that week.

We continued on to our other units. Once again, nothing remarkable. But still successful. One cardiac patient especially made an impact. She perked up at the sight of Frankie, told us how much she loved dogs, and said that as soon as she gets a heart transplant, her mom said she can have one of her own. She was probably 40.

It still gets me.

I realized on the drive home, that for the first time that week, I wasn’t feeling stressed out. For that one hour, I wasn’t thinking about what had to be done at work, how we could sell our house, how to dodge the agents who were heckling me to let them sell my house, what I’m going to do about our cracked window that we just got fixed, where to take my car so the trunk will actually close, why my iphone bill isn’t being sent on time…

In fact, I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I was just enjoying seeing my dog bring joy to others. And feeling grateful that I can. And though I could easily have said I don’t have the time to do it, I took the time to do it. And I felt better. Great, actually.

I’m not writing this for recognition. I guess I’m doing it to possibly inspire you. I’m not saying you need to make your pet a therapy pet (though it’s great if you’d like to). But just saying you should consider taking some time out of your life, whether it be once a week, once a month, or once in a lifetime. And do something for someone else.

Because once you do that, you end up doing something for yourself…without even trying.

There are so many ways to reach out. And a lot of great websites to get you there. Here are just a couple:
http://www.volunteermatch.org/
http://www.dosomething.org/volunteer

And the big corporations are jumping on it, too (and offering pretty hefty prizes at that):
IKEA
Pepsi
American Express

Or, if creativity is what you’ve got to share, come up with your own plan and make it happen. All I know is 3 years ago I would have never imagined giving an hour a week to a local hospital, and now I can’t imagine my life without it.

Or my beautiful sidekick.

Leave a comment

Filed under frankie therapy, happiness, life with fur

Birthday Girl

Since Frankie was a rescue, we really don’t know when her actual birthday is. But, since we got her in mid-October when she was more or less 8 weeks old, we always say it’s August 15th. Somehow, this year, we managed to let that day slip by without the cake and ice cream soiree every great dog deserves, but her good friends over at the hospital were still on top of it.

Last Thursday, they celebrated their favorite furry friend with special treats, doggie ice cream and her newest stuffed pal — a squeaky, scrunchy, chipmunk/beaver/hedgehog toy (what it is, is still up for debate…but a dog would never judge, so neither will we)

I don’t know who was more excited — Frankie, or the patients who couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of her crazy smile when she tore that creature out of the package.

But she hasn’t taken her paws off of it since…

Thanks for thinking of us, Shelly!

It’s good to be loved. :)

Leave a comment

Filed under frankie therapy, life with fur

Puppy Power

Last week, for the first time in my life, I got teary-eyed while getting in a workout at the gym. No, it wasn’t the intense burn of 35 enduring minutes on the elliptical (I only wish I was that moved by a workout). It was actually something that caught my eye on the TV screen ahead.

ABC was featuring a news story on therapy dogs, and the ability they have to help improve a child’s reading skill. The sound wasn’t even turned on, but the images of this boy and a dog, combined with the little snippets of hope appearing in the captions, just got to me.

If you didn’t catch it, the video says that a recent study done over a 10-week program showed that children who were struggling to read increased their skill level by 12% when working with a dog. The kids in the study who didn’t read to a dog did not increase their skill level at all. In short, it’s the non-discriminating nature of a dog that builds a child’s confidence, which in turn improves their reading.

Reading with kids is a part of therapy that I have yet to do with Frankie, but one I keep saying I want to try. She adores kids, and I can just imagine her looking up at them with her big, brown puppy-dog eyes, giving them an encouraging kiss on the cheek, and then offering her paw —  so she can hold their hands while they work their way through each page.

 

P.S.  Just in case you’re wondering…that sweet black dog with the big-ole ears wasn’t Tito, but now I can’t help but want to get him registered, too…

2 Comments

Filed under frankie therapy, life with fur