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.
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.