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I can't believe I forgot to mention this:

On Sunday, shortly before I was to leave the hospital, I got a knock on my door. People had been coming in and out all day--my parents, the doctor, the nurse, the nurses' aide, Graham--that I didn't really think about it much. I just said "Come in."

A woman in a red tee shirt I'd never seen before peeked in and asked if she and her companion could come and pay me a visit.

Her companion was a four-year-old Labrador retriever whose name I shamefully have forgotten. The lab was a therapy dog, and she came to pay me a visit and make me feel better.

I enthusiastically (well, as enthusiastically as I could) welcomed them into my room, and the lab took a seat in the chair next to my bed. The handler chatted with me for awhile, and I petted the dog. I explained that I had two dogs of my own, and that I missed them terribly. The doggie was calm, cool and collected, and she leaned into me as I petted her. Her handler said that she'd been in an agility trial the day before, and that she did very well. She was deemed to be a good therapy dog when she was a year old, and I think her calmness helped her qualify for the job. I explained that my dogs weren't exactly calm, but they were great at making me feel better.

I petted the dog for a good fifteen minutes before my nurse came in with the discharge paperwork, and I had to start getting ready to go home.

I totally forgot about any pain I had while the pooch was with me, and I really think that therapy dogs do help out. I saw her later on when I was getting into the car to go home.

I'm not sure that if "calm" is a precondition that any of my dogs could be good therapy dogs, but I'd love to explore the option. I know how good they make me feel, so why shouldn't they make other people feel good? Certainly a dog that wasn't mine had a good effect on me.



( 4 comments — Say something )
Apr. 21st, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
I had a Borzoi who was a Registered Therapy Dog. We went to nursing homes and she would walk around and get petted. It was a lot of fun and she enjoyed it.

We went through "Therapy Dog International" and took a local course and got certified. That gave a liability insurance when she was on the "job". The requirements are not onerous, but some dogs are not cut out for it. None of our current dogs would be a good one (they wouldn't even pass the certification test).

Good luck with the recovery.
Apr. 21st, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
I know that our shelties, even though they are babies, are going to be good at that. I know that when we take them out, they behave and they let people pet them and such. And they also know when I'm particularly bad and come up to me.

I think, once this "puppy" phase ends, I may look into the therapy stuff for them too. It might do us all good to go volunteer to help folks feel better.
Apr. 21st, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
Just looking at pictures of your dogs makes me smile, so I imagine they'd be big hits as therapy dogs.

Good luck with the recovery!
Apr. 21st, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I got to follow a therapy dog around one afternoon for an article I was writing, and it was the BEST.
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