Today is Luci's day to go visit patients at Hillcrest Hospital. When I told her we were going to visit, she became extremely happy and did the "Happy Dance!" She wears a special made blue vest with her own name tag and knows she is going to WORK, except it's not work for her, it's a joyful experience!
We met my husband in the cafeteria and had lunch. Luci has been trained to lay behind my chair and wait until we are finished eating. No begging dogs at the table! A cardinal rule for therapy dogs!
Several therapy dogs and their owners all made rounds together today. Sixth floor was our destination. Luci has learned to ride the elevators and likes the adventure! She is totally socialized, one of the qualities she lacked in the beginning of becoming a therapy dog in this program.
Once on the sixth floor, the nurses greeted us with lots of excitement, mostly the dogs with open arms! It's hard to tell which one loves who the most! We visited patients that wanted a therapy visit and went in as a team. Luci was the smallest dog on our team. A Great Perenise , Standard Poodle, and an Australian Sheep Dog were rounding today! This doesn't seem to matter to Luci that she is the runt of the bunch and she is well accepted by her friends!
The first patient we visited was an elderly woman who was quite ill but wanted a pet therapy visit. She brightened up, smile on her face, and began to tell us about the dogs in her past life. What a blessing to these patients who are appreciative to the point of tears that we pay them a visit. All the dogs like to be petted and talked to and respond with lots of unconditional love.
One lady we visited was very sick and couldn't raise her head but she wanted us to bring the therapy dogs in for a visit. She had tubes in her arms but could still pat the side of her bed, showing us she wanted to pet the dogs. It was heartwarming and touching seeing how the dogs would go right up to her and let her pet their heads. She had tears in her eyes when we left, as did we, and thanked up more than once.
Luci was tired after an hour and half of rounding and was ready to GO HOME! When she hears those words, she is READY to GO to the car. Home is about 3 miles away and she begins her nap on the way! Oh, that is, after a treat or two for being a 'good girl!' Lots of hugs and praise go with those tidbits of treat...
<3 Luci and Sheri