For those of you who are interested in Pet Therapy and what it is all about..I can tell you about it from both sides of the story. You see I have been a nurse for 27 years .
A couple of years ago I was introduced to Pet Therapy at work while having a tremendously hectic day and trying to help a patient who was crying multiple times. She was reliving her spouses death over and over everyday like it had just occurred (one of the sad effects her dementia had on her mind ). Her husband had died over a year ago and the sadness in her face was almost emotionally unbearable for me.
Then in came a group of dogs and friendly faces. As I watched, I saw a lady approach this sad woman and place a small dog in her lap. She sat in her wheelchair, not really interested in anything, but within seconds out reached her hand and she began to stroke this small dog's head. I stopped working long enough to watch this interaction between this patient and this small dog and something in my heart stirred. She looked up at me smiled and said "She loves me". This isn't the first time I had seen this group but every time I saw them, I noticed not only did it turn my day around but it made a difference in the patients day as well.
My husband and I had recently welcomed a puppy that we were putting through training. The trainer asked those in the class about their goals for training . My thoughts went back to my experience at work and that's when I knew Pet Therapy was my goal for our puppy. I wanted to share that same kind of love and emotion that I had seen at work when I witnessed that sweet interaction.
After our dog completed her training, I began to inquire how I could become involved in Pet Therapy. Little did I know what a impact it would have on my own life and the joy and hope it could bring to others. Witnessing first hand the incredible instincts a dog holds and watching how they just seem to know what's right with each person they come in contact with.
I'm sure there are many stories that people can share but I'd like to share with you one of my own. I'm fairly new to Pet Therapy as far as being personally involved goes. Its only been six months that Taylei has been registered.
Being in the nursing field I naturally wanted to go into the facility I am familiar with. I thought I knew exactly who would love to see my dog and proceeded with just that mindset. As their nurse, I know each of these patients. One particular patient I know was refusing her medication, refusing her care and would scream at people to "Get Out ". She was basically giving up on life. Knowing that, I didn't think she would have any interest in Taylei or Pet Therapy. I knew her roommate was a huge animal lover so I went to their room with only the intention of visiting one person. As I entered the room the difficult patient called out "Bring her here". So I did. Her face lit up and the smile, the beautiful smile appeared. That was several months ago. And so began a love affair between this patient and Taylei, whom she affectionately calls "Baby ". She often speaks of her even when she's not there with me.
Since our first Pet Therapy visit, this patient has done a 360.. shes taking her meds, shes accepting care. She even began to crochet again and made "baby" a blanket .
She is realizing her life is not over. She has opened up to me about stories of her past, especially about her beloved dogs. Oh and even forced me to eat lunch with her, all while she spoke of how much she loves my Taylei (her baby).
It's not just this one individual story but the many patients that I have seen be positively impacted that make me an advocate for promoting pet therapy and encouraging others to get involved. Why? Because sometimes even if it brings out that one beautiful smile, that, to me as a nurse makes it well worth it. You would be surprised how much it will do for even your own spirit.
To end this story .. I get asked by patients all the time, when can I bring Taylei in again and even was asked to send her picture to one patient via messenger.
Oh for a dogs Love ❤❤