Two visits!

My therapy dog Danny and I recently visited Care One in a town not too far away. Care One facilities are probably our favorite since everyone is always so welcoming! The staff ADORE pet therapy visits and there is always one staff member who takes us around the facility. The residents and their visiting family members scoop Danny right up (luckily he doesn’t mind) and cuddle him or put him on their laps. Unlike Merry Heart, when we visit Care One we go room-to-room. We don’t meet in a common room or two and usually there is no show-down of all his fancy tricks, but somehow there’s extra love in each visit. Or so I think. I’d ask Danny how he feels, but he’s just as happy licking every stranger’s face.

Pet therapy bound! (notice the nifty bandana?)

Pet therapy bound! (Notice the nifty bandana?)

Also, even more recently, Dannydog and I went to Merry Heart again. As usual we visited the third floor Alzheimer’s unit first and then the other meeting area for residents who aren’t as sick. Upstairs we were greeted by a staff member who cuddled Danny for a bit. Then I went around the circle letting everybody who wanted to pet the dog. Quick aside–One of the ladies told me I had nice teeth :D. Anyway, this time downstairs there was a nice crowd. Naturally, Danny performed all of his fancy tricks–including hide-and-seek of a mini water bottle! <– crowd favorite.

 

I have a feeling this might be our last visit for a while as school starts up again soon :/ however, Danny and I will still be doing everything we can to spread smiles and raise awareness for dogs that heal! 

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More visiting!

Recently my therapy dog Danny and I visited our favorite local senior living home. As usual, we had a blast! Although a lot of the residents have Alzheimer’s (memory disease), the staff remember us and welcome us greatly! One of the nurses has Danny climb all over him with lots of kisses before we begin visiting the patients. I can’t even tell you how many of them ask if the dog is staying! It gets a bit sad when I have to say no, but when Danny performs his neat tricks that I taught him everybody’s moods are lifted! That’s the best part–those smiles from something as simple as a dog rolling over. Why can’t we all just let simple things like that please us? Not only do I brighten others’ days, but they teach me about appreciation along the way!

Yet another visit! (and other updates)

This past Saturday my dog Danny and I visited the nursing home in Succasunna to spread some smiles to the staff and the residents! It was great (and quite toasty in the place, as usual) and also as usual, Danny was fantastic. I hold him in my arms and lean toward all of the elderly residents in their wheelchairs and he soaks up the love and gives occasional kisses. It brings such joy to these people and I love working with him. 

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Also, today I gathered brochures and a contract from the president of CCPT. I mailed it to a woman who lives in a senior apartment complex in a town who I have spoken on the phone with about introducing pet therapy to their community room at their complex; I can’t wait to hear their response! Wish me luck! (Tails crossed!)

 

I really really recommend pet therapy to everybody. Whether you’re a nursing home, hospital, library, school, or apartment complex, I think you should look into the immense benefits of having animals to be around. And if you have a compassionate animal, don’t hesitate to get started! I’m pretty sure you can sign up as a volunteer even if you don’t own a therapy pet. Creature Comfort Pet Therapy is amazing!

 

Another senior living visit

Today my dog Danny and I visited Eastern Star senior living place for the first time. The rain and traffic was a bit of a downer and I could tell Dannyboy was upset that I didn’t bring a coat for him, but he warmed up to the facility quickly! This time, we actually got to go into peoples’ rooms and visit them as well as those in the hallway. Almost all were in wheelchairs and I held Danny up for them to pet. They were especially happy to see me and talk to me. My mom, who has to come with me because I’m a junior handler, spoke to the activities director who said I have a real way with patients. That made me smile, and I know I made them all smile!

Today we spread smiles, but if you know of any facilities who would appreciate pet therapy, don’t hesitate to ask me how to get that set up/train your dog yourself! I’m spreading awareness, but also promoting the idea of pet therapy so this is what I’m all about!

Our next facility visit is Friday! (and then Saturday)

:(

The leaders of Creature Comfort Pet Therapy (CCPT) told me that I can’t ever do visitations in nearby hospitals because of Danny’s slight dog aggression 😦 It’s not his fault that his previous owners never taught him to play nicely with other doggies!

Feeling slightly discouraged because that’s the place that I was hoping to really enjoy visiting, but we’ll just keep visiting nursing homes. Danny is so great with kids that I’m dying to have him in a setting where he can spread some smiles to the little ones, so my eyes are peeled for children-oriented visitations on our CCPT calendar that take place after I get home from school/when I’m not working at my local job. 

Oh, well! Tonight we’re off to a different senior care place in Bridgewater. Hopefully it’ll go well!

While I’m spreading smiles with my dog that heals tonight, you should check out CCPT’s website and (1) bring pet therapy to your facility, (2) train your dog to be a therapy dog, and/or (3) spread the word about just how much healing and soothing can happen by introducing a dog to a facility! 

FIRST VISIT

This morning, Danny and I (and my dad) went to Merry Heart on our own! We spent 70 minutes visiting seniors and spreading some smiles to them and the staff!

After putting on our brand new official badges and my tshirt and his bandana, we drove to Merry Heart Assisted Senior Living. Unlike the mentor visit, we went to the 3rd floor Alzheimer’s common area first and then the basement Bistro (had chairs and Wii bowling) second. I actually liked this better than doing it the other way around because the Alzheimer’s floor where the seniors have memory issues/dementia is sort of sad whereas the Bistro is just full of seniors who need assisted living and are just hanging out in a common area. So, we left the whole place on a bit more positive feel.

As for my dog Dannyboy, he did much better than he did on the mentor visit! He was more comfortable in my arms while I went from senior to senior and was well-behaved whenever I put him down. He even did some tricks for the (mostly) ladies in the Bistro, which brought them tons of joy. The staff members thanked us and told us to come back 😀

 

Feelin’ good, doin’ good, talk to you soon!

P.S. Get involved in the pet therapy program–whether you have a pet, work for an institution, or have a loved one you know would like some extra cheer! 

THE MENTOR VISIT

Danny and I completed our final step in the Creature Comfort Pet Therapy certification process—the mentor visit! 

This morning I got up and got everything together for our very first visit. I put a towel, paper towels, a water bottle, a doggie water bowl, treats, hand sanitizer, and a doggie brush in a large tote bag with a copy of his vaccination records. I bought some Nature’s Miracle spray in case Danny made a mess (which he didn’t, of course).

We met an experienced CCPT handler at the door to Merry Heart Senior Living so that she could mentor me on my first therapy visit. We signed in and went to the “Bistro” gathering space downstairs where about a dozen seniors–most in wheelchairs–were hanging out. Some were even playing Wii bowling on the TV! I scooped Danny up and we went from wheelchair to wheelchair (unless the patient was avoiding us) and I bent down next to each patient and even let Danny sit on one lady’s lap!

Upstairs, we went to the Alzheimer’s floor where the seniors have memory problems. There were about two dozen patients up here and some were sleeping and most repeated their questions to me a few times, which was kind of sad. But it made them all very happy and we’re spreading some smiles quite easily!

My arms are tired from holding Danny for almost an hour, even though he’s only ten pounds! 

My mom said the nursing home was very lucky to have Danny to pet and me to talk to (: Oh, and now Danny and I can do visits on our own to accredited facilities!

Thanks for reading, and spread the word of how helpful therapy dogs are!