Take a look at that beautiful picture that Lonesome Jack posted on Twitter.
Nothing more heartfelt (or heartbreaking) than a loving dog waiting to perform a service that he or she loves: giving a sick child a little comfort. Of course the dog probably doesn't know the child's backstory but I think it gives the dog as much pleasure as it does the child who is the recipient of that much needed and appreciated love.
These dogs do have to go through a process to be qualified as a therapy dog and not every dog is suited for it. What happens when those hospital room doors open is simply magic.
As I read some of the comments I felt the need to share one in particular.
"Why on earth is "playing with dogs" called "animal therapy"? It's playing with dogs."
Clearly this individual has not had the experience that many of us have. It's not the same. It's not playing with dogs. But I won't explain it further. I will share the comments of others who did it much better than I.
Dogs are the best. During one of my hospital stays, I heard a young child who was losing it. I listened for a bit, then called the nurse. She agreed… We walked, me with my service dog, to the child’s room in ER. He saw my dog and stopped crying. We spent a few mins w/ him.
My wife, a behavior counselor, had a school therapy dog who lived to be with kids, one among four at her school (Kansas, where there is a strong program). When we left Kansas my wife turned him over to a certified K teacher. The dog wagged “bye” and never turned back as we left.
I was in the hospital for two nights in May. The greatest part of the 48 hours was when a woman brought in a little therapy dog for just a few minutes. Can’t tell you how happy it made me.
Have you ever had a toddler in the hospital for months at a time? I have. "Playing with dogs" IS therapy. It gives them a tiny piece of happy normalcy in a time of agony. When you're little, feel awful, & every few hours your being poked & prodded, imagine the joy of a dog.
When my niece was in NICU after a terrifying week, a dog came in like an angel from heaven. I burst into tears petting her. Everything turned out okay but the stress on everyone in that situation was indescribable. Dogs are miracles. It was absolutely therapy,
Why does this bother you? Unless you've lived in the hospital for weeks at a time over multiple years wondering if your child will survive you just don't get it.
Get back to us when you’re 80 with dementia in an assisted living facility and the therapy dog ignores you. Oh, wait, you won’t be able to!
We had a puppy, during my MIL unexpected cancer diagnosis. We live next door, my puppy runs through our broken panel in our fence to greet my husband’s dad, and mother, who is undergoing treatment and brings them a glorious amount of comfort, love and encouragement.
don’t know if you are a parent or taken care of a kid on the wards (or unit) but it can be a sad, sad depressing affair, and bringing in something like a therapy dog may be the only positive thing out of their day.
These dogs don’t look like they’re PLAYING to me. They look like they are ready to get to work!
When you are sitting outside of the trauma ICU not knowing if your child will live or die a loving therapy dog can really be a comfort.
Often they are not playing because the child is too ill to play.
If it reduces pain, anxiety, makes someone laugh, or even forget about the chemo they need to take later that day even for a short time, isn’t that therapeutic? Hence the name…