Pet Partner Story of the Month

In spite of being only 3 weeks and 6 days post-op, on Sunday, Abby & I phoned Redmond. I wanted to try to see a few patients on 4th floor. 4 East (Ortho/Neuro) went easy on me only giving me 4 patients to see. They have such a great staff there! Then 4 West had a list of probably 15! I knew I'd never get through that many so if the patient had their eyes closed or were on the phone after I’d knocked, I quietly backed out of the room.

I ended up seeing 9 patients and by the time we walked back to 4 East where I catch the elevator to go down, I could hardly walk and was so tired I was trembling. The nurses made me sit down and Abby & I both had a beverage and rested. Then ER phoned and had a 8 year old they wanted us to see. A concerned nurse even insisted she escort us down there. All the staff, hospitalists and secretaries always are so gracious and thankful for our visits.

On 4 West, I was asked to see a beautiful little white headed lady who since last Wednesday had refused to try to get out of her bed, eat and only whispered odd statements or replies to her family and nurses not making any sense at all. They were afraid she was going to be termed "failure to thrive". The nurse told her a dog would come visit if she'd try to stand using her walker and sit up in a chair so they could change her bed. So when we entered, she kept her eyes on Abby as she tried over and over to stand muttering "Don't leave, don't leave". Then we let Abby on her bed, pulled the chair close as possible to the bed so she could sit close to Abby from her chair and pet her. The family was all astounded as was the nurse who was brought to tears.

I stayed for an extra long visit (leaning on my cane) because this patient just couldn't keep her eyes off Abby's face as she petted and talked to her. The family was in tears. When I had to leave, I told her about another Redmond therapy dog, Scami, and I'd see if he could visit on Monday. When I got home, I wrote Scami’s owner to give her the room number. Sunday evening before the day shift left work, I thought I should phone the floor's secretary to ask the lady's name (since I never know patient’s names & only room numbers) and tell her our plans. The secretary said they were sending the patient home that Abby's visit had been the turning point in the little lady's care and she had eaten her dinner and talked ever since!

Isn't that such a wonderful story? Again….reinforces why I love what I do!