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Monday, January 5, 2015

The Huff

Personal information obtained on therapy visits is confidential. When applicable the name/location/sex/condition of persons visited may be changed to protect privacy. However, the interactions, conversations are true and did occur as written. 

Gopher, Squirrel, Chad, and Carla are all volunteers. They do not officially represent any institution that may be mentioned.

Gopher has a very pronounced huff, he uses it when he is frustrated, tired, and even when he gets comfortable for a nap, and sometimes he uses it to let me know when it is time to leave a patient. Gopher also will whine softly when he is excited about a new location, or if he thinks he needs something and we are too slow in our response. We started visiting Ian a long time ago, he was agitated on our first visit, frustrated with his condition and where life had led him.

We would visit with him every couple of weeks. The months would pass and with each visit his agitation and frustration seemed to lessen. Ian would tell Gopher about his fears and his joys, his regrets and proudest moments. Ian divulged many aspects of his life to us, all while stroking Gopher who would happily hop into his bed, on a protective sheet.

Hours passed over those months of visiting, Gopher stretched out along his side, his hand gently stroking the golden fur. We learned so much about him, his biggest fear like many was not being done with what he needed to complete and leaving too soon.  His biggest regret was his son, he had one, and three daughters, and he spoke with pride of all of his kids, but was saddened by his lack of relationship with his son.

Many years had passed since they last spoke and Ian blamed himself for the time that had passed and the words not spoken. When Ian was young and so were his kids he had another illness, addiction. One night his wife had sat him down and said he needed to get help or she had to take the kids and go anywhere that he would not follow. It was the wakeup call he needed, and after treatment had spent the last 50 years clean, only thinking about relapsing one time a decade before when he said his final goodbye to his wife.

His son grew into a man, became successful and then slowly piece by piece lost it all. Ian knew what was happening and recognized himself in his only son. He approached him and they battled, Ian used the same method his wife had and told him if he did not get help he was no longer welcome in his home. Ian’s son left that night, and did eventually get help, but the wounds Ian felt were too deep. When his son came back and was clean, Ian turned away from him and the years would pass without bridging the gap. He told Gopher and I that he was never mad at his son, never mad at his temper the night Ian approached him, nor the time it took for him to get help. Ian was mad at himself that he passed along the same struggle he fought with his own life, that he gave him something that took so much away from him. He was angry that all he had given his baby boy was a lifetime of pain and misery.

One morning we received the call. Ian had declined and he was in the final stages of life, would Gopher and I be available to come and visit. We arrived in the room and unlike our previous visits found Ian sleeping and breathing very quickly. As we turned into the room we were greeted by several members of his family, it would be the first time I would meet the people who I had heard so much. I introduced Gopher and myself and said we could come back later if they wished. His oldest daughter said, “No, please stay we have heard so much about Gopher we feel like we know him and Dad would want him here.”

Gopher took this as a cue, went to the cabinet, raised his paw and whimpered for me to grab the sheet. I did as the King asked and placed the sheet on the bed with the permission of the family. Gopher got up and assumed his regular position, laid his head down and closed his eyes.

It seemed like an eternity passed in silence then the silence was broken, a woman in the back of the room sitting in shadow said, “He is just as calm as Dad told us that is amazing.” We spoke a bit about therapy dogs, the training combined with an innate ability to perform the work. Silence feel across the room again and another eternity seemed to pass when he stood up, a man sitting in the shadows next to the last woman who spoke stood up and walked towards the bed.

When he arrived he knelt down took Ian’s hand held it over on Gopher’s side and with his other began petting Gopher. He looked up at me tears welling in his eyes, “I am Ian’s son.”  He went back to petting Gopher, and holding his Dad’s hand on Gophers side. Someone in the back of the room said, “Look, Dad seems to be breathing a little easier.” It was true his respirations had calmed, and his breathing was lighter and more consistent.

Ian’s son looked up at me again and he began to tell me the other side of the story of a few weeks ago. “Dad called me a couple of months ago, it was weird as I had no heard his voice in years but knew it was him. He told me about Gopher and his visits, he told me that Gopher was a good listener, and that he wanted to say he was sorry.” His son paused as tears fell down his cheeks. “Thank you Gopher, I have gotten to spend a part of every day with my Dad these last few weeks.”

Ian’s son then got up, steadied his father’s hand on Gopher’s side. Time would pass again in silence. Gopher would be the first to break the silence when he lifted his head and let out a huff. I knew it was time to go, and feared what would be happening soon based on prior experience. Gopher hopped off the bed and I removed the sheet and bid our farewells, the whole of the room getting up to pet Gopher, and Ian’s son giving Gopher a long hug. It was during the hug that the familiar rattle came from Ian’s bed, his oldest daughter drew attention to it and asked if I knew what was happening. I lied, and said I would send the nurse on my way out.

Gopher and I left, knowing that Ian had passed, and stopped at the nurse’s station where a familiar face greeted us. I told her what had just happened, she gave a nod of mutual understanding, lowered her head, and went to Ian’s family. I heard an audible cry as we turned to leave.  

With tears in my own eyes, I looked down at Gopher, a gentle wag of the tail, a strut and a smile on his face, he knew his work was done.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to all, and hope to see you next year!

Obviously this post owes credit to Clement Moore's famous work.


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the hospital,
few creatures were stirring, as the population was little
Two rodents were present to provide some care.
in the hopes their love would limit despair.

The children were nestled in their beds
trepidation and sadness in their heads.
Gopher and Squirrel formed a loving band,
as they knew a large task was at hand.

Down the hall there was not much chatter,
the rodents took to the rooms to bring what matters.
Love and comfort was what they could bestow,
a moment of peace to ease the worries in tow.

Giving love and time like only an animal can do,
they made the bald ones, the quiet ones, the families go “Woo hoo.”
For in those few moments their world was at ease,
as in the furs of the rodents they found some peace.

Three hours had passed in such a flash,
their jobs were done and they were able to dash.
Home they went with but one wish,
that next year you will join them in this niche.

For many are needed to provide some care,
and wonders await for those who dare.
For in the moments you will find,
truths about yourself to which you were blind.

“Now Rover! Now Snoopy!
Now, Lassie and Sassy!
On, Spot! On, Chase!
On, Lucky and Tigger!
To the top of training!
To the top of the class!
The world needs you now.
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!”

Now the year is coming to an end,
resolutions made you may bend.
But make this one to yourself,

“Next year my friend, will be a healing elf”


 

Happy Holidays to all best wishes in the New Year!

With Love,

Chad, Carla and The Brothers Rodent!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gopher and Squirrel's Southern Belle and Knitters/Crocheters we need you again!

Personal information obtained on therapy visits is confidential. When applicable the name/location/sex/condition of persons visited may be changed to protect privacy. However, the interactions, conversations are true and did occur as written. 

Gopher, Squirrel, Chad, and Carla are all volunteers. They do not officially represent any institution that may be mentioned.



On a string of recent visits Gopher and Squirrel each had the opportunity to visit with a young girl. At an age where traditionally she would be preparing for a Cotillion given her creole history she was instead laying in a hospital bed. She was able to experience a number of firsts which we discussed, the first time seeing snow, the first time experiencing the cold in the way we have cold in Minnesota, the first time spending a holiday hundreds of miles from home.

Some of these firsts you may be thinking don't sound too grand, however as she described each one she would remove any hint of negativity and focus on the first as if it was an adventure awaiting her discovery.

Our first visit we would find her on a main floor, having traveled in the hopes of finding the right physician to aid her with her particular malady. Surrounded by her family, immediate and extended they cooed over Gopher and were amazed by his behavior. The room as is typical had been quiet when we arrived, but was now bustling with stories of dogs they have owned and their silly antics. Times past when all were feeling better. Gopher all the time on the bed with a blanket under him to protect the bed stretched out and enjoying all of the hands scratching him, his read gently resting on the abdomen of his patient. Their excitement over our visit prompted me to ask Carla and Squirrel if they could visit prior to leaving the floor. We left her with a Cuddle Cap provided by our readers and supporters, and she put it on her head and beamed with pride.

On our next visit Carla and Squirrel would find her room first. She had enjoyed her visit and when she found me on another part of the floor ushered me over as our little Belle has asked for us. She was noticeable weaker, but her conversations were just as animated and excited about some of the new things she had seen since our last visit. She sat up and before I could get the blanket to protect the bed she had invited him up on the bed, he laid down and resumed his position of last time, gently laying on his side, head resting gently on her and his brown eyes looking at her. We visited for a while and then as she seemed to be finished with our visit she thanked us as we left and asked us to make sure to tell Squirrel thank you as well.

Our third visit Carla and Squirrel would once again come to her room first and invite us over as requested. We found he quite a bit weaker and she spoke softly, but the light remained in her eyes and it danced as I put Gopher in a chair near her bed so she could reach him. Our visit was more subdued than the first two. She spent most of the time gently stroking Gopher's chest and whispering to him. After a bit she said she wasn't feeling well and wanted her dad, we called to the family who had been huddled in the back of the room and he came over. Once he sat down we went to leave. She sat up for a moment, "Gopher, I still have your hat you gave me." she smiled and laid back down. Her grandmother walked me out and asked me when we would be back, I told her that we would be there on Thanksgiving Day. She smiled and said "Good, the whole family will be here and I know they want to meet Gopher and Squirrel. Please make sure you come by and see us."

When we arrived on Thanksgiving we had to do our rounds a bit differently. Some of the floors we visit were also going to be visited by a special group of people who make and serve a home cooked meal for the families and patients unable to make it home. We made our rounds and on each floor we kept a watch out for our Southern Belle. She was nowhere to be found. Carla and I returned to each of the nursing stations to inquire about the patient and her family who had asked about a visit. She was unable to be located on any of the floors we visit, there is however one floor that we are unable to visit and not knowing her malady could have placed her on that floor on that day.

When we returned we made a point of keeping on the lookout to for her and her family, but once again came up short. There are several possibilities besides the one you may fear the most. Her time needed at the hospital may have come to an end, or very possibly she could have returned to extended family housing nearby as she no longer needed 24 hour care. No matter what we may never see her again, but know how much we were able to help bring a smile even if for a short time.

Our stock is getting very low!!

Last year The Brothers Rodents started asking for chemo caps and scarves to give out to the kids we visit. The response was overwhelming and we cannot thank all of you enough. Now almost a year later we have handed out almost every single piece and expect to run out when we visit on Christmas Eve. So once again we have to ask for your help! Thanks to you we have been able to give out over 150 pieces to the kids and we want to keep going. For more info on this project please go to Calling all Knitters and Crocheters.

Not crafty and want to help? We have been able to make six kits for those who have wanted to help, but did not have the means. Each kit includes 2 skeins of yarn, one purple, one green, two way postage and a special thank you from the Brothers Rodent and costs just under $10. Brothers Rodents Cuddle Caps

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do NOT read this, look up!

Do not read this, do not take the time away from the person you are sitting with, have a conversation a smile and a laugh, you will learn more from that than the meanderings of this stranger.

The gift of time is one of the best ways of giving, whether that be volunteer time to your favorite charity or time spent with a stranger who then becomes a friend. While working with a therapy animal, the animal itself, Gopher in my case, provides a medical effect that is just coming into its full understanding and smiles and stories that I have shared before. Perhaps one of the most important parts of this equation is time. This week I learned of the death of a wise and learned friend. I would always know her as an elder, one of those people our society is too quick to discard and fail to recognize the importance of, thus bringing about this blog entry. This is not going to be a tale of how wonderfully a therapy dog performs, and the impact on a patient, instead it is going to be a soap box on which I will stand for a few minutes. If you have read this far you may choose not to go further, you may discard it, and that would be fine. It is the thoughts and feelings of this 33 year old white male, who has lived a fortunate life, bore witness to a great surge in technology, great tragedies of a society, and great accomplishments, who despite my age still tries to marvel and wonder about the world around me with the eyes of a child. This wonder of the world was something I shared with my departed friend who still had it despite her years of life and has served me as an inspiration to not be jaded and look with wonder of the world I am part of no matter how fleeting time may be.

Technology despite all its advances, and ability to connect oneself with the most obscure story from the other side of the world and allows me to stand on my proverbial soap box is also a source of limitations. Feel free to put the phrase 'back in my day' at any point you feel it is appropriate. Pause and think about it, if you are reading this outside of your home pause and look up. How many people do you see whose faces are glistened by the light of a glowing screen? How many couples, friends, colleagues are sitting in near silence observing the light emitting from their hands and not the light of the smile in the faces around them? In seeing the latest trending article and learning about the world miles away how much of the world are they missing right in front of them? How much knowledge is being lost in the pursuit of knowledge, entertainment or the latest celebrity scandal?

The questions I ask, may or may not get you to look up, but the world you are missing is so much more than what is captivating you in the moment. We are a culture of people who live in a fast paced environment we fail to see the forest for the trees and focus on the destination and forget the journey and other cliches you can add in here. Despite the fact they are cliches should not take away from their intent and meaning.

What has the gift of time has given me, a chance to learn the gift of time has been more for me than it has ever been for the person I have given the time to. Call me selfish I am, in this I thirst for knowledge and in the books I have read or diploma and degrees conferred upon me I learned nothing in comparison to what I have learned through the conversation with those around me. Strangers, friends or family have taught me more than memorized formulas, scientific calculations and even the arts could begin to teach me. In order to learn from this gift to yourself you have to be open, you have to listen and you must be able to reflect on those conversations even when you do not like the reflection.

Many years ago as a server working my way through college, I started a conversation with a woman who had come into the restaurant as a guest with friends and slowly those friends stop coming as they passed or age had taken away their ability to have freedom to go to lunch. I have never had any issue in speaking with an elder, even as a kid, my family always encouraged this and respect for elders in our society. I took this from childhood conversations with Mr. Woodworth on a bench when I as not more than 5 years old with me as an adult. In this case the conversations involved with a woman who merely wanted company while at lunch evolved into a wonderful friendship and great impact on my life, now all that remains is the memories of our conversations and being in her presence.

Our society is constantly changing and even different than it was a decade ago, a short time frame but an immense amount of change. Sometimes our elder members hold on to a hate or prejudice not acceptable by today's standards, but even conversations with people who feel this way holds a lesson for yourself. If you take the time, and have respectful conversations despite your differences you may learn of what propagated their hate, and how you may proceed in life and avoid those pitfalls. Embrace this look up and do not discard them.

Through time I have had the opportunity to learn via friends and first hand accounts of the conflict in Israel and Palestine by two people on differing sides of the issue sitting at the same table and having a conversation.

I have learned with time and conversations those around me traditions of countless cultures, differences in political opinions and social thoughts. All lessons independent of age, creed and prescribed race.

Through volunteering with Gopher I have had the opportunity to sit with many patients late in their life and have learned many lessons and the one consistent lesson, I wish I had more time to spend with this person, or that person or with my dog, my cat, I wish I had more time to show them how much I love them and how much they meant to me. The desire to spend time with a fellow human being is consistent and I have yet to hear one person tell me I wish I had more time with a glowing screen, the latest product, more time with the person in front of them.

My soap box has ended and I hope that you have not read this far, I hope you looked up, smiled and started a conversation, and started to learn. If you have read this far stop now, and look up in honor of my friend and for yourself.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rooms with a View: Revisited

Long time readers know that we actually have two dogs working as therapy animals. The vast majority of articles here on the blog our based on experiences I have had with Gopher. My wife's dog is Squirrel and together we go to visit hospitals, splitting the floors and covering the entirety of their Animal Assisted Activities approved floors.

Carla and myself are also fans of the old sitcom "Frasier" and no we will not apologize for our taste in television. One of our favorite episodes is from the shows 10th season titled "Rooms with a View". In the episode we see our fictional characters sharing their various visits to the same hospital over the years while they wait for news on Nile's surgical procedure. It is a great episode and you should check it out.

Many people approach the hospital with trepidation and fear, we go in with smiles looking forward to another great set of experiences while working with our boys. Unlike "Frasier" our stories are not works of fiction, but all true. We go from room to room to find a vast array of patients going through a just as wide range of emotions, we never know what we will find when we knock on a door.

Don't judge a book

Gopher and I knock on the door and are greeted by a rather gruff, deep voice. "What" he yelled out, "Excuse me sir, would you like a visit with Gopher the therapy dog?" "Dog?" he responded. "Yes sir, we are here for a visit with you if you would like.". "Bring him in".

We enter the room to see a very large, muscular man sitting in the chair by his bed. He is covered in tattoos, his head is shave and he has a large handlebar mustache.

"Good evening, sir..." I get cut off and before I know it this large man has scooped Gopher up with one arm. At first Gopher gives me a look, then settles in burying his head on the mans chest while he begins to sob.

Nothing else is said for several moments and Gopher gets in deep. The man continues to sob, but the starts to speak to Gopher while stroking him and clutching him to his chest. "Tomorrow they are going to fix my heart, boy, but I think you beat them to it. "

Across the language divide

Squirrel and I walked into a room where 3/4 couldn't speak English.The granddaughter in the room translated for the older couple but it was not needed.  

The looks on their faces transcended language.
The grandmother scooped Squirrel up off his front paws by the chest and hugged him and tried to put him in her lap.  I went in to distract, and make sure Squirrel was uncomfortable but my dog just looked at me and so "don't worry about this I got it" and proceeded to be hug and petted repeatedly by this very lovely women.  He ate it up! The family did as well.

Just lie with me a minute    

Gopher and I went into the room and were greeted by the beaming smile of a middle aged woman. 

"Would you like to visit with Gopher for a bit?"

"Yes, please"

We went further in the room and she began to pet Gopher, and we visited for a few moments.

"Could he lay with me for a bit?"

"Yes, just let me grab a sheet."

I lay down the barrier and Gopher climbs gently up on the bed and slides down along her body to ensure no space is left unfilled between the two of them.

She lowers her head to his and kisses him and says to Gopher. "Thank you, I am just so lonely, I don't understand as my family was just here, but I feel alone. Something about you makes me feel better, can you just lie with me for a minute or two, I know other people need you too."

She went on petting Gopher for several minutes, but then started to doze off, and we excused ourselves to let her rest.

NO CONTACT!!

Squirrel and I were asked to visit a room we knew was off limits, despite being on a regular floor we saw the sign limiting contact. We are not typically allowed to visit Contact precaution rooms but as I was leaving a wing a woman asked me if we had visited her mother in the area we just left.

I didn't think so so she took us back to her room. When I noticed why and explained hospital policy to her she understood but asked the nearby nurse anyway to see if their was anything we could do.  

The nurse was understood the need and gave us instructions to walk a few feet into the room but no further. 

Once the patient saw us she cried.  It was hard for both her and Squirrel to not be right next to each other but both behaved.  Squirrel wagged his tale in anticipation at her from across the room which made her happy. We all chatted for a few minutes, and through tears she said good bye, but was happy to get to see him even if she was not able to touch him.

Hate to be alone...

Squirrel and I knocked on the door, and entered the room as is protocol.

"Would you like to visit with Squirrel?"

"Yes, I hate being alone." she cried.

Squirrel and I walked up to the bed and she pat him gently a couple of times and talked to me about he life and her family and why she wished they were with her.  All through tears.  

It was one of those instances where I was doing the therapy more than Squirrel.  He was there to assist but what she really wanted was someone to talk to. Squirrel acted more as my therapist so I could help her.  It was a team effort. 

Greek to me

Gopher and I didn't even have a chance to knock.

"Yes, yes" and ushered us in her room with her hand,

No one else was in the room and the lights were dim. Gopher walked right up and she began petting him. He leaned in tighter to the bed. "Love.....dog." she uttered in a thick Greek accent. She smiled at me with a tear in her eye and kept petting Gopher. He lifted his chin so she could  get his chest, where the therapy comes from is what we call this move.

Several minutes passed, "Thank you.....lungs no work, happy to see...dog again." Her DNR bracelet became more visible through Gophers fur where she was still petting him and Gopher tried to get even closer. She smiled, "Thank you.....go now....more people....need you."

Not the paws, well for you maybe

Squirrel hates having his feet handled, while he will tolerate grooming he does not do "paw" work. He doesn
t offers his paw, no shake nothing.

However if you are an ill little girl with some finger nail polish doesn't suddenly he doesn't mind. We were able to meet her several times in her extended stay.  He walked away from a couple of visits with either black or glittery toes.  His paycheck for the torture was using most of her bed to sleep on while she did it.  I think he took advantage of the pillow a couple of times too.

Just like my grandsons dog, but not as obnoxious

"Would you like to visit with Gopher?"

"Oh, yes"

She pets Gopher as soon as he gets to the bed and then stops.

"He's so beautiful and so calm, my grandson has one of these, and she is not, she is obnoxious."

"Yes", I reply "Gopher is working now, so he is really calm, he loves his job, but as soon as it is over he is a typical Golden Retriever"

"But is he obnoxious"

"Well, I don't think so, but some people may disagree"

"Can you come train my grandson?"


Because I'm dying?

Their was one woman that was so excited to see Squirrel that when she patted the bed he instantly jumped into it like it was an invitation. He was too quick for me to stop him!  He is well aware of his rights and limitations when it comes to visiting patients and he also knows when to through all of that out the window and do the job he knows needs to be done.  

The patient became very concerned when I told her he doesn't usually do that.  Her first concern was that he was paying special attention to her because she was dying.  I said "No, he just knows a person who needs a hug when he sees it".  

He proceeded to lay next to her in bed for awhile while she pet him.  I left the visit when Squirrel was getting so comfortable he was taking up most of the bed.

Summation

Every time we visit it is a cluster of these stories, brief windows into the lives of strangers. We never know what the impact we have is for the long run, it could merely be a nice story told to friends once or twice over dinner or it could impact their lives in way we will never understand. Often we get questions: This is great, can I do this? How long does it take to train? Do you have to be a certain age? How much are you required to visit? Do you think I could do this with my dog? We answer the questions, and always hope that they may follow through, create their own stories. It is the same mission with the blog is that we hope one person who reads it may go, yes this is something I can do and want to do with my dog. Working with a therapy dog is not a grand gesture, it is simple and holds infinite possibilities for providing small impacts. 

This week, we lost a great comedian, actor and philanthropist whom I was a great fan of his work. Mr. Williams would often quote Mother Teresa in interviews and in his work "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." 

While reflecting on the public persona that brought me so much joy, and his final act I was reminded of one of my great friends, a man who I love greatly and have great admiration. He had the opportunity to happen upon a young woman who was facing a similar final act. When he saw her, he embraced her in a bear hug, for what must have felt like an eternity until help would arrive. She is alive today, because he stopped. I wonder if presented with a similar circumstance if I would have done the same thing or would I have not been able to believe my eyes and just put my head down, not wanting to get involved. 

We, as a society tend to put our heads down, avert our eyes. The gesture itself was not grand, it was simply a bear hug, a few moments when he looked up and saw something and acted. So that is my challenge for anyone who may read this, look up, do something small it may be just taking the trash out for the elderly neighbor, it need not be grand as you will never know how large an impact a small gesture may have on  those around us. 

Our world is scary at times, there is bad in the world and we get caught up in the negativity get to a point we cannot handle it anymore and hang out heads and close our eyes, but look up, see the simple acts and together all of these simple acts will make the world a better place to live, you never know when you will provide the 'bear hug' someone else needs at just the right time.

I leave you with "Do it anyway" written by Mother Teresa. Take care of yourselves.


"Do it Anyway" 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
-Mother Teresa

Saturday, March 8, 2014

10,000 Visitors!! Thank You!!

Yesterday we passed a milestone with our 10,000th visitor!!!

When we started this on January 24th, 2011 we never expected to have such success and such a following. We are all truly humbled by the support, the messages, the comments we have been left from right here in Minnesota and all over the world.

Our goal was really simple. When we started training Gopher we read everything we could find on therapy dogs. The majority of the volumes dealt with training and a few precious gems actually discussed the experience, they however quickly shifted to discussions of healthcare in America, or how we treat our senior citizens. While these are important topics, we wanted to hear more about the experiences on this side of the leash.

It was our hope that if we put this out there we could help a few potential new therapy animal handlers in understanding the experience and maybe help increase the understanding of what a therapy animal does, and some insight to the human and non-human animal bond.

We hope we have succeeded in doing this and look forward to continuing!

We are thankful everyday for the opportunity to spend over 2,000 hours collectively with 100's patients, students and families. 



The first story of a dog doing therapy work comes to us from Catholicism, and the story of Saint Roch (circa 1348- circa 1379).  It is humbling to be a part of such a long history, and be part of the 1,000's of registered therapy animals around the world.

For our fans, if you would like to send us a message or leave a comment with your favorite story from Gopher Sessions please do and we will update you as best as we can on the people involved, and where the patient is today.

Thank you again, and hug your dog!