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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Letter Sent to Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society)

I have so many stories about Gopher and I that sometimes I struggle to find the right words. Most of the time when I do get them written up and posted on here or talk to people I only here wonderful comments, and most of the time they are thankful to me when in reality it is Gopher who should be thanked as I am just the chauffeur. This last week a family member of a patient took my hand firmly and said, "God bless you, God bless you so much for your kindness, and thank your wife for sharing you and Gopher with us." I smiled and turned away quickly holding back tears as the thank you was so emphatic you knew it came from the deepest recesses of the soul. Occasionally I am greeted by rolled eyes, a skeptic who says I put too much emphasis on the dog or I am anthropomorphising Gopher too much. It is one of the many reasons I have begun sharing my stories. I can tell you that I absolutely do not reach too far into what Gopher has done, not only the effect he has had on people but his motivation and response to numerous different situations is beyond my grasp to understand fully. It has caused me to look deep within myself, search my own soul and intellect and even question my personal views on faith. If you have not had the opportunity to be in the presence of a working dog, or more effectively teach, live, and work with a dog that has a job you will find it hard to understand, however Gopher is open for appointments if you are open to seeing a different side of life.

All this goes through my head and this morning I read a lovely note that was sent to Pet Partners formerly Delta Society and I cannot help but sharing as it gives an unrelated to myself or Gopher viewpoint that I have experienced so many times. It also happens to be another Golden....

"As we walked in, we immediately turned into the nurse's station and met with some of the staff. At the same time there was a young girl who was asking to use the phone outside the nurses station. While Maddie and I continued to talk to the staff, I could hear the young lady crying and talking to her mother about wanting to commit suicide. Maddie 'told' me that she REALLY needed to 'talk' to that girl, so I made sure that we were available for her as soon as she got off the phone.

I asked (the girl) if she would like to talk to Madison for a while and I introduced the two of them. She told me that, "Madison can't talk." I told her, 'Maddie talks in a very unique way, but more importantly she listens. I'm going to be right over here talking with the other kids and the nurse. You just sit here and pet Maddie. If at any time you feel like talking, just talk to her, she'll listen.' I did retain the other end of the leash, but by turning my back, I excluded myself from their conversation.

After about 15 minutes, I heard a lot of talking, but it was relaxed, calm talking and talking that allowed her to work some things out. After about 1/2 hour, I turned to sit with them and she starting asking about Madison, what her job was in the hospital, how she got (registered), etc. She then asked me what kinds of animals could be pet therapy animals. I told her about Pet Partners and all of the various animals that they certify. I even told her about the horse who has special tennis shoes so that he can visit patients in (a) Colorado (hospital).

All this time she continued to pet Madison and talk to her too. Finally after about an hour, the break-through. She said, "When I grow up, I think this is something that I want to do."

I almost cried right there; in about an hour, she had gone from wanting to take her own life, to formulating a plan for the future. "

She also taught me something that night. That this is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. Thank you for doing all that you do to make our work this meaningful."


1 comment:

  1. Wow! It just goes to show what a huge impact our pups make!