Because I visit a hospital, it isn’t often I can release a photo of a patient, but this young patient happens to be my granddaughter. Her eye surgery just happened to be scheduled on the day when Dino and I usually visit, so we surprised her by popping in. After she was taken to the operating suite, Dino and I continued visiting with other patients in the surgical holding area, our favorite department in the hospital. When asked later what she remembered about the whole experience, my granddaughter simply replied, “Dino came to see me.”
As a Pet Partners instructor, I like to point out to prospective handlers that while we all wish for special moments like this, in reality, many visits will be pleasant but unremarkable. A few years ago when I was working with a pug named Saxon, I received a phone call from my neighbor, who asked if I had been to the hospital the day before. She explained that her daughter’s friend was a patient at the facility I visit, and when she called the little girl’s mm to check on her, she was told about a therapy dog visit and how much it brightened the child’s spirits. She knew from the description of the team that it must have been me. I had visited quite a few children that day and all the encounters had been pleasant, but none stood out in my mind. My neighbor, thinking this might be the case, wanted me to know how much our visit had meant to this child and her mom. So, my advice to new teams: never underestimate the value of what you do. The impact you make may be more than you realize.