India and I have been a therapy team since 2018. During that time, we’ve had opportunities to engage in multiple settings with patients, staff and visitors. During visits, we are often asked about training a service dog. This has opened up the opportunity to share about Pet Partners mission and explain the difference between a therapy dog and service dog.
I’ve seen the impact India has had with patients and staff in the hospital. Faces light up when she enters a room, staff express how a tough day is lightened after engaging with India. Recently this impact hit home in several sweet moments.
We were able to use India’s love for puzzles to engage with residents at a healthcare facility by hiding treats in the puzzle. They got a kick out of hiding the treats and watching her find them. It also provides an extra benefit of working on fine motor skills that are diminished with age, illness or injury.
India was also asked to be part of the treatment plan for two cancer patients. After a recent visit, one of the patients expressed that having India beside her as they started the treatment took the fear and stress out of the meds being started. The other expressed the difference having India next to her as the doctor was discussing her progress.
With the chapter closing in Indiana, as we were moving to North Carolina, I wanted to let these two patients know that we were thinking about them and would continue to send pawsitive thoughts from afar. Enclosed in the cards were two pictures of Indy for the rough days that they needed a smile.
Another sweet moment was captured when India entered the room of a bedridden patient. Her whole face lit up when India walked up to her bedside. It is moments like this that make me so thankful to be part of Pet Partners and seeing the impact therapy animals make in people’s lives.
We look forward to continuing our journey, as a therapy team, in North Carolina.