Happy Anniversary! As of June, I’ve been blogging for a year! Granted, I’m not very good with time and calendars (I’m always right here, just now), so I missed the real anniversary. But what the heck….we started the blog during the pandemic because we weren’t able to see all of our friends, dogs and humans and cats alike. I especially missed the staff and patients at Hospice House, where I work. So I started blogging to send everyone love.
Now we are back working at hospice, and seeing a few friends, and we also have a bunch of blog followers. So I keep blogging and Caryn keeps typing it up for me and photographing our life (if you recall, I’m not very good with the fine motor-control parts, like keyboards)
Since I haven’t ever done a post on dog work, here goes…
I am what they call a therapy dog, and I work in a team with my human, Caryn
My job is to give people love. I am, as you might expect, perfectly suited for this job. I have a big heart, I am friendly, and I can tell when someone needs some love and support. We officially work at Whatcom Hospice House. My job is to be a loving presence for everyone at the House.
When Caryn brought me home for the first time, I had a lot of potential for this work, but not the best manners. I only knew three commands: Sit, roll over, and hug. This is me hugging Caryn, when I first met her:
Caryn told me I had to leave that trick behind if I was going to work with her. I had to learn a few other things, like walking nicely on a leash, and leaving things be (like delicious food) that weren’t mine. I’m a quick learner, so off I went to live with Caryn and learn how to be a therapy animal.
It was a lot of work, and I got my certificate in 2017. I’m very proud that I got 95% on my exam (If they hadn’t tempted me with that adorable stuffie, I would’ve nailed it with 100%).
Before I go to work, I usually go for a walk in the woods.
A little exercise and fresh air helps me calm down so I can be 100% present when I am with someone who is not feeling well, or is sad.
After our romp in the woods, off we go to Hospice House.
I have a vest that proclaims I am a bonafide working dog
but it gets in the way of petting, so mostly I just wear my official volunteer badge
First we have to say hello to Erin at the front desk
If anyone is coming to visit a patient, I see if they want a little love, or an escort
Then we go ask the nurses if there’s a patient who would like to see me. This often requires look deeply into the eyes of the nurse
then off we go to visit patients
occasionally bed snuggles happen
sometimes families want me close by too. I’m there for everybody.
On our way around the building we like to visit Mel, the nurse who takes care of all things nursing.
This requires an inspection of Beauregarde’s toy box, since he is rarely there when I come
Next to Mel’s office I give a little love to Dru and Lindsay (sigh, all in a day’s work!). When Eddie the chaplain (in the background) isn’t stuck to his computer I give him love too
Sometimes Duncan the harpist is there, so I assist him
and of course I try to assist in the kitchen, but they always say no thanks (rats!)
I love my job. Every time I go, I see how much the human animal bond enhances everyone’s well-being (mine and humans).
If you have any questions about what I do, or wonder how your pet could become a therapy animal, you can ask me by clicking on the “contact” or “submit your story” buttons at the top of the post. We’ll get back to you! And if you’re not subscribed to the blog yet, and would like to be, add your email to the box (top right or bottom of the site, depending on your device) and hit “subscribe”! Have a good week, and stay safe out there, xox, Tashi ♥♥♥♥