Therapy Dogs Make a Difference

Have you ever had one of those special moments? I call them G-d moments.

I have been a registered therapy dog/cat pet partner for 10 years and I am currently working with my 4th dog. He is a long haired, mini dachshund and my first ever small dog. We have been visiting together for about 6 months and I am amazed at every time we visit, how much stronger we are getting as a team.   I have had very touching moments with all of my animals and clients over the years and many memories that are forever etched into my brain. But I had never had one of those G-d moments until this one evening.

Mackie in the radio flyer wagon

Mackie in the radio flyer wagon

One of the locations we visit is a children’s hospital. We are there every other week and on this particular night, we were asked to visit a child that was non-responsive. We were told that they were hoping they could put this child’s hand on Mackie (my dachshund) and maybe she would give some kind of response. They were looking for anything.

When we entered the room, it was dark and quiet. Mom was there in a corner and a child lay very still in her bed. We asked her if she wanted to visit with a dog and I put Mackie on a pillow next to her. She opened her eyes, and mom exclaimed, “That is the first time she has opened her eyes today”. Then the child’s hand came out from under the covers and she starting petting Mackie. Mom was in shock and I was thinking,”this child seems pretty responsive to me”. Mom went and stood at the foot of the bed taking pictures and suddenly, the young girl sat up in bed all by herself, and continued to pet Mackie. I hear mom start to weep, one of the nurses comes running into the room saying she wants to see and then tells mom to send those pictures to dad. I turn to look at the child life specialist and she had tears in her eyes. All I could think was that the child had done something extraordinary. We visited for about 15 minutes and mom could not thank us enough. The child life specialist kept saying “Miracle Mackie”. I left the hospital thinking how proud I was of my little man.

I received a call a few days later asking if we could make a special trip back to see this little girl. The doctor had actually prescribed a visit from Mackie for her. You see, it was then I was told she had a brain tumor and was not responding to radiation. And Mackie was the only thing that she had responded to in quite a while.

So of course we went back for another visit. This time the young girl spoke to us, with great difficulty, and told me she wanted Mackie’s card. He has trading cards that we give to every child we visit as a “souvenir” of our visit. She remembered it from our last visit and I gave her another set willingly. I almost started crying when she told us, through her drug induced haze, that she did not want Mackie to leave. We had a nice long visit until she could not keep her eyes open any longer. And through the whole visit, she never stopped petting Mackie.

I found out tonight, on our regularly scheduled visit to the hospital, that our young friend passed away a few days after our last visit with her.

I will forever be thankful that we had the opportunity to bring some comfort and joy to her and her family in her final days.

And this is what I called my G-d moment. Along with the realization, miracles do come in small packages. And one of those miracles is named Mackie.

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8 thoughts on “Therapy Dogs Make a Difference

  1. Oh Robin that is truly amazing and wonderful. Thank you a million times for what you do. You are one of the very special people in this world doing the most good.

  2. Dear Robin…what a beautiful story! You and Mackie touched that little girl’s heart and gave her the strength to respond. You gave her family some very special moments to cherish in a heartwrenching situation. What you do is wonderful, Robin…thank you!

  3. Mackie truly is a miracle dog. This was a beautiful story – thank you so very much for sharing how beneficial and life-changing pet therapy can be. We provide pet therapy to hospice patients, particularly with Alzheimer’s Disease, so it’s interesting to hear ways pet therapy is used in other settings. God Bless you, and of course Mackie, for allowing this child to feel the love of an animal during her last days. Very touching blog post. Thank you for all you and Mackie do.

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