Richard, Claudia, Parka and CuzzieHey there folks; it's Zane again. It's been a while since I've had access to the computer but since Gary and Vicki left for the store a while ago and forgot to turn off the computer, I'll take advantage of the opportunity to play catch up.As you know, my new career as a therapy dog started about three months ago. I work at a place called University of California Irvine Medical Center which is a pretty big hospital with lots of specialty areas. I work in two areas, one is called the "partial patient" adolescent unit and the other is a regular medical unit. The partial patient facility provides group therapy to teenagers who come in for counseling during the day time hours only (that's why it's called partial patient I guess). Gary and Vicki take me to meet the teens and their doctor (Dr. Koppke) on Tuesdays. There are usually about 7 to 10 in our group. I just love working with the teens as they get to handle me as they discuss their feelings under the guidance of Dr. Koppke. I get the whole routine, including brushing of the teeth, hair, and games like basketball (I now have my own NBA basketball which all the teens get to sign with a felt tip pen). I also get to show off my routine of tricks which Gary and Vicki has taught me. The trick most seem to like is where I play dead when they shout "BANG". I have also learned to pray which many of the other doctors seem to like. I've even learned to do the pray trick when told to do so in Spanish (which makes me a bilingual therapy dog). I work with them for about an hour, then, at the end of our meeting we all gather around for what Dr. Koppke and Gary call the "group hug" as they say good-bye for the week. That's when they all get me down on the floor and rub me all over trying to find my "sweet spot" which makes me smile ear-to-ear. It really does. It's so much fun for me and them. After working with the teens I go to another facility for about another hour of work where we meet individually with patients that have requested a visit from me and signed a consent form ahead of my arrival. It's in a unit called "fifth-floor tower". Most of the patients here are either going-to or coming-from surgery or have a variety of other ailments. My visits seem to cheer them up and again, they love seeing me do my tricks. But most of all, they like to visit and chat with Gary and Vicki as they rub my ears and neck. It's so relaxing for me and it seems to get their minds off their immediate problems. Almost all the patients have dogs at home which they miss so much and it's good to hear their dog stories. The nurses and doctors on the fifth floor all love to pet me as we make our rounds and it gives them a break too from their stressfull days. When we get done working we usually go to the cafeteria where Gary and Vicki get a snack as I rest on the cool floor by their table. But even there, the many doctors and nurses and helpers of all kinds like to come over and pet my soft warm hair and ask about me. Your name comes up often as my history is explained.I know that Gary put you into contact with one special patient who lost his sight recently to glaucoma. Gary and Vicki told him all about you and me and Parka. I hope to see him again next week during our visit and I hope that you inspired him to get apply to the guide dog school where you got me (I think he presently uses just a cane and an assistant to get around so a guide dog would be great for him). So in a way Dad, you and I are still working together! I will send a picture or two of me at the hospital that maybe you can post on the Zane Train Blog.Love you so much, and as usual, give Claudia and Cuzzie and that lovely little lady, Miss Parka, a big hug and kiss from me. I love them too.
Cheers, Dear Loveable Zane.