Well here I am at home learning a new trick.... "roll over". Somehow in my vast training I never learned how to do the "roll over" trick. So last week when I was visiting my pals at the Partial Patient unit at UCI Medical Center Gary and Vicki promised everybody they would teach me how to roll over. Darn...and the treats were coming so easy; now I'll have to work harder for them. Oh well, I guess every good dog should know how to roll over. So far I know: sit, down, stay, come, heel, Smoky Bear, shake, circle, bang, pray and "OK". "OK" is my favorite as that is usually followed by "good boy" and a treat! Most everybody loves my "pray" trick which is pretty easy.
My work responsibilities as a therapy dog have changed a bit. Now I am working in three separate facilities at the hospital. Once a week Gary and Vicki drive me down to the hospital where I spend the first hour with a bunch of great teens. There I get introduced as Gary and Vicki explain my background.... especially my work as a Guide Dog with Richard. I get treats as I go from person to person doing my tricks. Most of the teens have pets of some sort at home and so they just love the opportunity to talk about their pets, and their experiences with them. I get my teeth brushed, my hair brushed, and lots of petting and belly rubs which some times makes me sleepy. At the end of our session we always have what has come to be known as the "group hug". They all get down on the floor and rub me all over looking for what Gary and Vicki call my "sweet spot". When somebody finds it I begin to smile a REAL smile. It feels so good. I love group hugs.
When leave that unit I go to the "infusion center" where patients are getting IV drips of all kinds of stuff to cure various types of cancer. I've come to know a few of the patients pretty well and they now look for me each week. The nurses usually pull up a chair, put a white sheet on it, and let me jump up onto it so I'm at the level of the patients. And you can sure see me against that white sheet!
My last hospital unit is called orthopedics. I think that means bone problems. Seems like many of these patients have had falls and car accidents and such. Again, I get to sit in a chair by their bedsides and get petted a lot. Of course more treats are given as I repeat my tricks.
I hope some of the patients, doctors, and nurses (or anybody I visit) that read this can find the time to send me a quick note. It will make my day to be reminded again of my short but fun visits with you. Richard and his new dog Parka love reading the posts too.
Till later, and Happy New Year!
Dear sweet lovable Zane.