Abby and I became a pet therapy team at my Veterinarian's suggestion. He said Abby needed a job (I thought the suggestion was very funny as I had just lost mine after 15 years.) I took his suggestion, got Abby certified and started volunteering at Morristown Medical which is where I had my double knee replacement. I distinctly remember that the happiest part of my day was my therapy dog visits. Just a cuddle or a lick helped to relieve my stress and anxiety which was off the charts.
Now, why did I continue as a therapy dog team? There are so many stories but I am just going to focus on one particular day. I happened to be at the hospital when a certain patient was diagnosed with throat cancer. It was such a devastating diagnosis and you could see that his world had just collapsed around him. I was talking to his wife and she asked if her husband could pet Abby. She called him over and when he finally acknowledged us, he slowly approached with such despair in his eyes. He began petting Abby while his wife and I continued to talk and the next thing we saw was his laying on the ground just hugging Abby. His anguish began to dissipate and for about 15 minutes his troubles seemed to disappear. I will never forget that day. Pet Therapy is a gift and I want to continue giving this gift to as many cancer patients as I can.