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Hospice visits with your therapy dog

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She had a little dog once. In fact, she had many small dogs. They are all gone now.

But she remembers.

Each and every one of them.

Their smell, touch, sound.

All she wanted was to hold a little dog again.

And feel soft kisses.

A little dog named Petey was assigned through the hospice group he volunteers with. Petey is very small, just four pounds, but has the biggest heart.

The first time he met the woman, he fell in love. And it was mutual.

She beamed when she saw the tiniest of therapy dogs enter her room.

"I am so glad they sent me a little dog, not a big one! He is so much like MY dogs."

That was three months ago and the weekly visits continue. Petey's friend is sometimes sitting up but mostly lying in bed.

Petey doesn't care.

He can sit in her lap or curl up in the crook of her arm.

Sometimes she is alert and talkative. Sometimes she is quiet or even asleep.

Petey doesn't care.

Sometimes she pets him or holds his little body close.

Sometimes he has to do the maneuvering to get real close so she can feel him, and he can feel her.

Petey doesn't care.

All Petey cares about is that his new friend is still there for him to visit and still remembers him, even if she doesn't always appear to.

He knows she remembers his smell and touch.

He knows she remembers that he may not be HER dogs, but he is a dog she has come to love.

A dog that she looks forward to seeing.

That is what hospice visiting with a therapy dog is all about.

Something to look forward to. Someone to look forward to.

Petey will understand when the visits stop.

But he will remember his friend with great love.

That is the reward for a great therapy dog.

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