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Therapy dogs ease the waiting

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The Love Dog therapy team visits in the Surgical Waiting Room of our partner hospital and people often ask me what the dogs "do" there? This is a superb arena for the dogs as people are there for hours sometimes, anxious, bored and just waiting, waiting, waiting. Today when Benny visited, we saw seven people. When we entered the room, surprise was on everyone's face - why was a DOG here they wondered?

But the first thing I heard was "I was visiting Las Vegas with my friend and she needed surgery so we are here longer than we planned. I miss my dog so much!" This woman sat with Benny on her lap for fifteen minutes chatting about her trip. "What a way to spend a vacation - in the hospital." Then she shared stories about her own dog and seemed to really calm down and even smiled while she waited for news about her friend.

Then I saw two gentlemen looking at us and I asked if they would like to meet Benny. They lit up and started telling me about their dog, a fluffy one like Benny. While we were visiting they got the news their family member was out of surgery. Yehh! Benny was so happy for them.

Then we saw three women sitting way over in the corner. They kept looking at us so I walked Benny over to them. I explained he was a therapy dog and had just spent time upstairs visiting people in their rooms and wanted to stop by to say hello on his way home.

I asked Benny to sit and they could not believe how calm he was. That is all we ever hear when working but Pet Partner therapy dogs have to be calm to make the cut. Benny must have thought we were chatting too long without paying attention to him, because he lay down at their feet and just looked at the ladies, lovingly. We passed out Benny's trading card and everyone found his story so interesting.

I showed everyone how he has some special issues and they understood that even with "issues" he was a perfect dog!

Then as we were getting ready to leave one more person looked up from what she was reading. "May I see the dog?" she asked. Of course, so we walked over to her. We could tell she was upset and perhaps this was the most important visit as she picked up Benny and just held him real close. He snuggled in for a tight hug and they just rocked back and forth together.

For this woman it was comforting. And for the little dog, it was the reward he was hoping for all day, to truly make a difference for someone and be held in such loving arms.

To learn more about the Love Dog therapy program in Las Vegas, visit www.lovesogadventures.com and to learn about Pet Partners go to www.petpartners.org.

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