Therapy Dogs – Unconditional Love For All

Over the years, the dogs and I have visited well over 100 people. Each visit was unique and enjoyable, but sometimes you have visits that makes your heart sing.

One visit that comes to my mind was a gentleman in the chemo suite at the cancer clinic. He was sitting in a chair facing the hallway. He looked sad as he hung his head. When he raised his head and opened his eyes, he saw Shadrach coming down the hall toward the chemo suite. A big smile lit up his face as he held out his arms motioning for the dog to come to him. He loved and loved on the dog. He visited with me and told me about the dog he once had and how much he loved it. It was a wonderful time and gave the gentleman a brief respite from his sadness and worries. The nurses said they had never seen him so happy and talkative.

On another visit to the cancer clinic, a woman wanted to take Shadrach home with her. She loved him so much, so we always tried to bring him there on the day she had chemotherapy. She always asked to take him home with her. I took a picture of her with Shadrach and gave it to her. When she passed away, the nurse found the photograph under her pillow.

Shadrach’s visit with the young man who had undergone cancer brain surgery will always be a favorite. Shadrach sat on the bed with him for 2 hours. Not only did he bring happiness to the man, but just having Shadrach close helped to stabilize his blood pressure.

Children love the dogs, too. A little girl with Leukemia who lived in Texas enjoyed the pictures I sent her of the dogs. I told her I hoped she could meet them someday. One of my best days ever was when her family came to Oregon for a visit and she was able to meet the dogs in person.

The mother of a little boy with cancer asked if we would bring our puppies for a visit. The boy was so excited to receive a puppy visit he jumped up and down on the front porch with joy when we pulled into the driveway. We took all 10 puppies. The boy laid down in the middle of the puppy pen and said, “Put them all on top of me.” That’s precisely what we did. He giggled and loved the puppies as they crawled all over him. It was fun to watch this little one who had been through so much have a time of pure joy.

We did a presentation of the dogs for a 5th-grade class. Shadrach attached himself to a little boy and continued to lick his right ear until I thought it would fall off! The boy thought it was fun as he got a good ear washing! The teacher told me the boy was having surgery on that ear the next day! Shadrach sensed that this little boy was having trouble with his ear. Shadrach was licking his ear to soothe it.

Each visit we do with the dogs is so precious. It is incredible what these gentle giants do for people. To see a sad face turn into one of joy, to look at the tears of emotions and just watching the unconditional love the dogs give to others is a gift to cherish and I am thankful to be a part of the NottaBear Newfoundlands.

Photos Courtesy Of The Author and NottaBear Newfoundlands