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The power of “dog”

Posted by: | December 19, 2010 | 9 Comments |

Cindi and I escorted the Petite Princess to Memorial Hospital yesterday afternoon. We had one very special patiant to see before our visit would end.

We always start our visits by seeing the ladies in the admissions offices. They told us the hospital was pretty full so there will a lot of folks that could use a visit. We met and made 2 new friends before moving on to the second floor waiting rooms.  

In the critical care waiting room we met a mom who was waiting for her son to come out of surgery, Shelby lept up on the couch and laid down next to the mom and helped pass the time. After about 10 minutes Shelby jumped back into to her wagon and we made our way to the other side of the hospital.

We had been advised that a young woman around 20 years old had been struck by a car and had a brain injury. They let us know that she had responded well to other dogs that had come to visit her. This young lady who we’ll call “Amy”, was the main reason for our visit today.

When you do any kind of pet assited therapy one of the key factors to a successful visit is to monitor your dogs stress level. Before we visited Amy we wanted Shelby to be warmed up and ready to go. Cindi and I talked about the best way to approach the visit. We decided if at all possible we would get a chair so we could sit right next to Amy’s bed and I could sit Shelby on my lap so her head and front leg would be on the bed while I’d support her weight.  If we couldn’t do that, I would need to hold Shelby while we visited Amy. Holding Shelby while we visit is the last thing I wanted to do. Even thought she is is the Petite Princess, after a few minutes she doesn’t feel very petite!

As we walked up to Amy’s room, we saw an empty chair and the side of her bed was open, we had total access for a comfortable visit. We walked in and were greeted by Amy’s mom, aunt and sister. Shelby and I sat down next to the bed, I introduced myself and Shelby to Amy and as soon as Shelby got settled next to Amy, she reached out and started to stroke Shelby’s head.  The camera phone’s came out and everyone started taking pictures! I was watching Amy’s eyes and continued to talk with her while Cindi was chatting with the mom, aunt and sister.

We had been told that Amy responded well to dogs that had visited her before, but I was still blown away by how quickly and deliberatly Amy had reached out for Shelby. We visited with Amy for about 5 minutes or so when she fell back to sleep. Her mom apologized because she couldn’t stay awake longer. I assured her the best I could that we were happy to be able to visit her no matter how long or brief the visit was.

“Amy” is being moved to another hospital on Monday where we are not cleared to visit. Amy’s mom was adament about wanting the dog visits to continue. We told her when they get to the new hospital to tell them she wanted dog visits and the hospital would do everything they could to make it happen.

We had a total of 8 visits yesterday. Everyone of those visits was magical. The patients and their families enjoyed Shelby and we enjoyed spending a few minutes with them. We saw a family we had met 4 months ago,  their dad would be going home this Wednesday. Almost everyone we visited would be able to spend Christmas at home.  

Shelby put in a 2 hour day and brought a lot of joy to folks. We met and made new friends and it’s always so nice when you hear the nurses and doctors say, Oh boy, Shelby’s here!  We also passed out an autographed picture of the Petite Princess that John, Maximutt’s dad, had taken. Without fail, that new photo brought a smile or chuckle to everyone when they saw the new picture!

We have said it before and we’ll say it again, we firmly believe in the “Power of Dog.”

under: Conversations with Shelby


  1. By: admin on December 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm      

    Magic and joy indeed. Keep up the good work there Shelby! 🙂

  2. By: Lee on December 20, 2010 at 11:10 am      

    Great Job Guy’s, Shelby Too

  3. By: Ginger on December 20, 2010 at 8:46 pm      

    I totally agree with you and believe in the power of “dog.” While I did not have any canine visitors at the hospital, I got a lot of dog love once home. I think I am now finally healing nicely – due to the power of “dog.” Well, maybe husbands and narcortics helped some too!!

    I love the work you do Princess and know you make every patient heal a little quicker just by your prescense and spirit you give off to them.

    Golden hugs,
    Ginger’s Mom

  4. By: Rosie's Mom on December 20, 2010 at 11:53 pm      

    Way to Go, Shelby!! I firmly believe in the power of ‘dog’ and you are an angel for helping people the way you do!!

    Rosie and her momsa

  5. By: CatiesMom on December 21, 2010 at 6:30 am      

    Spreading the magic and power of dog – what a wonderful, joyous, meaningful, generous thing you do.

    Simply beautiful.

  6. By: etgayle on December 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm      

    shelby, you are a blessing on three legs!!! your parents are angels as well, sharing you with everyone, knowing the power of the princess.

    charon & gayle

  7. By: jerry on December 24, 2010 at 12:57 am      

    Healing the world, three legs at a time.

    Shelby, you rock!

  8. By: Joni Cochran on December 26, 2010 at 11:58 am      

    I’m happy to have known Shelby and seen her at work. Thanks for sharing her continuing accomplishments.

  9. By: credocanis on January 3, 2011 at 8:22 pm      

    Nothing greater than the power of a dog, in my opinion. Looks like there is nothing greater than the power of the P.P. either. How wonderful for “Amy” and how generous of you to make it happen.

    Keep the magic coming!! Go Shelby.

    Lincoln’s Mom

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