Rizzo loves being a therapy dog

Rizzo has been a member of Akron Children’s Doggie Brigade for 7 years. She has competed and titled in obedience and rally.

But her favorite AKC title is TD – Therapy Dog. She gets so excited when we get to the hospital. She knows it means lots of hugs and pets and treats.

Over the years she has had so many wonderful visits. One that always comes to mind was a visit on the oncology floor. We visited a small child who was quite ill and after a bit we left to move on to the next patient.

The mother followed us into the hall and asked if she could give Rizzo a hug herself. She sat down on the floor right there in the hall and hugged Rizzo, crying. Rizzo put her head on the lady’s shoulder and just leaned into her, as if to say, “I am here for you.”

After several minutes, the mom explained she needed to be strong in front of her child, but Rizzo had given her a chance to just let go.

Besides our hospital visits, we participate in special events for Akron Children’s. Rizzo and her brother Logan, who is also in the Brigade, have done the Breakfast with Santa event that is part of Akron Children’s Holiday Tree Festival for the past several years. Not sure if it’s the kids or the smell of the bacon they like best!

In our family, therapy dog is a very important title. The picture on the porch shows Snickers (left) who was our first therapy dog. She was a Doggie Brigader for 5 years before she crossed over the rainbow bridge. The next golden is Hannah, who is also a Doggie Brigader. Rizzo is on the far right.

We can’t imagine not visiting. It is a real privilege to bring a little joy to those we meet at the hospital, be it patients, families or staff.

Have you been touched by our Doggie Brigade? We’d love to hear your story, or you can comment on this post.

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