My mother used to say what blesses one, blesses all. I truly feel this way about volunteering on Akron Children’s Hospital’s Doggie Brigade.
When visiting the floors and rooms, my dog, Kip, is treated like a rock star. He gets tons of attention, loads of patting and loving for patients, parents and staff. The kids get a snuggling dog in bed with them and I get to meet a lot of great kids, parents, families and staff.
We were visiting a few years back on the last day of the WDDD Have-a-Heart-Do-Your-Part radiothon. The hospital was very busy with folks donating, watching the program and running gifts to patients.
Other Doggie Brigade teams had come to visit as well. Kip and I decided to visit the PICU floor. The unit was also busy with patients, families and volunteers delivering Heart-a-thon gifts.
I decided just to leave, not wanting to get in the way. On our way out of the PICU, one of the nurses came up to us and said, “I’m so glad you are here. We have a little guy who is missing his dog. Would you come and visit him?”
When Kip and I got to the room, a little guy, maybe 5 or 6, had a picture of his dog leaning against the bed rail so he could see it. His eyes were closed and he was resting. The nurse told the boy that there was a dog in his room to visit him.
I lifted Kip on the bed next to the boy. His eyes were still closed, but when he put his hand back and felt Kip next to him, the biggest smile came across the boy’s face and the grin continued the entire visit. Kip and I left feeling very good.
One of our favorite floors to visit is 6200. One week, we came into a young teen’s room. That particular day was the first day she was awake and feeling better. This young lady loved dogs and Kip sensed that. He snuggled in bed with her for close to a half hour, both dog and girl content.
The following week, we were back visiting on 6200. As we were walking down the hall, Kip pulled me into a room and jumped on the bed to visit the patient who was waiting for discharge orders. I was horrified at his behavior because he had never done anything like this during our visits.
The patient turned out to be the same girl Kip had bonded with the previous week. Kip had sensed “his girl” was in that room and he couldn’t wait to see her. She was just as delighted to see him.
Just last week we visited a young patient on 6100 who needed to drink fluids and wasn’t eager to do so. A student nurse from Stark State was kindly motivating the young girl to drink.
Kip got up on the bed, laid beside her and watched her intently as she tried to sip her water through a straw. To encourage fluids, that clever student nurse got a Dixie cup of water for Kip and both patient and dog lay in bed and drank away.
Children’s Hospital is filled with such caring and compassionate staff. Every staff member I’ve encountered is dedicated to their work and each patient’s heath, recovery and well-being. Nurses have stopped me and asked if I could visit a certain patient, even if that child is on another floor.
I’m grateful to be part of the Doggie Brigade!
Have you been touched by our Doggie Brigade? We’d love to hear your story, or you can comment on this post.