Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pixie, the Hospice Therapy Dog

I honestly don't know how Hospice got my name, but one day, in my email, was a note from the volunteer coordinator of hospice asking if I would be interested in joining the hospice team with Pixie.  I had to really think about this, and I did say yes.  I had to go through a background check, of course, and I had to jump through a few hoops, including some training.  Then I received my first assignment.  And we were off. 

This photo is one of Pixie as she's waiting in the car to leave for "work."  If there's enough time in the car, Pixie grabs a quick nap.  I'm not allowed to take photos in the nursing homes or of the clients with whom we work, and that is fine with me.  As soon as we walk in the doors of the facilities where we "work," Pixie hikes up her shoulders and heads down the halls.

It's amazing to see her "work."  We leave smiles in the pathways we walk.
Everyone seems to know her name.  They don't know mine!! :)  That's okay. 

We have met some wonderful women and men.  Most of them like dogs, but those who say they don't, we assure that we will not come near them.  In one mental facility, one gentleman told me he hated dogs and that if he had his 22, he'd shoot Pixie.  I assured him that we would not go near him.  Pixie didn't like him at all!

I've found that Pixie is very sensitive and picks up a lot of information as she works. 

1) I have found that if someone is actively dying, even if they are not aware of it, she will go into their rooms, but she will not go near them.
I thought that was interesting.

2) I have found that if someone doesn't like dogs, or if they prefer cats, Pixie will go to them, very reluctantly. 

3) I have found that, often, staff sometimes need Pixie's visits more than clients.

4) I have found that Pixie likes her ice cream treats when she is finished.

5) I have found that there are some very wonderful people who know they are dying but still wish to live as much as they can while they are alive.

6) I have found that Pixie is a good hospice therapy dog.



TesoriTrovati said...

I think this is just marvelous what you and Pixie are doing. She is providing some wonderful feelings for these people and giving them something positive to look forward to. I think that Pixie looks excited in that picture! Thanks for sharing your story and insights. Enjoy the day! Erin

Kokopelli said...

What a wonderful story! I hope you'll tell us more about it from time to time.

Liz E said...

What an interesting post, and GREAT work to be doing. Animals can be so amazing. Your list was fascinating. Maybe when I finally get another dog I will try to get one that can be trained for that kind of work. Comfort comes in so many different forms.