Man’s best friend, huh?
I’ll admit, that’s not what my husband and I were thinking Monday afternoon when we learned our dog, Ginger, had somehow gotten into one of the bags of school supplies we’d purchased for our daughters. My husband arrived home from work to find markers and cardboard strewn all over our living room, and that night we had to go out and replace some of the supplies Ginger had chewed up.
I had to laugh at the timing, because just days earlier I’d written an article for our September issue about the ways therapy pets improve people’s lives. I interviewed people who told me stories about the wonderful things they’d seen happen as a result of therapy pets’ visits to people of all ages. Sister Margaret Mary Ryan said she once witnessed a 102-year-old fellow Sister of St. Joseph ‚Äì who hadn’t been mobile in some time ‚Äì get up and walk into another room because she was so eager to see a small dog that had come to visit her at the SSJ motherhouse where she lived.
Both Sister Ryan and Mark Simpelaar, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at St. Ann’s Community, said they’ve seen pets bring comfort to patients on their deathbeds as well. Simpelaar told me about a paralyzed woman whose dying wish was to see a dog. Staff members were able to bring a therapy dog to this woman’s bedside, and the woman opened her eyes and smiled. Staff took her hand and ran it over the dog’s fur, and tears of joy streamed down the face of the woman, who died shortly afterward, Simpelaar recalled.
Such stories remind me that chewed-up school supplies are minor inconveniences that pale in comparison to the benefits we gain from Ginger’s presence in our family.