PETS AND FRIENDS IS HONOURED TO HAVE SUCH FANTASTIC PET VISITING TEAMS SHARING THE HEALING COMFORT AND COMPANIONSHIP OF ANIMALS IN THE LOWER MAINLAND.
IN AN EFFORT TO HIGHLIGHT OUR DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS, PETS AND FRIENDS IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FEATURED MEMBER INITIATIVE, DESIGNED TO FEATURE A DIFFERENT MEMBER EVERY MONTH.
March 2017: Meet Pet Therapy Team Susan Morin and Teddi.
Volunteer Facility: Ridge Meadow’s Hospital
How long have you been volunteering with Pets and Friends? 1 ½ years
How did you get involved with Pets and Friends?
I inquired at our local hospital, Ridge Meadows in Maple Ridge, on how to get involved in their Code K9 Pet Visitor Program.
They advised me to get screened and trained through Pets and Friends and then to apply back to Ridge Meadows to become members of their volunteer team.
What is your favourite part about volunteering?
The patients’ reactions and smiles every time they visit with Teddi. It is a very rewarding experience.
TEDDI ALL DRESSED UP AND READY FOR ‘WORK’.
Describe a typical visitation.
We visit Ridge Meadows Hospital and Baillie House every Wednesday morning.
We cover as much of the hospital as we can manage before Teddi starts falling asleep on laps.
He just loves it but it is tiring for him after hours of visiting and engaging with so many people.
We visit the general rehab area, the cast room, IV therapy, Oncology, X-ray and Ultrasound, the Lab, the mental health unit and all the waiting rooms along the way.
I find that staff and visitors get as much benefit from seeing Teddi as the patients do, so we try to see as many people as possible.
To date, what is your favorite memory of volunteering?
There are so many rewarding memories but will share two of my favorites.
1) We walked into the mental health unit a few months ago and a woman was sitting in a chair sobbing uncontrollably.
She motioned that she wanted to see Teddi.
I placed him on her lap (he’s just 6.5 lbs of love) and he climbed up her chest and licked the tears from her face.
She held him and said repeatedly, “I’m okay little dog.”
After a few moments, she calmed right down and thanked me for bringing him to her when she needed him most.
I had tears as well and told her that Teddi knew just what to do.
2) While visiting Baillie house one day, an elderly man was sitting in a wheelchair with a visitor beside him (his son).
I approached and asked if he liked dogs. The son said that his Dad used to love dogs but had been non-verbal for months.
I placed Teddi in his Dad’s lap and to the surprise of us both, the elderly patient hugged Teddi and whispered to him.
We’re not sure what he said but it was definitely verbal.
Both of the above were such rewarding experiences, as are so many others.
What do you think is the most important part of about your visits?
The ability for Teddi to bring joy and comfort to those needing it most. He brings smiles to everyone: patients, visitors and staff.
Some staff members take a few moments to stop and hold him for a snuggle and you can just see the stress leave them.
What is Teddi’s favourite part about visiting?
Teddi loves the attention. He is so excited to see everyone.
If someone walks by him without acknowledging him in some way he wants to turn and chase them down as if to say, “Hello, did you not see me?” He has such a positive effect on most everyone.
Tell us about Teddi.
Teddi is a 6.5 lb Morkie, that is, half Maltese and half Yorkie. He is the perfect little dog;
Non-shedding, non-allergenic and loves everyone from kids to seniors. When he was just a puppy we took him to visit a friend who was in hospice.
He snuggled up to him and wouldn’t leave. Teddi just seemed to know his purpose.
When Teddi turned 2 years old, I signed up for the Pets and Friends screening and while there was some concern about his age, I knew he was ready and meant for this.
Teddi gets a bath every Tuesday night before his Wednesday morning visits.
He knows the routine, so hops out of bed early on Wednesday mornings because he is so excited to go to work.
Every other day of the week, he sleeps until 10:00 a.m.
When I put his “Code K9” bandana on him he can barely control his excitement because he knows he is going to work.
We park in the back of the lot and he pulls me all the way to the hospital doors because he can’t wait to get there. He truly loves it.
I tell all the kids we meet in the hospital that Teddi has a really important job: his job is to make people smile!!! When we get home after our visits he is exhausted and sleeps all afternoon.
SUSAN AND TEDDI, PET THERAPY TEAM
What do you and Teddi like to do for fun?
He LOVES his daily walks and we have to refrain from saying ‘the two Ws’ (Walk and Work) out loud until it is actually time for one or the other as he can hardly contain his excitement. He loves to run, play fetch and play with the children in our lives.
Once tired out, Teddi is content to fall asleep on anyone’s lap.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I was a patient at Ridge Meadows Hospital in 2009 and am still an out-patient today.
I had breast cancer and related surgeries, and a pet therapy volunteer would often stop by during my chemotherapy sessions.
I loved the visits and vowed that when I got better I would volunteer in some way.
I received wonderful care at Ridge Meadows and welcome the opportunity to “give back”. I am currently in remission and thankful for every day.
Thank you, Susan and Teddi, for sharing your pet therapy journey! I
f you know would like to learn more about Pets and Friends’ Pet Therapy Program, please email Katie Oster, Coordinator of Volunteer Services.
Well Ruth, this could be a loooooooong letter by George.
Birthday girl tommorrow, but her best bud, my husband Wally says he draws the line at a party for her ha ha ha. Sassy is some dog.
So incredibly different than the Paps I have been used to but she has the most incredible personality.
She really is a GOOD’BAD DOG but her personality saves her every time.
She totally has the stand up temperament I needed for a therapy dog. Ya done good choosing her for me.
This is about 3 days after Sassy arrived. Rowdy who is 12 then, wanted nothing to do with her.
But one morning I woke up and she was sleeping against his butt. She is a persistent little girl.
Every time he lay down anywhere for the next couple of months, she was glued to his body.
Oh and by the way she has been going to visit the young adults in the young offenders since she was 4 mos old.
I had been volunteering there with my old Pap and I knew what the kids really needed.
So I got special permission to try her as she is too young to be certified yet. What a hit she is with those kids.
They are teaching her tricks under my guidance and feel so great when a month later she comes back and she still remembers what they want.
And she is a total cuddle bug.
We also visit a group of moms with young kids. With the adults she is cuddly and loving and sweet. But with the kids she really loves to play.
It is hard to believe that a dog so young has those different sides to her already.
But she is bringing a lot of joy to quite a few people, to say nothing of me.
This is Wally, the love of each others lives. If he is around, I don’t count!!
Now her bratty part. She is obsessed with water so my Granddaughter bought her a pool for the summer.
(we thought we had bought a white muskrat)!!! And she loves to dig the dirt behind my big lily plants. Then hit the pool.
No problem until fall when the pool went away. Uh huh she decided the communal water bowl in the house was also to play in.
Water everywhere. So I got a bigger bowl to put the water bowl in and she makes less mess.
I find she doesn’t like a dirty face or eyes and literally washes them there. Wonderful letting me clip her etc.
I am sending you some pics and I will write under them so you get the picture!!!
We love her dearly and even old Rowdy puts up with so much from her. He would be lost without her now.
She has to sleep on her buddy’s feet BUT she likes her comforts….
So she drags her sheepskin rug or a towel or whatever she can get and puts it on Wally’s feet before she lies down.
2 days ago it was a full size bed sheet folded up that was going to cover plants outside when the latest snow leaves!
She is really strong. Can and does pull her big mattress from our bedroom into the kitchen if we are out and she is bored.
Take care and thanks for asking about her.
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