I got to visit a hospital yesterday that I hadn’t been to in a really long time. In fact, when my human found our page in the volunteer sign in notebook, she saw our last time was the second week of November! So we were way overdue for a visit.
At this particular hospital, I visit mostly adults, and often their families, if they are visiting. The first patient didn’t have any visitors at the moment except for us. He was happy to see me because he had two cats at home. Even though he had an IV stand with several tubes going into his arms, he still managed to pet me and spend time with me. He was a very nice man, it wasn’t long before I had settled in next to him, purring and making happy paws.
The next patient I visited was an older woman whose feet were in some sort of braces or bandages. Her husband was with her, and they both enjoyed having me there. The woman asked my human what benefits patients got by having therapy pets visit. So my human explained about the calming influence we have on the patients, and how we can even lower blood pressure. She also mentioned that it was especially nice when I got to visit patients without any family who might be lonely in the hospital. But of course I also enjoy visiting patients with rooms full of visitors too!
Not everyone wanted a visit with me, of course. There was one Spanish speaking patient with her family visiting who said she wanted a dog. My human understood enough Spanish to know that’s what she said. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a dog team with us today, though. And while lots of the nurses enjoyed seeing me, one was allergic, so she couldn’t get near me at all.
The last patient was especially happy to see me. She was an older lady, so my human pointed out my “candy striper” bow tie, because she knew she would remember candy stripers. This patient had had cats at one time, but when her black cat disappeared around Halloween many decades ago, she was too heartbroken to have another cat. Even so, she adored having me visit. She agreed with my human that people who have mistaken assumptions about cats being aloof and unfriendly must have never spent quality time with a kitty.
I had a great time visiting!