Pet Partners, the oldest organization that regsiters therapy animals, has designated April 30 as National Therapy Animal Day. It’s a day to honor and acknowledge us therapy pets for all the hard work we do… and our human handlers too.
My human believes that everyone should do some sort of community volunteer work, and this is how she is of service. She says she is lucky that my temperament and intelligence have made it possible to be part of a therapy animal program. But I also think I am lucky to have her, because not every human is able to be a therapy animal handler. Some people don’t have the time for this sort of volunteer work; others hate going into hospitals. Some people don’t have the kind of temperament or patience to train a pet for therapy work. And I think they are missing out because helping people who aren’t feeling well, or who are stressed out is one of the most rewarding experiences a human can have. Not to mention a kitty.
We therapy pets are a special, um, “breed.” Even when we pass the evaluation, nobody knows what’s going to happen when we first start doing visits. But a lot of times, we just know. Nobody taught me to snuggle with bedridden patients and make happy paws. Nobody taught me to be patient with children. I just figured it out on my own. And I hear that’s the way it is for most of us therapy animals. Leash training, being comfortable with baths and nail trimming, getting used to being in public, important commands for dogs, such as “leave it” and “stay” — those are the foundation. But the emotional connection is something an animal has or doesn’t.
I will tell you a couple of things that happened during my Pet Expo weekend that show being a therapy animal goes beyond the visits. The first day, there was a big group of special needs adults who came to the Expo. Some of them were in wheelchairs. My human could tell they were together because they were all wearing the same colored shirt with a logo. I saw these people and I went into what my human calls “therapy cat mode.” One wheelchair-bound guy in particular spent a lot of time petting me. He was heavy handed and clumsy, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I really, really enjoyed visiting with him! I just sensed the people in this group would really like spending time with me… and I was right.
The other thing happened on the last day. Moshow, the cat rapper, was doing his afternoon meet and greet, and one little girl had a tumble while waiting to see him. Even though she wasn’t injured, it hurt and she was crying inconsolably. The people managing the meet and greet had her sit in the area where I was resting between visits. My human saw that the little girl was having a hard time calming down, so I guess you know what she said to the mother.
“Do you think she would feel better if she petted a kitty?”
Of course the mother said yes, and my human unzipped my enclosure and I let the little girl pet me all she wanted. I was really happy to help, and eventually she calmed down. It was probably my favorite part of the weekend — and my human’s too. So you see, even when we therapy animals aren’t on assignment, we are still working! And we are glad to be of service.
It’s an honor and a gift to be a therapy animal. I never take it for granted, and neither does my human.
What a very kind pussycat you are and what a very kind momma you have, Summer Sweets. That little girl probably forgot all about her tumble once she set her eyes and petting hands on you. I sure would! You always go above and beyond. Luvs.
You guys are totally suited to the work you do and MK and I are proud to call you furrrriends!
Lola The Rescued Cat says
You and your human are very special to bring your therapy work to so many people in need. Therapy animals definitely need recognition!
Catherine Lingg says
Summer, I would like to say how wonderful I think you and your human mom are. What you do is extraordinary. In short you are both pawsome with big hearts
The DasH Kitten crew says
It is s privilege to know such a compassionate cat as you Summrt.
You and your human are the best, Summer! That story of how you helped the little girl is just perfect. XO
Sandi Stefani says
Wonderful you can offer comfort to those in need.
William's Kith & Kin says
You and your human are just priceless, Summer!
Mary McNeil says
You did so much good, even when you were “off duty.”
Melissa & Mudpie says
You and your human are heroes to so many, Summer! Thank you for all you do. Beautiful post…
Katie Isabella says
Summer, I appreciate you and your human for who you do. It is a very valuable and needed service. I am proud of both your effort.
Cathy Keisha says
Happy Therapy Kitty Day!! I still can’t believe you met Moshow! You are always “on.” My human would never be able to have a therapy cat cos of all the reasons you mentioned plus she’s too lazy and doesn’t have a car to transport me.
Memories of Eric and Flynn says
You and your human make such a good team and the work you do together is amazing.
Angel Whiskeratti says
You and your human are amazing. The value of the work you do is critical and cannot be overvalued.
Eastside Cats says
You rock, Summer!
Timmy Tomcat says
Dad actually was thinking of Rumpy being a therapy animal. He was too busy with work to do it but Rumpy really is our house greeter. Summer it sounds like you and Mom did a wonderful job of giving support to those who may need a little extra paws on. Purrs
The Swiss cats says
You and your human are a wonderful team ! Purrs
Purrjamm cats says
Summer to the rescue! Your job is never done sweetie. So many good people are in need of your purrtherapy and happy paws. We are so proud of you and your mom. We admire you two so much. Purrs and Purrs
Both you and your human are Simply The Best
Emma and Buster says
Happy Summer Day!!!!!
The Poupounette Gang says
Happy special day! You and your human are a very special pair!
Ellen Pilch says
You and your human are both special. I would never have the patience of either of you. Happy National Therapy Animal Day! XO
You are such a special kitty, Summer. You and your human are a great team, helping others! I really admired the work you do! Happy National Therapy Animal Day 🙂
CRAIG S. C. OKAJIMA says
How could anybody look at your cute and contented look in this picture, and NOT be immediately soothed and relaxed?
Pat K says
All so true. Thank your again (and your
human too) for all your time spent for
The Island Cats says
You are very special Summer, and deserve this day to honor you and all the other therapy cats.
The Island Cats says
And we mean other therapy pets too. 🙂
Spike William & Angels China Cat & Willow says
It is so wonderful that you can help others feel better, Summer. You and your mom are terrific!
Purrrrrrrrrrrrs, Spike William
Summer your therapy work is super special that’s for sure….not every animal is “good” at that but your sensitivity shines through and humans feel it. I admire you and your human for spending time in the world of the disabled or needy – many people would just “walk on by”. Bless you!
Brian Frum says
You are just what so many humans need. Thanks for sharing your time with them sweet Summer.
Emmit and Mimi says
This warms my heart so much! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to training Summer as well as giving of your time to make people feel better!❤️
I know I’ve mentioned the story of Kahlua, the big ginger kitty that was in the memory care unit when my Mom was there. Thank goodness for that cat … and all cats. They have a way of relating to us when humans are so poor at relating to each other.