Some people question the validity of therapy pets, and say that stuffed animals would work just as well. As you might imagine, I disagree, and I believe I’ve seen tangible proof in the eyes of the people I’ve visited. But on my most recent visit to the children’s hospital, I really did become part of a kid’s therapy for the day. I’ll tell you about that in a minute, but first I want to tell you about some of the other kids I also saw.
There were quite a few nice children in the lobby area, waiting for their appointments. I saw a boy and a girl at the same time. They each had walkers, a small one for the little girl, and a slightly larger one for the boy. There was also a girl in one of those large, reclining wheelchairs. There was something a little different about this girl, and at first I was a bit frightened. But my human petted me and held me in a way that I knew it was okay, and the girl smiled and petted me for a very long time.
The morning was quiet, and there was only one little boy in an exam room, so we came in to visit. His mother didn’t speak English, so she was a little confused about who we were at first, but the boy clearly spoke Meow. He was excited to see me, and wanted me to sit next to him. He even grabbed his mother’s hand and had her pet me too. That was a fun visit. The pre op area had one little girl for us, and she was also very charming and sweet.
Our last stop, as it often is at this hospital, is the rehab section. There was also just one patient there that morning, a little girl. She was using one hand to wipe some sort of fluffy white substance on the window, with such a serious look on her face. The girl looked at me, and said something to her mom and the therapist.
“She asked to wash her hand off so she can pet the kitty,” the therapist explained. “She hates doing therapy on her hand — the other hand is fine. But she wants to see if she can pet Summer and feel her fur.”
So we waited for the little girl to wash up, and then she came out and petted me a lot. I just let her until she was done. The therapist thanked us for helping the girl with her rehab.
You know this girl would not have cared about me if I had been a stuffed animal. She wanted to pet me because I was a living, breathing creature, and I responded to her touch. Every time I visit anyone, it’s therapy as far as I’m concerned. But sometimes a therapy cat does real therapy, and that cannot be disputed.
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