My therapy cat visit to the children’s hospital was a little different from the usual, and I’m glad it was!
It started off routinely. Once we signed in, we went to the lobby area. We made a quick stop at the arts and crafts table to visit a little girl who was making outlines of hands. Then instead of making the rounds of the lobby, which was pretty empty, I headed towards the doors to the exam rooms.
At each facility we visit, we have certain areas we are supposed to visit. But within those areas, my human allows me to wander on my leash. Sometimes I just randomly trot along, but sometimes I’m definitely going somewhere. If you’re a kitty, you go where your energy, instinct and curiosity takes you. Not surprisingly, I kept looking in offices because I enjoy that. But one I walked in, where a couple of workers were talking, the woman behind the desk got really excited! She was so happy that a therapy cat showed up for her! So we visited for a while before heading off to the kids in the exam rooms.
And there were a lot of kids to visit. And I posed for photos with several kids who were getting exams, and one tween girl who had just gotten her ankle cast off. But as we were walking past one large room of desks and computers, a woman in scrubs stopped us and asked if it was okay for me to visit them. Of course it was, so my human went in and set me on a desk (and no, I didn’t walk on any computer keyboards). Next thing I knew I was surrounded by all sorts of staff! There were at least a half dozen of them, so overjoyed to see me. It was awesome.
See, this is the thing about going to facilities and wings that cater to children’s medical issues. The focus is so strongly directed at the kids and making sure their visits go as well as possible that the staff often forgets their own needs. And when you are working with kids who are suffering, you really, really need a therapy cat sometimes. Because it keeps you going. It keeps your energy up so you’re more present for your job. And staff members could use healing kitty powers too.
We finished up in the rehab waiting room, visiting with an Asian family with a little girl who was a bit frightened of me, and another family whose dad once lived with 12 cats. And I think everyone got something out of my visits. But it’s rare I get to spend so much quality time with the staff there, and I think today that was really important.
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