My therapy cat visits help lots of people in so many different ways. But it has also taught my human quite a few things — things she had no idea she could do! Granted, most people can do many of these pretty easily, but my human is not “most people.” Some of them have been pretty difficult for her to master. Some she is still working on getting just right… but she has made lots of progress.
Here are five things my human has learned to do because of our therapy visits:
- How to follow rules. Hospitals seem to have a lot of them! In my human’s world, rules are made to be broken, but she can’t exactly do that during our visits. So following the rules is something new for her.
- How to be a bodyguard. Living in city that’s an entertainment hub, my human is used to seeing celebrities in nightclubs accompanied by big, burly guys. She always thought that was kind of pretentious… but now she gets to be one of them! Granted, she is not big or burly (she is not a guy, either), but she has to watch over me to make sure I’m always safe. She has to know how to handle situations where people, especially children, may mishandle me. And she also needs to keep me safe from other animals too. This is basically on-the-job training, and she has had to be quick to pick up signals.
- How to be in a room full of little kids and not run away screaming. This was a big one for her to overcome. She does not like being around children at all. They make her uncomfortable. Fortunately, I enjoy children, so she leaves most of the interaction to me. She just hangs out and does bodyguard and occasional photographer work.
- How to talk to strangers and not feel like an idiot. One of the parts of doing therapy work my human fears the most is going from room to room at the hospital and asking if the patient wants to see me. She always thinks she is bothering people. And it’s really difficult to explain who we are if the patient doesn’t speak English. But for a successful therapy cat visit, she must do it… so she does. She has gotten better over time. She is still working on the not feeling like an idiot part.
- How to speak a few phrases of Spanish. She has learned enough to sort of explain who we are to Spanish-speaking patients, although she is shy about doing so. There are also patients, who speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and other languages. She’d love to learn some phrases in these languages too. So far, she’s only gotten as far as “neko” in Japanese. Sometimes I am able to fill in the blanks for her since kitties are pretty much universal.
I think being part of a therapy team is harder for my human than it is for me!
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