Tonight was another shift volunteering as a dog therapy team at the hospital. Every time I go, I leave feeling so renewed about life.
This time was a little different. Some days, it seems like everybody adores Jaz. And then sometimes we get off to a slow start. But by the end, I'm always glad I went. Tonight I started w/ the 7th ward (Oncology), which is usually our favorite floor. We did our visits, but didn't find anybody we really connected with. (any obvious dog lovers). Then we went down to the 5th floor. The first room we went into was of a 17 year old boy and his dad. When I asked if he wanted to see some dog tricks, he said "I guess". Jaz did her usual routine (be shy, sneeze, say hello, wave, sit pretty, high 5, cover your eye, etc.) And the boy was mildly interested.
Then we went into the next rooms. A few rooms down, we found a 4 year little girl who was SOOO excited to see Jaz! She just pet her and pet her, and Jaz laid down beside her. I talked to her and her mom for quite a while. The little girl told me all about their cats, dogs, and ferret. Before we left, we did some tricks for them. (which they LOVED!) The mom even wanted to take a picture of Jaz with the little girl. So that was a fun room.
Then the next room was a really shy little girl who didn't want to pet Jaz. But when I showed her some tricks, she became interested. (Still didn't want to touch her, but liked watching her.)
The next room was a really cool 16 year old girl. You never know why these kids are in the hospital (except of course, if they're on the 7th floor- oncology). But this girl didn't seem like she should be in a hospital bed. She had her hair and make-up done. She was wearing cute clothes. The only reason I could tell she was sick is because she had a monitor connected to her. She was really interesting to talk to. She loved dogs, and had a yorkie. She even knew what a havanese was because her grandma had one! Jaz really liked her too. There is a spot in the middle of Jaz's back that is her "itchy tickle spot". (It's the spot she just can't reach.) This girl found that spot. So Jaz was happy.
By the time I left that floor, I felt like I had done a good thing. And had connected with quite a few people. And had brightened the day of some of these kids. (and just provided a good distraction from the TV for the others.)
But there was a really poignant lesson for me when I was down in the lobby. The dad of the 1st boy I visited came down the elevator with his wife. She said- "Is this Jasmine??" I said yes (assuming she had seen Jasmine's name badge.) Then the wife proceeded to tell me how as soon as she got back to the room, her son told her all about the cool dog that had come to visit him. And all the tricks she could do. And went on and on how cool it was. (That was a surprise to me!) When I left the room, it felt like that 17 year old boy didn't care one way or the other! But yet, he had told his mom all about our visit when she got back. So that really stood out to me- that we don't really know how we effect people in the grand scheme of things. You could have an impact on somebody's life and not even know it.
It was a good lesson to learn.