The phrase – “Pet Therapy Magic” has become one of my go-to comebacks whenever I witness Harley, Jaxson or any therapy dog assist a patient or family member in a way only a dog can…
The story I am about to tell you falls in my “pet therapy magic” category and it’s about Harley.
Because of HIPPA laws, my words will be vague and my photos only of Harley, but I hope your imagination captures the essence of our days with this incredibly brave patient.
PHYSICAL THERAPY –
Jaxson was actually the first to meet her. After a most unfortunate accident, she would need intense and frequent physical therapy and animal assisted therapy (AAT) was suggested to enhance the sessions.
Brave – with a positive attitude and outlook on her future – the two became fast friends. Jaxson was able to catch and retrieve the balls she threw, walked with her, and was a friendly furry balance beam during her swats.
For Jaxson she pushed herself –
just one more –
she would say as she giggled at him, fluffed his mohawk and pressed one more leg lift.
We left her about an hour later, knowing we’d see her again – later in the week.
THE NEXT DAY –
Is there a therapy dog available?
We have a patient requesting one, can you come now?
When Harley and I arrived – I was surprised to find the same patient Jaxson worked out with the day before.
Availability in physical therapy, brought her back. Before she could begin, she experienced a seizure. When we arrived it was over, and she was laying on the floor resting.
When she saw us – she thought I had Jaxson with me. As I began to introduce Harley, she reached out for him, simultaneously telling the medical staff she felt another seizure coming on.
I walked Harley over to where she was laying, and sat on the floor next to her. Touching her chest – she asked him to lay across it. Harley straddled her and a few seconds later the seizure subsided.
When they were able – the nurses moved her to a gurney and at her request, Harley jumped up there with her. They locked arms and paws and remained entwined for quite some time…
LATER THAT AFTERNOON –
The physicians wanted her admitted for observation to monitor and diagnose these seizures. So Harley rode the foot of the gurney all the way…
Waiting for a room – she experienced five more seizures. Harley was there. For all of them.
He would lay across her legs during each seizure and then rest along with her after they subsided…
We were with her for several hours. She was exhausted and I couldn’t help but think Harley was also.
The entire time, I never left his side. I was able to watch him closely and carefully. Harley was, in my estimation – amazing.
He was happy and smiling as long as she was doing alright. He’d stop playing or wagging his tail, sitting still, motionless just minutes before she announced another seizure was starting.
That’s how I see it.
Harley is neither a trained –
Seizure Alert Dog – trained to warn you of an impending seizure.
Seizure Response Dog – trained to provide a certain form of support once a seizure occurs.
Did Harley know what was going on? Probably not. Neurologists still argue that dogs can’t read human brainwaves yet admit they still possess this uncanny ability to sense danger.
Harley, as a therapy dog, continues to demonstrate his extraordinary intuitive nature.
With the exception of being tired that evening, I didn’t detect any strange behavior in Harley that night nor the days that followed.
Jaxson and several other pet therapy teams will continue to participate/contribute with her physical therapy appointments. It’s extremely rewarding to watch therapeutic progress when someone works with your dog.
Our Stroke Rehabilitation with Canine Assistance pilot program begins this week. Jaxson will meet his patient and therapist team on Tuesday. I cannot wait to observe him work with stroke patients on mobility strengthening.
A Goldendoodle year in review seems like the perfect story to write on the first day of a new year…
Every year after Christmas (and if I’m lucky) before the 31st, I try to review, edit, and sometimes delete old posts that are not relevant with current content on my website. When doing so, I’m always fascinated to learn some of my favorite stories were favorites of yours as well.
The Boys and I have made new friends in 2018, so for those who may have found us mid year and those who may have missed a story or two – I share some of “our” favorites with you…
FIRST QUARTER –
It started in January, Jaxson was three years old and I noticed that my baby boy had turned into a BIG HEAD DOG. To me, his head looked huge! Intrigued, I did some online digging and found out that their size and shape can lend insight into their personalities and behavioral characteristics. #whoknew
By February – Beg Head Dog and Harley both fell hard for a Snoodle. Everyday their behavior made me laugh out loud as they raced to her fence to see who could get there first. It was truly a GOLDENDOODLE VALENTINES DAY LOVE STORY worth sharing because it was the kind of fluffy puppy love that could make grown men smile #anditdid…
The month of March brought in more than just wind. Environmental allergies began to flare up and Doods were sneezing, sniffling, biting, licking and chewing constantly. We spent more days than I wanted to at the vet’s which made me think about pet insurance.
Fully aware there are no provisions to cover pre-existing issues like allergies, I still wanted to know – what are the best policies currently available? NOT ALL PET INSURANCES ARE THE SAME and I was grateful to find a helpful tool to compare them all.
SECOND QUARTER –
We adore receiving mail from you…
Often, your questions are inspirations for a blog post. STRAIGHT COAT GOLDENDOODLES was a popular topic in April. Straight coat Goldendoodles have a stronger resemblance to the Golden Retriever. Unlike Jaxson’s loose fluffy hair or Harleys “afro-centric” curly hair, the straight hair Goldendoodle is smooth, straight and flat.
To peel or not to peel – that was THE GREAT APPLE DEBATE in May. For the first time ever, our two different veterinarians had strong opinions about whether the Boys should eat the apple peel…
It’s been four years since Leo’s departure, yet during the month of June, I find myself unconsciously very melancholy. Living through a SUDDEN UNEXPECTED PET LOSS can be one of the most difficult and incredibly painful experiences of a person’s life. I know – I have lived it.
THIRD QUARTER –
HOME RENOVATIONS WITH DOGS is a beast, especially in the South, in July, with no air conditioning. Between the chemicals and equipment noise, the dust, nails and tools – I worried about their normalcy and safety. Finding ways to keep them stress free was a challenge.
Never in my wildest Doodle Mom dreams would I have thought I could be WORKING WITH MY DOGS. But in August, wildest dreams did come true. Monday and Wednesday’s – Jaxson’s on duty. Tuesday and Friday’s it’s Harley’s day at the hospital. They are hard working Therapy dogs who share my office space and roam the halls of the largest Medical facility in the state of South Carolina…
In September HURRICANE FLORENCE drove me Doodle nuts with her inconsistencies about her exact arrival. This would be my third hurricane scare since our move to SC, and I treat each one like it’s the “big one.” I always activate my preparation plans whether I’m staying or leaving. Do you have an emergency evacuation plan?
FOURTH QUARTER –
In the past 9+ years I’ve watched many a grooming session. I have even washed a doodle or two. But in October, I stepped into A PET GROOMERS WORLD, and followed the procedures of a groomer from start to finish. I almost cried in the middle of the first wash. #IthoughtIwasgoingtodie
Harrison Ford the actor, starred in a movie as a surgeon who was shot in a convenience store robbery and had to experience life as a patient. That was me in November. While riding my bicycle to work I was struck by a car. After my ambulance ride to the ER, as I waited for the X-ray results I experienced THE OTHER SIDE OF PET THERAPY. It was a moment I shall never forget,
For the Bennett family, December is exciting from beginning to end because the 31st is Jaxson’s birthday. In 2018 Jaxson stepped into his fourth year of life and I don’t think it’s going to change him one bit. He’s as stubborn as ever and playful from sun up to sun down. Still pulls me around the park, greets people at the door with my tennis shoe in his mouth, whines when he can’t find me, rides in the middle of the console of the car and has yet to find his friend PATIENCE. But he’s the Ying to Harley’s Yang and I can’t imagine him any other way…
Thank you for sharing in all our adventures –
In 2019 let us all start living the life we imagined
After giving the Boys a few days to chill out and relax with it, I am ready to tell you – this IS an essential bed to have for Senior and/or Adult dogs!
The Essential Bed is made of a super soft breathable gel memory foam with pressure relief support and a machine-washable micro-fleece cover…
I cracked up when I opened the shipping box to find two individual boxes inside…
…because it’s vacuum-packed in a box (similar to a mattress), with a delightful themed toy inside…
Just open, remove from the plastic and allow it to “re-inflate” which takes less than an hour!
WHY MEMORY FOAM? –
Memory foam seems to alleviate aches and pains for senior dogs especially those suffering from most joint issues. The memory foam helps by easing muscle and joint discomfort by allowing the dog to rest in a more natural position…
We received two beds – both in a large size which I thought was extremely generous because I was only thinking of Harley. After all he is my Senior dog. Larger dogs can also experience muscle and joint pain over time just due to their size, so Jaxson was able to benefit from his own “gifted” Essential Bed as well.
The memory foam and gel literally bounces back in front of your eyes giving optimal support. That in conjunction with the waterproof and machine-washable fleece top cover makes it easy to clean.
HOW LARGE IS LARGE? –
Initially I was a tad concerned about the size. When Jaxson first laid on it, he was hanging off…
Later that week, I noticed that this is more about his style of resting vs. the bed not being big enough…
I’ve moved these two Essential Beds into the television area where Doodle Dad and I spend the majority of our time these days. The Boys spend more time on these beds then they did lying on the floor NEXT TO their old recreation beds.
To my surprise, Jaxson curls up each night and snores like a little old man while we watch CNN. There is plenty of room to spare…
30% OFF –
Saturday, December 15th you can take advantage of the –
These beds are a great gift for your pup. Not bad considering these beds are already reasonably priced (S-$39.99, M-$44.99, L-$54.99). So if you’re interested, make sure you take advantage of the 24 hour deal.
Let the weekend therapy begin
Groovy Goldendoodles is not being compensated for helping spread the word about The Essential Bed by Barkbox. Groovy Goldendoodles will only share information about a product we feel is relevant to our readers. Barkbox nor Amazon are not responsible for the content of this article. I look to Harley and Jaxson for their tail wagging approval.
Imagine her surprise when my co-worker asked about my weekend plans and I told her my Saturday involved shopping for festive holiday canine accessories…
She shook her head and walked away! #shedoesnthavepets
The first weekend in December the Boys take Holiday photos because Doodle Dad is serious about his Christmas Card tradition.
Each year I search for a new accessory – but for larger dogs, items are still quite limited. #andIdontsew
I can NEVER find a Santa hat big enough to fit either of their heads…
When I saw what this one looked like on Harley I dared not try to jam Jaxson’s head in there.
Maybe it’s all his fluff, but when I look at the reindeer headband on Harley, I see images of the Easter Bunny…
DRESSING YOUR DOG –
Harley’s always been that “nothing phases me” kind of Dood. I sometimes take that for granted.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think #daredevildoodle Jax would freak out with a headband…
…but he did!
Jaxson’s never worn a headband before. I failed to take that into consideration. My assumption caused quite a ruckus – initially. He shot straight up in the air. #rocketdoodle
Jax wears raincoats and he has worn sweaters before. I’ve even placed an old cap of Doodle Dad’s on his head to snap a photo – he’s never fussed at all.
Obviously the elastic which holds the headband in place should have been introduced before I pushed it over his head and under his chin. Apparently there is a process when you want to put a new article of clothing on your dog –
If he sniffs it, mark the moment with a “good” and reward. Next, reward your dog for standing in place as you gently touch his side with the clothes. Drape the clothing over his back for a couple of seconds and reward him. Finally, fasten the stomach and chest straps and reward your dog for staying calm. Vetstreet
Even though the experience was “less than” enjoyable, I didn’t want it embedded to memory as a terrifying one.
He took it off immediately and I re-introduced it after we played for a few minutes…
Jax is very food motivated – peanut butter and cheese snacks did the trick. However, I will probably never put one on his head again. #respectthedoodle
COSTUME SAFETY –
Whenever you’re dressing your pet for festive occasions, costume safety is a must –
Don’t force your pet into clothes – like me!
Choose clothes that won’t cause harm
Make sure your pet’s clothes fit properly
Don’t leave your pet alone in clothes
I did find a larger hat and tried it on Harley…
He looked more like a French artist to me, I just didn’t get that “holiday feeling.”
Whenever I’m taking photo’s of them, as soon as they give me that “I’ve had enough” look, we stop.
This would be one of those looks…
IT IS WHAT IT IS –
On December 8th, we will more than likely choose holiday scarves #again and I will placate them to pose differently with Santa Paws.
Hats, headbands, sweaters and such are just not part of our wardrobe.
It was Saturday morning. The eve of Harley’s tenth birthday. The double Doodle digit years were creeping up on us. Where did the time go?…
As he entered the kitchen for breakfast, I noticed he was favoring his front left leg. Concerned, I examined his leg, shoulder and then paws & pads (a place where he has a tendency to house small acorns).
He didn’t flinch or show any signs of discomfort in any of those areas, but there was a definite limp when he walked.
TELL ME ABOUT FRIDAY –
Retired LTC Doodle Dad has become quite the pet parent in my absence during the week. Lee doesn’t frequent grocery stores, so practically every errand he runs – includes the Dood that didn’t go to work with me that day or both if I am at the hospital solo.
I love to learn about their new adventures when I get home, but Friday was a rare exception. We never got around to talking about their day. When I asked on Saturday, Lee said they spent some time in Harmon Field…
This solved the limping mystery.
Jaxon is what one could best describe as “thick.” He’s not fat, but he’s solid #asarock
If he ever runs into you, it’s gonna be memorable. He’s that 20-lb bowling ball and you’re the lonely pin sitting in the center of the lane.
Harley loves to wrestle, and is the primary instigator…
But he’s no where near an equal match when #actionjaxson comes barreling down the field.
IT’S TIME TO RECOGNIZE –
Although Harley looks and acts like a doodle-ager, he’s not. He’s officially ten years old today! I need to pay attention to that fact.
There were only two years between Harley and Leo. To me they were in the same generation. But there are six years between Harley and Jaxson. That’s the equivalent of me trying to hang out with some college students during homecoming weekend. It won’t work, I’d never survive past Friday night.
Curiosity drove me in search of clarification. On the subject of senior pet care, I wanted to know just how “senior” Harley is and what I should be doing differently – if anything.
First I wanted to know how old is “old.” For Harley’s weight – at his age, its range equivalence to me is about 56-66 years of age.
Older pets can develop many of the same diseases as older humans:
joint / bone
As he continues to get older, I want to know how to keep him happy and healthy for as long as possible. Here’s what I learned that seems both helpful and relatable to him, therefore I shall implement.
Increase veterinary care: perhaps semi-annual visits as a precaution to detect signs of any problems early.
Diet and nutrition: start researching and preparing more foods with anti-aging nutrients like – blueberries, milk thistle, fish oil (to name a few).
Weight control: continue to manage Harley’s weight – he does this well, have never had much of a problem.
Mobility: he works two days at the hospital. Jaxson works three. When we do go to the park, I think I will let Jaxson run free first and let loose some of his energy before allowing Harley to join him. That should balance them out better for a little light romping and wrestling.
BARKDAY HAPPINESS –
The remainder of our Saturday was uneventful. I watched lot’s of Hallmark Holiday movies which kept Harley still cuddled up by my side. The limping eventually subsided and vanished Sunday morning. Treated as the King Doodle that he is, he was allowed to select his own barkday cake…
Even though Harley’s ten years old, I believe he’s got a whole lot of living still left in him. I will do everything in my power to make sure my lil’ Doodle Bug enjoys each day feeling strong and youthful.
Hard to believe we’ve been together for ten years. I love me some him…
Any and all tips for raising a senior dog are much appreciated, please share in the comments for us all…
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would experience the other side of pet therapy. But as my Nana used to tell me all my life –
never say never!
As the Pet Therapy Program Coordinator for the largest hospital in South Carolina, I’ve felt comfortable with my knowledge and understanding of the benefits a pet therapy visit can bring to a patient.
But after last Wednesday, I can honestly say, I “get it” and trust me – its an entirely different connotation.
UNDERSTANDING PET THERAPY –
For more than five years I’ve been on the other end of Harley’s leash watching strangers (patients, family members and medical staff) interact with him as if he were their own.
I understand the benefits of pet therapy, and why it’s offered in so many medical facilities. I believe in its purpose.
Every time I enter a patients room I stand quietly at the side of a hospital bed and observe the instant connection. Rarely do I engage unless I’m asked a question, and seldom is there a need. That’s how powerful interactions between humans and canines can often be.
His presence is comforting. He eradicates loneliness. With the swishing motion of a wagging tail and the ability to cuddle up close, he reminds us of hope and represents all that is “good and right” in the world (if only for a moment) regardless of ones physical severities…
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE –
At least once a week I hop on Maggie – my sky blue beach bicycle – throw my book bag in her white utility basket and pedal the 1.2 miles from my doorstep to the hospital.
It’s a short ride so there’s never any reason to speed – and I get a little cardio in before I start my day.
Last Wednesday (halfway to my destination) as I crossed the street – a car crashed into the right side of “Maggie and me” sending me in the air like a kitchen trash bag headed for the dumpster.
I landed on my left side in the middle of the street, kissing a manhole.
I am blessed beyond measure to have no broken bones. Just bruised and 50 shades of purple on my left side, but that will heal.
Due to the fact that a car hit a bicycle, Ashley Avenue looked like a scene out of Chicago Fire with police cars, EMT’s and a firetruck. #wheresmattcasey
Whisked away in the ambulance to my place of employment – I was conscience the entire time and well aware of my surroundings.
Doodle Dad was there in a flash, and as we waited in the ER together for the results of my x-rays – the gravity of what happened started to take on a life of its own. I realized the severity of it all and it scared me.
I “GET” THE POWER –
A faint subtle knock on the door caught my ear and caused me to look as it slowly opened.
There standing in the doorway was a therapy dog!…
As soon as I laid eyes on Rags (abbreviation for Ragamuffin), I felt an immediate sense of calmness.
It didn’t matter that I knew Rags, because of my role as Pet Therapy Program Coordinator. I was like any other patient trying desperately to cope and comprehend a significant emotional experience without losing it completely.
Rags plugged the dam of tears from over flowing. She diverted the fear of my reality from taking complete control.
I “get” the power of pet therapy in a way like never before. My stay was all of 60 minutes or so, not days. My diagnosis was neither grave nor terminal, and my prognosis was excellent.
But my fear was still real, and the comfort this dog gave exceeded anything a family member could have done for me at that particular time. #keepingitreal
VALUE IN THE VALLEY –
I am a firm believer that we can ALWAYS find value in the valleys of our lives. We can dwell on/in the valley should we choose, or we can strive to crawl out, and look around at how our experience (no matter how grim) has changed us for the better.
It will be impossible for me to view pet therapy in the same manner as I did prior to Wednesday. #cant #wont #ever My focus is sharper, my energy is stronger, my understanding is now personal. I “get” it.
MAGGIE AND ME –
In the event you were wondering, Maggie also survived the crash…
She will need a new basket, and some TLC on a few sections of her frame, but she’s a road warrior. We will be back out there but more like later than sooner.
I’m resting and getting all the pet therapy one person could ask for. Harley is the bed warmer. He cuddles up around my feet, sticking to me like Gorilla Glue.
Jaxson is more of an “in your face” kind of therapy dog. And I mean that literally…
Blessed I tell you, that’s me!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday –
Hug your pups, love your family and be thankful and grateful for every single moment you are not kissing a manhole!
Finding out about an Advent Calendar for dogs had me just as giddy as I was more than forty years ago when my human children were toddlers. Silly me, I even took a photo of my local Trader Joe’s store manager Tim holding the calendar…
Personally, I didn’t catch onto the Advent Calendar excitement until we lived in Germany. Tiffany and Jamie were two & four when we arrived and seven & nine when we returned to America. This gave us plenty of time to adopt such a wonderful seasonal tradition.
Germany’s fall and winter months are my favorite seasons. They are also the most festive times of the entire year.
“Fasching” (or Carnival season) begins on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 minutes after 11am. #doodletruth It ends at the stroke of midnight on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. What a way to start the holiday season!
THE ADVENT CALENDAR –
History shows the first printed calendars date back to the early 1900’s. Production stopped during the World Wars because cardboard was rationed. By the late 1940’s chocolate filled Advent Calendars were available for sale…
For my two children, seeing an Advent Calendar in the house symbolized the countdown for St. Nick’s arrival was near. I remember Tiffany’s college freshman year, I mailed her an Advent Calendar and she was elated. By her sophomore year, I was mailing close to a dozen for her friends.
CALENDARS FOR DOGS –
Now that you know a little about my giddiness towards Advent Calendars, imagine my squeal when I read this…
Trader Joe’s Advent Calendar for dogs is finally here, now your pup can countdown to Christmas too…
It’s a 24-day Advent Calendar filled with Salmon and Sweet Potato dog treats – one for each day.
In addition to the cute illustrations – there are tasks included #thisoughttobefun …
Only $5.99 – I’m sure they will not be available for long – so don’t wait – go grab one at your local Trader Joe’s.
While you don’t need an Advent Calendar to know that Christmas is coming, opening a little numbered door to reveal a prize is an idea that practically everyone – canine or human – religious or not – can get behind.