My visit to the Zangmeister Cancer center must be getting close because yesterday I had my nails trimmed and I heard Doc talking about a bath. It’s important that I am clean and presentable for my visit as it is a great privilege to be able to spend time with those being treated for cancer as well as spending time with the people who support them.
On a visit not to long ago, Doc was caught off guard when a distinguished looking man we were visiting asked Doc, ” Of all the places you could bring your dog to visit, why do you come here?” No one had ever asked us that before. After a brief pause Doc said, “My parents both died due to complications from cancer and as I get older, more and more people I know are diagnosed with it. I hope that Grover brings some happiness while people are getting their treatment.” The man seemed satisfied with the answer and soon he was stroking the back of my head and talking about a dog that he had loved as a child.
When Doc picked me and decided to have me trained and certified as a therapy dog, she sensed that I had extra love to give. Just like my ancestors that were bred to work as hunters and retrievers, my job is to love humans unconditionally, giving the people we visit a chance to love back and forget their troubles and afflictions for a while.
Doc says that therapy dogs lead by example and without judgement. We approach people with loving-kindness without any thought as to what we may get out of the relationship. It is such a beautiful thing to be a part of, I don’t even think of it as a job.
Love from a dog is so uncomplicated and that is why it is so easy for us to make friends at first contact with a total stranger. With dogs, there are no emotional strings attached. With dogs it is simple, we love and give affection and ask for nothing in return. It is the best gift that anyone can give to another.