Our Stories - Dogs with Hearts of Gold

These are some of our partner stories. We hope you enjoy these anecdotes of warmth and generosity; DHoG loves volunteering and the communities we support.

 

Schatzie

"One young child from the hospital- who due to a head injury was at the hospital for several months. During this time he would bring his parents, visitors, or whomever he could grab to come and see Schatzie during his atrium trips. And- he always arrived carrying Schatzie's picture....which was well worn and very loved."

Vernon

"A family of three visited the lobby where Vernon and I greeted them with a wave-in and a, "Would you like to visit for a bit?" It was their adolescent daughter's first visit from her room. Mom encouraged her daughter to pet Vernon and on her cue I picked him up and placed him in a near cuddle position in the young girl's lap. Nearby the dad was motionless - focusing on his daughter's scar; it ran about eight inches from her forehead to her neck. Everyone was managing the hospital stay in different ways - from bafflement, encouragement, to fear. Vernon gave them a focus of calm during that storm. The young girl brushed Vernon and smiled, took a few photos, and the mom continued with positive words. Dad in his silence gazed at his daughter - lost in his private thoughts.

 

About a month later I saw them again and they waved as they were exiting the Hospital - the dad with a most eager hand. They hollered from afar, "Hi Vernon!" For me I believe they remembered Vernon, a thoughtful calmness of abounding fur and warmth during a most difficult time."

 

 

 Daisy

Dianne and Daisy visit patients and practitioners at Plaza Medical Center.

Riley

"The staff bond with our pet partners in the most individual and thoughtful ways. One medical staff member is known as the "Ice Man" as he always brings Riley ice chips as a cool treat during her visits. Volunteering can be tiring on the dogs - and Ice Man takes time to reach out to Riley with these treats. I must say, he gets a kick out of it, too. She responds to his kindness and they have developed into special friends!"

 

Katie

Katie is one of several registered therapy dogs who regularly are brought to the UNT Health Science Center campus to provide stress relief to students. The students, in turn, are encouraged to explore the many way the dogs can be incorporated into their own practices to improve patients' lives and health.

 

“Sometimes children will talk to a dog before they’ll talk to a human psychologist,” said Dr. Peel, who also is a therapy dog handler. An adult recovering from a stroke may find it easier to throw a ball for a dog than to do exercises with a physical therapist. They might prefer to practice talking to a dog instead of a speech therapist. 

 

“Someone going through rehabilitation will often walk faster and further when they’re walking with a dog,” Dr. Peel said.

 

Hesper Fang, a physical therapy student, said she can see how animals can aid in a patient’s recovery.

 

“A lot of patients don’t like therapy – it puts them in such a bad mood,” she said. “But a dog can really make a difference.”

 

Studies have shown animals can lower blood pressure, diminish pain and lower anxiety and enhance social behaviors.

 

But so much of what a therapy dog does cannot be easily measured.

 

“They do the miracle part,” Mrs. Hughes saidMore stories to follow...