Thursday, September 30, 2010
At last, here is a portion of Henry, the hospital dog.
I hope that his magnificence comes through - or that your facile imaginations will assist you in knowing what a fine fellow he is.
With his mom, they make hospital rounds, assigned, as I understand, to a particular unit on each of their visit days. What they do is stop and connect with as many people as they can, not only the patients. They listen to people as they wait to be seen and, likely, admitted. They sit with families of patients in surgery. Henry also poses for photos with doctors and staff, for many of whom his loving presence may be the brightest moment in their work day; hospitals are not always sources of good news. They meet patients in the halls as they exercise and, at least once, have met a patient again upon his discharge, a man who spoke emphatically about his earlier encounter and how he would never forget it. To all these moments of happenstance, Henry brings his gift of mystical empathy and his trick, the extending for a shake of one paw, then the other. Repeat as needed.
Henry was rescued from what his mom calls "benign neglect," not outright abuse but a chain of events that wore him out, wearied his spirit, yet somehow did not diminish his ability to give from a reservoir that had become periously low. He is part of a lively, fanciful home where his unknown backstory becomes more elaborate and textured with each telling.
I will guess that it might be likely your local hospital has an animal visitation program. It would be worth a call to find out. If you are the parent of a zen-calm, people-loving pet - and inclined to enjoy the company of people who may have something to get off their chests - the two, or more, of you could become bringers of restoration. We can never have too many of those.