Monday, September 5, 2016
As I walked into the Philadelphia VA this past week two things out of the ordinary occurred. I was greeted by the head of my organization who was filling in for someone who couldn’t make it and we were notified that the hospital was presently undergoing inspection on a state level. So, how did these events affect Maggie and me? Being under scrutiny from the head honcho of your organization is stressful enough but when someone (actually there were two people) from the state checks to make sure you are sanitizing before and after leaving every room, and making sure Maggie is acting appropriately can be quite stressful (although the only unprofessional attribute Maggie displays is eating crumbs off the floor something I am continually working on). We only ran into them once, but the amount of extra sanitizer used that day was intense! I was aware that Steve and his sidekick Sadie were unable to walk around with Maggie and me as he had sent me a text the previous day. When this has happened in the past Maggie and I have walked around ourselves. But I didn’t know there would be a replacement for Steve until I received an email shortly before the session began. Was I nervous? A little. The last time I had a session with the head honcho she did point out a few things she thought I might change or brush up on with Maggie (although constructive criticism is not necessarily a bad thing). So I wasn’t sure what would happen this time. Hindsight I was glad I didn’t have too much time to worry about this because by the time the session ended she had nothing but praise for the job Maggie and I did. She was amazed that so many of the residents remembered Maggie and thanked me when I gave her a heads up about certain limitations with some of the residents. We walked around with both Maggie and Bubbles the Bunny. As most Goldendoodle, Maggie loves rabbits and will follow them anywhere. This particular rabbit is trained to stay on his towel so each resident can hold the rabbit (if they choose) and pet it for a period of time. Each room we walked into was happy to see Maggie but was surprised to see the rabbit. Bubbles, was well received by all. His fur definitely felt different then Maggie’s which is great for sensory stimulation. Allowing the residents to hold the rabbit is also different then petting a dog. I learned that this particular breed of rabbit, the French Hotot lives to about 10 years old so Bubbles at 5 is halfway through his life. Bubbles, also weighs about 3 pounds, a big difference then Maggie’s 75 pounds. Turned out to be a nice change for the residents, really perked the hospital up! Even the state inspectors who knew about the therapy dogs were pleasantly surprised to see a therapy rabbit.