Healing Stories

PawJoseph and Chelsea’s Story
Chelsea and Joseph
 This is a healing story of a child with a disability and a very special therapy dog – Chelsea – who helped him overcome his fear and develop skills that his therapists did not know would be possible for him.

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PawGPS is Spelled G-U-S

Gus
While volunteering at a mental health facility, Gus met a man who lives most of his life suffering from hallucinations, not knowing where he is or what is happening.
For the entire time that Gus and his handler, Maureen, visited with the man, he knew where he was…

 

PawSpeechless Understanding
Joseph and ChelseaHave you ever loved someone in need of assistance? Has their need for help ever exceeded your scope of abilities to satisfy? Have you ever had a stranger enter your home, change your life forever, and walk away your hero? Let me tell you the story of Joseph, Lesly, and Chelsea…

 

 

PawComforting Paws at the Hospital

Bert5After visiting a few patients on 3rd floor at the hospital, we noticed several children in the ICU waiting room, so we went in and Bert sat patiently while the children cuddled with him.
When we left the waiting room, there was a large group of people clearly saddened by some news they had just gotten. Not wanting to bother them, we headed toward the ICU for visits.Just outside the ICU door two women were sitting on the floor – one comforting the other who was clearly upset. The woman who was providing comfort looked our way and I mouthed, “Do you think she would like to visit with Bert?” She nodded, and Bert and I went over to her.Bert lay down next to the woman and laid his head on her lap. Then for the next ten minutes I stood to the side (with leash in hand) while Bert lay contentedly at her side as she sobbed into his coat.  read more…

 

PawKandie and Kelly

KandieWith her therapy dog Kandie at her side, Kelly makes weekly visits to the young men at a youth detention center. Trying to make a better life for themselves away from home, these boys range in age from 12-17 years old. Since many of the boys had pets like Kandie at home, her visits bring a touch of the familiar home experience that many of them yearn for.
Seeing Kandie makes their faces light up, and sometimes, this affectionate dog even makes them cry as they hold her. These boys, many of whom have gone through difficult life experiences, can feel the cathartic effect that loving an animal can provide.  read more…

 

PawMeadow and Catherine

Meadow_Belly Rub2Meadow is a Cavalier King Charles Cocker Spaniel. She is friendly, affectionate, and great with children, adults, and other animals. Catherine, Meadow’s handler, is as amiable and good-natured as her charge.
Meadow delights in her visits that she makes with Catherine. One of her favorite places to go is a hospital in Provo, Utah. She loves to receive belly rubs and play with the patients there.
One time Catherine decided to change things up a bit and brought a ball and some treats. Like any dog, Meadow loves treats. She will do absolutely anything for them. So as they began their visit, Catherine gave the patients some treats and showed them the tricks Meadow could do. read more…

 

PawCappy Didn’t Take the Night Off
Cappy_SquareWhile the annual TAU picnic on June 6, 2015, was an evening of fun, appreciation and fundraising, it also turned out to be much more. A 9-year-old boy who was bitten by two dogs a few years ago needed help healing from that trauma. His parents requested to come meet the therapy dogs; one in particular named Captain Cowpants (aka “Cappy”).
Cappy volunteers regularly with children and sensed immediately that this boy needed the kind of love that only a dog can provide – giving him doggie kisses and even sitting his 70+ pound frame on the boy’s lap, which resulted in giggles. It evoked a great lesson that Cappy lovingly demonstrated that all dogs are individuals. read more…

 

PawUp Close With Shen

Nose to nose w Shen_RThe tiny lady reclined in her wheelchair beside her bed, buried under a pile of blankets. She was usually a bright-eyed, chatty woman, and in earlier visits had told me with relish about her early days as a trick rider in wild-west shows and rodeos. Today; however, she was quiet and had little to say. Shen, a 6-year old rescued, Sphynx therapy cat knew just what to do.  read more…

 

PawBert Makes A Difference At the Airport

Bert4When we arrived at the front entrance to the airport, I saw a woman sitting alone looking stressed so Bert and I went over. She broke into tears as soon as she started petting Bert. She had been in the security line a minute earlier and started stress and felt she was going to pass out. The anxiety was terrible so she slipped out of the long, crowded line and came outside where I met her. After talking a minute, I decided   read more…

 

PawThe Mane Attraction

Daisy MiniHorseTherapy mini-horse Daisy and her handler Debbie were invited to visit a mental health facility along with therapy dogs Gus and Meadow and their handlers. As typical, Daisy and Debbie arrived about a half hour early so Daisy could get out and stretch and prepare herself for the visit. When Gus and Meadow arrived, they were so excited with Daisy, that the handlers decided Daisy and Debbie should visit outside while Gus and Meadow visited indoors. That would enable Gus and Meadow to have their minds on the visit and not on Daisy. read more…

 

PawMeadow Gets People to Open Up

Meadow waiting for next visitWhen therapy dog Meadow visited with two patients at the same time at a mental health facility, one patient bent down to hug Meadow. Moments later, while petting and focusing on Meadow, both patients really opened up, talking about prior hospital visits, jail time, their experiences in jail, and comparing stories on how they were treated. “It was amazing how comfortable they felt around Meadow. Pets don’t judge; they love you and accept you no matter what read more…

 

PawVisits With Gus Are Liberating

Gus_Visit5Crumpled bits of post-it notes may not seem like much to most people, but they were a security blanket for hours for one of Gus’ friends at the mental health facility where we visit. This person happens to be one of Gus’s favorites, and hasn’t been doing well. She even missed his last visit, which is rare. She came out today (not looking as good as usual) and kept rolling crumpled papers around in her hands over and over. When Gus nudged her hand read more…

 

PawA Snuggling Sheltie Named Mr. Parker Draws People Out

Sometimes I forget how much I love serving people who have mental illness. Tonight Mr. Parker and I got to start volunteering in a new psychiatric facility. The therapist could hardly stop talking to me afterwards about the response of the patients – one who talked easily and lucidly for almost 45 minutes about the animals in his life, read more…

 

PawMore Healing in the Hospital

I just love my Libby, so much so that sometimes there are just no words. I hope she just knows. She is my heart. Today I watched a kid’s pain level go from a 6 down to a 2/3 because Liberty was snuggled up in bed with her. Everybody was teary-eyed except Liberty, who lay there on the edge of the bed with her eyes half shut, read more…

 

PawStevie the Wonder Dog Spreads Love

The expression “Love is blind” is definitely true in Stevie’s case. Stevie the Wonder Dog was born blind and dropped off with his siblings at an animal shelter. He was adopted by his handler Jen, became registered with Therapy Animals of Utah, and now the two of them volunteer at the read more…

 

PawCaptain Cowpants

Captain Cowpants, affectionately known as “Cappy”, and his handler, Melissa, visit regularly at the University of Utah hospital and with teens in the Teenscope program. Referring to the teens, Cappy’s handler Melissa says, “He absolutely ADORES them. Each week, he slides in on his belly, read more…

 

PawKandie the Therapy Pittie

Kandie the Therapy Pittie and her handler, Kelly, visit weekly at Copper Hills Youth Center. Their visits have such a positive influence that the youngsters’ excitement bubbles over to the day before and the day after the visit. Kandie’s visits have such a good influence read more…

 

PawThere’s Nothing Like A Cuddly Saint Bernard to Lower Blood Pressure

A Saint Bernard named Dazzle and her handler, Susan, visit Ogden Regional Medical Center every week. Susan describes a visit with a patient whose blood pressure was monitored every 15 minutes. “She’d just had her blood pressure taken before we stepped into the room,” said Susan, read more…

 

PawBert Gives Patients Something Positive to Focus On

Vickie and her Golden Retriever, Bert, conduct weekly visits at Ogden Regional Medical Center. After a visit in the ICU with a young man who had had open heart surgery, the nurse contacted Vickie to tell her how thrilled the boy was with Bert. He told his family how Bert had watched over him as he was being stuck with needles. Bert sat in a chair next to the bed and when the nurse came in to check the patient, read more…

 

PawBullet The Wonder Cat

Here are two stories of what I have witnessed serving as Bullet’s chauffeur/assistant that exemplify the deep connection and power of the human-animal bond. You will see why he is referred to as “Bullet the Wonder Cat” where we visit.

Early this year we went in to see a young man who had suffered what appeared to be a traumatic brain injury. Knocking on the door, read more…

 

PawTurning Point With Liberty

In August 2009, a 9 year old boy began a 40-day stay at a local Salt Lake City hospital due to a ruptured appendix. Because his system had become septic, he had two huge incisions: one horizontal and one vertical across his little abdomen and a pump to expel the infection. His pain was so severe he cried if someone even touched the bed sheets. read more…

 

PawAnimal Visit Decreases Patient’s Heart Rate

A local TAU team that chooses to remain anonymous were visiting at a Salt Lake City hospital when a young patient in ICU became very excited upon seeing the dog. The patient’s family member welcomed our TAU team into the room where the dog assumed a calm position lying down. The young patient placed the only part of her face that was not covered by a respirator next to the dog and stroked the dog’s fur back and forth. read more…

 

PawCallum

For more than five years, TAU member Lesly Williams and her collie, Callum, have visited the ICU and severe trauma floors at Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) in Salt Lake City, Utah. The April 2010 Special Edition of the IMC newsletter, Volunteer Communiqué, featured an article entitled “Why Do I Volunteer” about Lesly and Callum, in which Lesly is quoted as saying, read more…

 

PawThe Shelties Difference

Debbie Carr, a Delta Society® (Pet Partners®) licensed instructor and evaluator, and her Shelties, William and Mr. Parker, participate regularly in classes at ScenicView Academy in Provo, Utah, a private, non-profit school for adults with autism or severe learning disabilities. “We use metaphors and symbols, and how they apply to animals to teach the adults communication skills”, explained Debbie. read more…

 

PawJet

Jet, a very social black cat, visited a senior assisted living center every other week with his handler, Joyce. One of the residents who visited with Jet regularly said, “Jet makes my day.” She shared that she had been upset earlier, “but everything is all right now that I am with Jet because he is so calm.” read more…

 


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