Luci and I go drive to Hillcrest Hospital each week to visit with the patients. She loves going and has a special Hillcrest Service Therapy Dog vest and her own name tag! I wear an official jacket from Hillcrest that identifies me as a volunteer with the PUP program, and a name badge too.
Luci becomes so excited when I start to get our things ready to go that she can hardly stay still:) She knows where we keep everything and leads me to it. She carries her leash in her mouth all the way to the car. The passenger seat, we call, “Luci’s seat, and it’s covered with an old white sheet!” She has her own cup of water in the drink holder! Once settled in, away we go! She usually sits in the seat or reclines with her head near me so that I can pet her:) She is definitely a ‘hands-on-dogie!’ Our destination is around 8 miles from home and she can sense when we turn into the parking lot and gets excited again! We take a walk around the parking lot and visit the grassy areas before entering the hospital.
Most times we meet several other members and their dogs for our rounds. It is more fun going with a ‘pack!’ Luci is the smallest of all the dogs and can run under most of them! She doesn’t seem to mind being a ‘shortie’ and many times leads the pack! She likes to move fast down the hospital halls!
Our fave place to visit is the three Children’s Hospitals, all in the same building. The last time we visited there, many of the staff and moms/dads/sisters/brothers wanted to pet Luci and tell us about their dogs! Luci has not met anyone she didn’t like! She is a ‘people friendly dog!’ And has the temperment it takes for all situations we come across in the hospital. She is good with tiny children who have IV’s in their arms, feet, and legs. I lift her up to their level and they can pet her head! Luci looks like she is smiling all the time and this happy feeling she emits transfers to the children, parents, nurses, staff, and passer by people!
Luci and I are planning a trip out of town next month for her Delta evaluation which will give her the credentials for service work anywhere.
Service dogs are a special gift from God, not only to the people they serve but to their owners and family.
My hubby and son are crazy about Luci and she is for certain a ‘FAMILY MEMBER!’
Anyone interested in what is required for becoming a service therapy dog, please let me know. Can direct you to the person(s) in charge and would love to have more dogs doing this goodwill/charity work!