Why do you think you are so special as a therapy dog? Well I don’t mean to toot my own horn, my name is “Tootie” after all, but I am the official National Treasure of Japan. I try not to act pretentious but sometimes my human mom says I am acting pretty pleased with myself. Because I am small, only about 18lbs, I am not intimidating to people. It’s easy for my mom to pick up me up and set me next to the patients. Mom keeps me on a strict diet so I don’t overindulge myself.
What does a Therapy Dog do? A therapy dog bridges the gap between humans. Sometimes when people are sick, or worse, they cannot articulate their feelings. When I visit people, they are able to open up and talk. They smile! Who couldn’t smile at me? They often tell me stories of the dogs in their lives. I’ve heard about Pickle the yellow lab, Sammy the big Samoyed, Rascal the naughty Scottish Terrier and Peanut the Chihuahua, just to name a few. Sometimes patients have no words at all. They just grab a hold of me and cry. I always stand very still and very strong so they can hold on as long as they need to. I try to give them my strength.
Tootie you are so soft! How do you keep your coat so nice? I do not have hair. I have fur. I carry around this thick double coat that makes me extra soft for petting. I blow my coat usually twice a year. It takes about 3 weeks to blow my undercoat and mom complains about the fuzz everywhere. The undercoat is thick, soft fur, feels like cashmere. The outer layer is a bit longer and makes me naturally waterproof. I’d love to show you outside with the ducks how waterproof I am! Here’s a picture of me looking outside at the pretty flowers at NSL. Ok…maybe I’m looking for the ducks too!
What was special about Friday’s visit? As I made my way around the Infusion area, I noticed a crowd gathering near the exit area, watching me. My fan club, perhaps? I visited all of the patients and when I got closer to the Fan Club, I saw a familiar patient. He called me by name! He was already done with his treatment but had waited for me to finish with the others so he could have a special visit with me. I was overjoyed that my new friend would wait just to say hi to me and give me some scratches. I must really be making an impression around here! I can hardly wait to see him again.