My dog Lulu is a certified Therapy Dog, and she is assigned to do pet therapy at a local hospital. She has the best job on Earth visiting anyone of us who want the therapeutic moment from her. Working or being in the hospitals could be stressful, or especially when our loved ones are being treated. This is where therapy dogs can help us release the stress, lower our blood pressure, and help us cope with the day.
The first time my dog Lulu and I started our visitation, I discovered the most rewarding experience that I would remember for the rest of my life. Lulu and I were walking passed the Intensive Care Unit waiting area, some people reacted and patted Lulu, it was nothing out of the ordinary. We were about to move on when this older lady ran up to us and asked Lulu to visit her husband who was in the ICU. In her right hand she was holding a paper cup, probably a coffee or tea to energize her while in the hospital attending to her husband. She said: “You must visit my husband; my husband loves dogs.” We were not supposed to be in the ICU area, so this lady must obtain permission from the doctor if dog visitation was allowed.
So, the lady went inside while Lulu and I waited, soon after permission was granted, she led us to her husband’s ward, and I saw this gentleman in his 80s. He was thin and fragile, attached to many tubes from various machines, with small and big monitors around him. I felt sad, he reminded me of my dad when he was sick battling pancreatic cancer.
The moment she stepped into her husband’s room, I heard the lady said to her husband: “I have a surprise for you,” pointing to me and Lulu. The moment he saw Lulu, his eyes sparkled so brightly, and he smiled. He could not talk, but he kept smiling. I remembered vividly it was such a big smile, his right hand was reaching out to Lulu, giving me the signal that he wanted us to approach. I let Lulu walk closer to his bed, close enough so that he could pat her. His eyes were fixated on Lulu with that special smile. It was such a short visit, only a few minutes, then we had to leave. I simply thanked them for having us, and slowly guided Lulu out of the room. I turned back one last time and saw him looking at us with his bright eyes and wonderful smile. I smiled back and quietly walked out…
I would never forget those eyes and his smile, which we may or may not see on our next visit. He could be discharged and hence recovering at home or he could have been passed away. I did not ask for a name, but I would remember the smile. I pray that he would be okay, that if this was his time, may he have a happy blessed death, surrounded with loved ones and Jesus and Mary.
What a precious moment having the opportunity to bring joy and brighten a perfect stranger’s day. I am so proud of my dog Lulu, who is so patient walking with me from room to room, moving from one floor to another, listening to our conversations and always never failed to bring out a smile from everyone who saw her.
Jesus said: “…I was sick, and you visited me…” (Matthew 25:36). I wanted so much to visit the sick, but I never imagined that in the end it was me who has been lifted up by Jesus granting me His joy and peace. I would like to end with what Mother Teresa taught the missionaries to “keep the joy of loving the poor and share this joy with all that you meet. Remember works of love are works of peace”. Very true indeed.
That night, I slept soundly with a big smile and my heart full of joy. I was walking in the path of the Holy Spirit that day, the fruit was so real – joy and peace!
May this Christmas you experience His joy and peace! Merry Christmas everyone, what a blessing you are to me!
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