During a Hospital visit Tara, a Pet Partners Australian Shepard/Great Pyrenes Therapy Dog, and I rounded a corner toward rooms received from the Nurse’s station. A graying but robust man was leaning against the wall with his head down. He very softly said his Australian Shephard looked like Tara only a little different color. About that time a lady walked out of a room. She mentioned she had a German Shepard and then asked if Tara had time to stop in her Mother’s room later. After other visits Tara and I knocked on the door of a room that was dark except for machines that packed the room. The elderly patient was in a fetal position on the bed and it appeared as if this might be a final family gathering. The lady who had asked us into the room and the man, apparently her brother, looked up. The patient opened her eyes. She looked at Tara and then at her son and daughter. She said, “Do you remember…” She seemed to have had enough of the palatable gloom. Then she prompted some more and did they ever remember. Memories were of a Male German Shepard they had as a young Mother and children. The dog had been a character. Stories surfaced about his comical canine transgressions with brother and sister chiding each other about who had been the least perfect in childhood. Smiles and laughter replaced an atmosphere that had been difficult to walk into. Stories were still going when Tara and I slipped out of the room several minutes later.
Tara is a five year old 60 pound Australian Shepard/Great Pyrenees. She was adopted from Fuzzy Friends Rescue in Waco, Texas in September 2012 at 19 months of age after capture as a stray. In June of 2013 she was evaluated, tested and registered within the International Standards of Pet Partner Therapy Animal Teams. She has been recognized by the American Kennel Club at the level of Therapy Dog Advanced and is a recipient of the Canine Good Citizen Award. She is an Alumnus of the mentoring programs of Angel Paws of Waco and the Providence Healthcare systems for animal assisted therapy. Her specialties are presentations of Dog Safety and Bully Programs in Public Schools and facilitating the reading skills of Elementary School age children. Tara has enjoyed the contribution of more than 300 volunteer hours which have included regular visitation with patients and staff of Health Care Facilities.
Written by Lynn Brown