Tawny completed her first day at Torrance Memorial Medical Center (TMMC) with flying colors! She met eight different patients in their rooms and greeted them with a touch of her nose as they petted her. She also provided a moment of relaxation to six other individuals who were sitting in waiting rooms. As she made her rounds, she also introduced herself to a number of TMMC staff, nurses, and even one doctor.
She certainly found the environment different that anything she had ever experienced before — the new smells she encountered, internal senses informing her that the patients were not like the people she normally met — but she handled herself extremely well. She stepped forward each time and let the patient pet her, always receiving the comment, “She is so soft, and so pretty.”
We toured the facility for just over two hours, and it was evident when we finished that she was tired. I believe the new experience took a toll; the new smells and senses she encountered might have overwhelmed her. We returned home and she took a long, long nap. But I received an e-mail from Pat, the volunteer who coordinates the Pet Visitation Program at TMMC, that Tawny did quite well considering that this was her first time meeting patients, which is normally unnerving for dogs in the program until they get accustom to the situation. But I strongly believe that Tawny will adapt to the environment, her personality and genuine interest in meeting people will eventually overcome any hesitancies she might have about the sickness she encountered around her. Unfortunately, we can never be absolutely sure, since we have no idea how each dog reacts to new surroundings and if their hesitancies will remain or diminish with time.
I certainly enjoyed the experience and honestly believe Tawny definitely brought happiness to the patients she met — I could see it in the patient’s eyes and the manner in which they touched her, and how they lowered their head to get closer to her face. I can’t wait until our next visit. I just hope Tawny feels the same way.