Tarot, an 18-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, is one of the 53 dogs in the Gerald B. Shreiber Pet Therapy Program. This is a day in his life — in his own words.
Quick run with my sister, Rumor. (She’s a CHOP therapy dog, too, semi-retired.) My owner, Lisa, says, “Everything is Tarot’s favorite thing,” but running is absolutely my all-time favorite thing!
Breakfast — yum!
Bath time — yuck!
We’re going for a RIDE! I sit in the backseat with my head out the window. Yeah!
We head up to Lisa’s office. She has a meeting — she runs the Pet Therapy Program — so she gives me a Kong toy with biscuits inside to keep me busy.
Lisa lets me out of my crate so that I can have a sniff around. I don’t find any tissues (my favorite!), but the paintings in the corner smell yummy …
I scratch at the door. I am ready to go!!
First stop: 9 South. The doctors and nurses are just as excited to see me as the kids are! “The dogs are here for everyone,” Lisa always says. She’s right: I am happy to see everyone.
A little boy takes my picture and plays “Who Let the Dogs Out” on some kind of machine. I am not sure what to think of that thing, so I give it a good long sniff, and the boy laughs. I think he likes me!
Some of the kids show Lisa and me pictures of their dogs and cats. The hospital can be a scary place, and I know that playing with me makes kids feel better when they are missing their pets!
Lisa shares her chicken salad sandwich. It’s pretty good, but my favorite is roast beef and provolone.
A little girl climbs out of her wheelchair so that she can sit next to me. She seems sad at first, but she laughs really hard when I do my tricks! (I can sit up like a chipmunk, and I’m learning to roll over, too!)
I do a quick check of the hallway outside the Newborn/Infant ICU. (There are never any squirrels, but I always look for them.) A bunch of people stop to pet me. They say that hanging out with me makes them feel better. And lots of scientists who know about these things say the work I do is pretty important!
A lady scratches my ears and asks, “What happened to your head, honey?” Lisa explains that the lump on my head is a birthmark. It’s one of the things that makes me special! I also have a birthmark between my eyes, and I had to wear doggie braces to fix my overbite. I didn’t like those one bit, so I ate them!
How cool: Someone hung Rumor’s trading card in the Pediatric ICU. (She’s pretty popular.) We visit with a couple of kids and their nurses, and I get in a few more snuggles. I love to climb up on the kids’ beds, but Lisa says we have to ask first.
Home. Time to wrestle with Rumor!
Dinner: dog food again. I think about roast beef for a while.
Quick trip to the dog park. I’m taking it a little bit easy because I hurt my paws running around CHOP’s Sea Garden last week. A nurse offered to bandage them for me. How lucky am I to have such good friends?
Bedtime! I hope Rumor doesn’t steal my spot under the fan …