Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Be Like Basil!

I've now launched my logo and the Be Like Basil campaign (thanks again to Debbie at GLOGIRLY - Tails Of A Cat And Her Girl for that!) and people are saying "But Basil, you're perfect! You're smart and cute and loving and funny... How can we be like you?" Keep in mind, perfect is different for kitties than it is for humans. We're much more realistic about these things and perfect is about trying to be the absolute best that YOU can be, for yourself and others.

I'll also let you in on a little secret... I'm not actually perfect.

When I go out to visit my peeps (everyone I visit instantly becomes one of my peeps by the way), I put on my very best and most loving cattitude and behavior. I stay in my stroller until Mom gets me out, I stay on the towel or blanket that is put down for me, I don't meow for no reason (unless it's the REALLY REALLY long hallways and skywalk at Doernbecher where there are almost no peeps, what's up with that?), I stay in my seat in the car, I give high fives and sit up for treats, when I'm with the patients I purr EXTRA hard and make as many biscuits as my little paws can, I slow blink the staff peeps (cuz they deserve it), and I don't get scared of almost anything because I know Mom will protect me (remind me to add Bodyguard to her job title). Sometimes big loud noises scare me a little.

Mom calls me "the Mary Poppins of cats" - practically perfect in every way. Until I get home...

You see, being that perfect when I'm out in public means that sometimes, I'm not always perfect at home. Sometimes, I'm not always graceful (thanks for the pic, Mom... Seriously?!), I jump on the kitchen counter (only when there's something up there that I REALLY want), I steal Squeak's food out of his automatic feeder (he sits right there with his tag so the door doesn't close, so he enables it), and sometimes... I get into tussles with Fu (Mom calls us sisters from another litter and every once in a while, we act like sisters but not in the best way). I used to pick on my blind fursib-brother Neko but Mom really put her foot down on that one.

But even at home, I love my fursibs and Mom, I ALWAYS use the litterbox, I practice my purrs and
biscuits on Mom, I groom after every meal, I'm really do love my fursibs, and I rest up for the next visit. Like I said, human perfect is unattainable. Kitty perfect on the other hand... well... Just remember...

  • Be kind, it matters
  • Be honest
  • Try your best, your own 100%
  • Learn lots and be smart

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What's New, Therapy Cat?

Hi there everypawdy!

First of all, I'm sorry that I haven't updated this site in such a very long time. So many things have happened that we've been busy in the real world and this has sort of taken a back seat. I promise to try and take control of the computer a little more often and get you more updates.

Last year when our favorite senior human died, Mom needed a bit of a break. She was the very first person that we ever visited and we still think about her and miss her a lot. Mom also got laid off and it took her a while to find a new good job but she did! No, it isn't taking care of me and the rest of the fursibs at home full-time but as she says... someone has to earn the kibble. Even though we took some time off from visits, it was probably a good thing because I also got a little sick and it gave me the time I really needed to get better. It's all good, I'm ok now.

We're also visiting a new place now and wow, is it ever exciting! The people higher up in the organization that runs the places we were visiting wasn't being very supportive about having a Therapy Cat so Mom decided it was time to go someplace where we felt we could do the most good. Don't get me wrong, I miss the peeps that we used to visit but sometimes, we have to do the hard thing to get to the next steps.

Let's talk numbers...

Some surveys say that there are around 74 million cats in the world, only about 36 million of those kitties have a home with humans to love and take care of them (PLEASE spay and neuter ALL of your cats - and get involved in TNR to help save community cats!).

Then there's me! 

Next, there are 6,210 hospitals in the United States. We couldn't find any statistics on how many of them have formal animal therapy programs but of the small number of hospitals that do, they are almost exclusively represented by dogs only. So the number of programs that welcome cats into a healthcare setting is likely to be an extremely small number... Like, single digit small.

Then... there's OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Doernbecher Children's Hospital is an academic teaching children's hospital associated with Oregon Health & Science University located in Portland, Oregon. Established in 1926, it is the first full-service children's hospital in the Pacific Northwest, and provides full-spectrum pediatric care. They are also one of the top ten children's hospitals in the United States and truly amazing in every aspect. Get this... they have a formal animal therapy program! Until recently, there were 20 teams that visit people at OHSU Hospital and Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

A few months ago, Mom was looking at their page on Facebook and they showed a picture of one of their therapy doggos named Davis. Mom was being a smarty pants and posted a picture of me and said that I would love to come and work with Davis. THEY REPLIED BACK that they would love to meet me and have me in the program! Both Mom and I had to go to a lot of meetings and training so that we knew all the special stuff about working in a hospital but we are now officially the 21st Animal Assisted Therapy Team in the OHSU system! I had to go and have my picture taken for my official badge and everything.

The people who made my badge make A LOT of human badges every single day so they kinda had fun with mine. This doesn't happen very often at all and I made sure that everyone smiled that day. Don't worry, while we were there, Mom got a badge too since she needs to open doors and stuff for me.

And would you believe that there is another therapy kitty here?! Her name is Liza Meow and she's a brown tabby. Her mom is Darci. So we are two kitty teams and nineteen dog teams that help make Doernbecher one of the best hospitals in the country for kids!

The doctors and patients in these two hospitals can request visits from the animal therapy teams and can even specify whether they'd like a cat or dog to visit. Our focus is in a few areas of the children's hospital. One is a general care ward but we also visit the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit as well as the Trauma and Emergency areas. Sometimes, we just stop in and visit with a child and their parent may be there too. Sometimes, we visit a young patient who might be sad or hurting and it's my job to lay with them and help them feel better.

We visit on Saturday mornings and I save up extra purrs and biscuits all week so that I can make them on Saturday for the kids! I work really hard to earn all the smiles that get made that day by my new peeps, the kids, parents, visitors, and staff, but it's so worth it and makes me SO HAPPY! I usually take a nap on the way home.

Mom tried and tried for a long time to get us into the other hospital system here but they used the excuse that "cats carry too much disease and can't be trained." We notice that they aren't in the top ten in the United States though... maybe they need some more cats and dogs to help heal patients in their hospital? Purrs and biscuits make everything better. So sad they aren't up to speed with a really good program like OHSU that would allow that!

Like I said, I promise to try and better better about posting stuff here more often but I do a lot on Facebook and Instgram, so make sure and join me over there. There is some more big stuff coming so stay tuned!

If you'd like to follow along:

OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Miss Liza Meow

And of course... Me too!