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!
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