I heard about TOP Dogs in March this year at a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel day, and was so touched by how dogs can uplift and heal people in need. Therapy dogs make therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, retirement homes, frail care centres, group homes and many other places. They bring company, support, comfort, focus, pleasure, stress relief, stimulation, or a distraction from pain or illness to those they visit. They provide something to look forward to, and a welcome relief from the normal routine.
My work routine has been rather busy, and I was feeling like I lacked balance in my life. When I heard about TOP Dogs, I knew that this was something I’d like to do. To do something selfless, to give back a little, and to do it with an open heart without expecting something in return.
I had to attend a visit without my dog, to see if I am cut out for this type of volunteer work, so I attended a hospital visit at Linmed hospital in Benoni on 11 July 2012.
At first I was a little apprehensive – I am very empathetic and I was concerned that I’d get too emotionally involved. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. It was such an uplifting experience to give up my time to brighten up a stranger’s day. Seeing the patients faces light up when interacting with the dogs was truly heart warming. And even though I did this expecting nothing in return, I was filled with a sense of gratitude, love and peace. Things money can’t buy.
Since my visit was without my dog, I took a few photos to share what the people and furry friends at TOP Dogs do.
My little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dexter, has been going to Dog School for the past three months, and on Sunday 22 July 2012 he passed the evaluation and is now a TOP Dog!
Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be in hospital (although hopefully not!) and a visit from the TOP Dogs will certainly cheer you up!
Images were taken with my Canon 5D Mark III using ambient light only.