Saturday, August 22, 2015

Therapy Dog Volunteer: Vi at La Jolla Village

As some of you may already know, I am a registered therapy dog. I used to volunteer at libraries but my back was hurting a couple of months ago so I had to stop for awhile. I received an email from Therapy Dogs International that Vi at La Jolla Village is looking for therapy dog volunteers. When my back pain went away, my human contacted Glory, the lifestyle manager and we set up a date and time for the tour and meeting. When we got to the facility, Glory showed us around the Care Center. There are different levels of care provided, from those that need basic assistance with their daily routines such as getting ready in the morning and taking in their medication to those that need more help because they have Alzheimer’s and other loss of mental & cognitive functions. Glory showed us the patient’s rooms, dining area and activity area. After the tour, my human submitted all the forms requested and we gave Glory the dates that we can volunteer. We can only go on weekends so we set up a time for 11:00 am.

Waiting area at the Care Center.

Lounging area.

We went to Vi the next Saturday but Glory doesn’t come in on weekends so Terry will be our contact person when we go to volunteer. Terry set up a video for us to watch regarding HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Basically we just need to know to protect the privacy of the patients in the facility. After the video, Terry showed us around and we went to visit some rooms. Sometimes the patients can’t talk because they recently just had a stroke but you can tell that they’re happy with the way their faces light up. Our first day volunteering at Vi went well and we said we will definitely keep doing this.

For our 2nd time volunteering, Terry had an assistant who had a list of names of the patients and their room numbers. The assistant would go to the room and ask the patients if they want to see me or not. If they say yes, the assistant will put a check beside their name on the list so we know we can visit them the next time we volunteer. Some of the patients didn’t want to see me but it’s ok, I know not everyone is an animal person. Me and my human went to a couple of rooms, introduced ourselves and just took the time to get to know them. Some of them told stories about how they had their own dogs too and how much they miss them. It was so sad but at the same time I felt happy because they told us that I make them happy by spending time with them.

Volunteering leaves a special feeling in my heart and it is such a rewarding experience. I am happy that I got registered to be a therapy dog so I can make people happy. This is a way of helping out in my own little way. I stopped volunteering a couple months ago because of my ongoing IVDD problem. We wanted to volunteer again when I got better but my human couldn't take me because of her busy schedule and we had family visiting for a couple of months. We definitely want to go back and will volunteer again as soon as we can.