by Michelle Ascher Dunn
I had two therapy dogs, trained by ASPCA in 2002. They are in Heaven now. They lived and worked with me in several hospitals as well as in Ronald McDonald House and in my office with my patients for almost 14 years. They died two years ago. Their names were Butter and Serafina. They were 80lb Golden Retreivers. They received their training through the ASPCA and through Angels on A Leash. Their love and devotion to children of all ages will soon appear in a book titled “Butter’s Best Day.”
Here is a Story about Butter
One day, as Butter waited for Eli in Michelle’s office, she decided to take a little nap. Eli was two years old, and as such, regarded Butter as part of her very own furniture.
Butter knew that when Eli arrived, it would take great love and patience to help Eli that day and every day.
Butter needed to rest before Eli came. Then before you knew it, Eli burst through the door.
Eli’s bottle was hanging out of her mouth by its very worn nipple. “Here Butter,” said Eli, offering her bottle to Butter.
Eli plopped down next to Butter, snuggling deep into her fur.
Eli put the nipple of her bottle close to Butter’s face.
Butter softly licked Eli’s cheek.
Then Eli and Butter lay together on the floor while Eli finished her bottle. Eli had her very first bottle laying with Butter only a few months prior. Born with medical problems, Eli had been fed through a tube at first.
When Eli finally was able to drink with a bottle, she refused. That’s when Butter and Eli met. While Michelle fed Butter a bottle, Eli herself decided to have her own.
It was a match made in Heaven!
Here is A Story about Serafina
Serafina plopped down in the lobby of Ronald MCDonald house. She was waiting for one certain guest. She was waiting for Jackson. Jackson was 15 years old now and had known Serafina since he was in 3rd grade. Jackson loved Serafina and Serafina loved Jackson back. They had not seen each other for a while. But now Jackson was back, and so was Serafina. At exactly 7PM, Jackson and his mother, Helena, arrived, and Serafina rose to greet them.
Jackson’s wheelchair was just big enough to hold Jackson, but Serafina didn’t care. She carefully placed her two huge Golden Retreiver paws right on Jackson’s lap.
“Whoa!” said Jackson, laughing, “You’re not a puppy anymore, Serafina. You’re a big beautiful girl!” Serafina stared at Jackson for several seconds. Then she pushed her muzzle under his blanket.”
Looking for that treat, Serafina?” said Jackson’s mom. Helena took a treat out of her bag and handed it to Jackson.
“Here Serafina,” said Jackson.
Serafina gingerly took her treat. She sat straight up with her treat in her soft mouth; waiting for her cue. Jackson and his mom both laughed.
“OK girl, eat it up!”
And Serafina did just that.
Watching Serafina have her treat brought joy and laughter to Jackson and his mother. It always had.