Bear — Therapy
Bear, a black 9 year old Labrador Retriever, got his name when as a pup with big paws, people said “he’s going to be as big as a bear”. We have since learned he also has a big heart. After becoming a Pet Partner in 2013, he has volunteered weekly for the past four years at Randall Children’s Hospital, Legacy Emmanuel in Portland Oregon. One hospitalized child was in a coma, and under instruction from a nurse, Bear got into bed and lay next to the child and gave him a kiss. For the first time in a week, he showed signs of consciousness by smiling. When Bear came back the next week, he was out of bed and in a few weeks he was able to take Bear for a walk and throw balls for him. Bear is also part of an innovative national study sponsored by American Humane Association on Canines and Childhood Cancer- and has been matched with four children over the past two years. He meets weekly with a child four months during their chemo. The child might read to Bear, brush him or just lay quietly together. The study assesses both the child’s and the dog’s stress levels. Although the study is not completed, it seems many children benefit from having the presence of a big black dog. Bear’s empathy was also evident a year ago when while for an evening walk he alerted his owner to a parked car. The driver was having a serious allergic reaction and Bear’s prompting lead the owner to investigate and then call 911, saving the driver’s life when paramedics arrived and gave an epipen injection.