Bueller — Therapy
Bueller, a 9-year-old Morkie and veteran therapy dog, probably thought he had seen it all before 2020. Then, he found himself on the outside looking in as the hospice and retirement facilities we routinely visited went on COVID lockdown. It was not a time to quit due to new challenges. It was a time when therapy dogs were needed the most. Bueller was tested against windows and screens, noisy air conditioners, wasps, narrow window ledges, the heat, cold, and sometimes rain. While residents of these facilities were restricted from seeing their families, our visits became a more significant highlight in their lives.
Of the 110 therapy visits Bueller made in 2020 to the elderly, hospice, schools, and a children’s shelter, 49 were window visits, and they continue.
We adapted using tricks and a portable agility course to entertain in place of petting. Bueller sang/howled loudly and proudly. We used social media pages to post photos, videos, and messages. We made a reading video for our school friends and a Christmas movie co-starring Santa Claus. We adapted, but, above all, we were there to show others we did not forget them.
The staff members posted notes on the windows of residents who wanted to see us, although depending on the sun’s glare, we may not be able to see them. We learned. We listened, and we loved.
Bueller is a Love On A Leash advanced therapy degree holder, AKC Therapy Dog Excellent, and Trick Dog Elite Performer.