Little Moments of Joy
When you’re in the hospital for a long time, you start to miss things you didn’t even realize you loved so much about being home. Our daughter Piper, who is 5, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma after doctors found tumors in her head, chest, lung, stomach and kidneys. It’s an aggressive but very treatable kind of cancer. For the next five months, we were at Riley Hospital more than we were home. Every time we would call home, Piper wanted to know all about our dog, Bubba, and see him and talk to him.
When the Pet Therapy dogs starting coming around, Piper was always so excited to get to interact with them. Even when she was in isolation and the dogs couldn’t come in the room, we would wave to them from the door.
Piper ended up back at Riley with an infection over Christmas, which was hard. But having Lambeau the dog come visit was so much fun. Piper has a little Polaroid camera, and she took his picture and taped it to her IV stand right next to her bed. She also gave a picture of herself with Lambeau to his handler. It was just so sweet.
The last dog we saw was Ruby, who was able to get right up in the bed so Piper could just pet her and love on her. When you’re in the hospital everything is so sterile, but the dogs really bring that feeling of “home” to your room. Little moments of joy and comfort can make a world of difference for a sick child. What Child Life and Pet Therapy bring to children at Riley is invaluable.
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