Sammy 11/23/10 Visit to Lancaster General Mental Health Unit

It’s the 4th Tuesday of the month, mabye about the fourth time or so Sammy was scheduled to visit the Mental Health Unit at local Lancaster General Hospital. But today would be extra fun for my 9 year old golden retriever.
You see, many years ago when Sammy was two, he met a friend at another hospital where he was doing AAT with physical, occupational and speech therapists. Sammy had fallen in love with Shari, the speech therapist. He would always know when she was nearby. He knew her scent and would loose all focus on what he was doing.
Today, when we arrived at the hospital and as we walked down the hall to sign in at the volunteer office, I saw her coming towards us down the hall.  I knew she worked there as we had spoken before, but Sammy had not put it all together that she could possilby be there.
“Where’s your Shari” is all I had to say and he started going in circles around me, looking far and wide for her as she hid in a sitting area off the busy hallway. He sniffed and sniffed and looked and then he saw her! Breaking the rules of a therapy dog, I let go of his leash so he could run the whole seven feet to the second love of his life (I’m number one). She promptly sat down on the carpet floor to be at his level and he snuggled as close to her as he could get. Whimpers and cries of joy came from the excited fluffy dog. Shari said she dressed appropriately by wearing khaki colors to hid an tell-tale signs of dog hair. The reunion excitement continues for at least ten minutes as we waited for our escort to take up to our unit for visits.
Co-workers came and tried to vie for the handsome boy’s attention, but he would have little of it. He had his love and could barely take his eyes off of her. It may have helped that she had a cookie in her pocket for him.
Ah, but time to go to work. Our escort was ready for us to head to other direction and leave his love behind. As we went one way down the hall, he kept turning around looking for her as she ventured in the other direction to her office.
Finally we arrived at the elevator and loaded up to go to 8East. Our visit on the unit was more exciting than usual. For some reason, Sammy was a bit more animated and eager to play. Kinda like ‘ah, I’m in love!’. He played with his favorite buddy, Shawn but worked the crowd as well. We did a few tricks – we did the Cha Cha, spin, circle, fly, under, weave, tada, to name a few. We really dazzled an older lady so much she said, “I’ve never seen a dog like that. He is really truely amazing”. I’d have to agree. 🙂
We spent our hour with Sammy friends there and then headed back down to the volunteer office to sign out. As I talked with Dawn, Sammy mooched some treats from her too. This boy has a way with the women. Dawn was only allowed to give Sammy one treat per my request (he had had tons already). To melt her heart, he stood on the opposite side of her desk, laying is head on the edge of her desk looking up at her with big brown eyes as though saying, “but my mommy doesn’t feed me”. She was enamored by the warmth of his eyes, but then something changed!
That smell, ears perked up, and Sammy went on high alert. What was it? Where is it? He had to find it! Around the corner, seated in the waiting area right outside the door was . . . . Shari! Oh man, here we go again! This time it was a little different. Sammy was beat. It had been a long visit, so this time he was just so content to be with her. Snuggling next to her for a belly rub, he relaxed in her presence. Ah, but another good-bye had to be said. Shari walked us down the hall to our exit, until the next time!