By Wednesday, September 1, 2021 5 No tags Permalink

BBQ Grills and Therapy Dogs is a cautionary tale I believe to be prudent to share before the last “fire up the grill” holiday of the summer!

Growing up in New York, Labor Day Monday was AS important to all grill masters as the fourth of July. By September – those “connoisseur’s” of hot coals and raw meats, took great pride in closing out the Summer with the ultimate feast for family and friends to consume with delight.


Heed some advice from a friend of ours (Jaxson and I) named Warren…

Warren called me earlier this spring from a hospital room. He’d been admitted in the wee hours of the morning.

Apparently – his steel grill bristle brush was responsible for the unexpected Memorial Weekend hospital stay – 

I didn’t go back and actually clean the grill of the brush bristles. I cooked a couple of hamburgers and they adhered to the meat. And now I’m in the hospital with steel bristles in my gut.

says Warren

If you are reading this and scratching your head perplexed –  I understand. I was baffled the entire time I leashed Jaxson up, walked out of my office and headed to the elevator.


We receive calls from patients, family members and/or medical personnel all day long. It is my job to dispatch these teams as quickly as possible. When a therapy dog enters a unit, everyone’s day brightens up. 

Especially those Healthcare Heroes….

Therapy dogs are a welcoming sight. They are not there to administer any kind of medical assistance whether it’s an injection or medication. The therapy dog’s role is to enhance each patients hospital experience and on occasion partner with the physician using canine therapeutic intervention.

These certified pups are a proven health benefit. While they are not covered by insurance they won’t show up on your hospital bill thanks to the incredible volunteers who work this program.

Warren – is one of those volunteers! 

He and his Golden Retriever Tank spread tail wagging happiness to patients of all ages in our hospitals and with children prepping for outpatient surgical procedures. 

Now Warren was on the “other side” of the hospital room door…


This was how Warren described his therapy dog visit with Jaxson –

You can feel the weight of your problems being transferred to them.

It was a happy, awkward – but wonderful moment for me. I was able to provide someone EXACTLY what they’ve given to hundreds of others for years. 

I returned to Warren’s room the following day – to check on him. He was in a little less pain but smiling with a Kris Kringle twinkle in his eyes as he showed me his array of “trading cards” he’d collected over the last 30 hours.

Therapy dog trading cards are priceless around campus….

Each Therapy Dog has a trading card with their name and picture on the front and fun facts on the back, like their “barkday” (aka birthday), favorite foods, hobbies and certifications . It can be a great ice breaker with patients. 

That’s a talking point that you can use with a child, “‘You like ice cream? Tank likes ice cream too!’” They’re popular with children who collect them and with hospital staff, who proudly display them in their units and hospital hallways.

says Warren

Warren’s given out thousands, but never had he collected any.

His stay was only for a couple of days. His physicians were able to safely rid him of those steel bristles and he is back to walking the halls with Tank at his side.

So if you’re someone who grills, and you’ve got plans on lighting those coals this weekend – please clean that grate thoroughly if you use a steel bristle brush.

To read Warren’s complete story written by Melissa Varner for MUSC – click here

Thanks so much for reading, have a safe and happy holiday weekend and be kind to someone on purpose ❤️

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    September 1, 2021

    Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery from me and Norman.

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 2, 2021

      Awh, I will definitely pass that along to him. Take care my friend.

  • Madison
    September 2, 2021

    Mom cleans the grill after every grilling but has never had anything end up in her food. That would be so awful! Glad he is doing better.

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 2, 2021

      It looked a little painful. He was not a happy camper for the three days he was in the hospital. o more steel bristle brushes for him!

  • Cathy Armato
    November 11, 2021

    OMG, Cathy, this is a wonderful, heartwarming story.. but bristles in his gut?! I’ve never thought about that or realized that danger. Thanks for both an uplifting story & an important grill warning! My Husky Icy & I are a therapy team, you met her at BlogPaws, but she doesn’t visit hospitals. I’m afraid she might be too rambunctious for hospitals LOL
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them