What an honor to witness a patient ring that cancer bell!
Talk about a celebratory moment!
For cancer patients, family members, friends and their healthcare team, the “ringing of the bell” is a significant moment. It’s a precious point in time that signals the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer.
So if/when a friend asks you to “join” them on that glorious day after all their chemo treatments are over – your station in this person’s life has truly been elevated…
But when that same friend wants you to “Uber your pet” to participate in the ringing of said bell – there is no describing it #beyondpriceless
THE BEGINNING –
Harley’s first assignment as a therapy dog involved three floors in the Children’s Hospital.
One in particular quickly became Harley’s favorite – “Pediatric Procedures.” Many children frequent this unit for out-patient procedures. As they bide their time, Harley visits and receives excellent back and belly rubs. And if that isn’t enough of a reason to keep coming – the nurses station holds a cabinet full of dog treats for the pet therapy teams.
But I believe in addition to the children and the bacon – for Harley – it was also about one nurse in particular.
This relationship (Jennifer and Harley) began in the Spring of 2016. We were a brand new eager pet therapy team wanting to bring smiles to hospitalized children.
Jennifer was the first nurse we met.
By 2017, our move downtown and the initial renovation surge caused gaps in our volunteer commitment. Yet when they saw one another it was as if time stood still.
When I assumed the role as Pet Therapy Coordinator in 2018, it provided more opportunities for the two of them to see one another. Harley is her “go-to” pup when she needs canine assistance with her patients.
He has ridden on gurneys for her as the patient is being transported into the procedure room. She will do anything to make those children feel better, and Harley will do just about anything for her.
In January of this year, I never gave Jennifer’s shorter hair style any thought. I had no idea she was battling cancer.
Always there, always cheerful, helpful, and happy – I never knew.
Late February I overheard a co-worker talking and I was able to grasp portions of their conversation.
I heard three words –
- Ped’s Procedure
That’s when I knew.
CANCER, WATER AND GOLDENDOODLES –
Cancer, Water and Goldendoodles is the name of another blog post I wrote years ago when my own daughter battled cancer – twice.
I remembered how important “normalcy” was to Tiffany. She never wanted the people around her to alter/adjust the manner in which they interacted because she was sick.
This remained in the forefront of my mind the first day I saw her AFTER I found out about her current journey.
Taking her lead, when I saw her – it was business as usual. We never spoke about it. My hugs were tighter and longer and I truly believe she felt my love. I made it a habit to mention her often in my prayers.
INSTAGRAM INVITATION –
For years I’ve avoided Instagram. #anotherpost However, embracing Instagram made it possible for me to keep up with Jennifer’s journey. #converteduser
Treatment 11 in the books today. One more chemo treatment left and then I get to ring the bell signifying completion.This was a portion of Jennifer’s Instagram posts
Here is our Instagram conversation that followed…
Collar Harley flattered – he was thrilled to see her…
Jennifer’s family were anxious to meet him…
And the Ped’s Procedure team kept their promise and wore pink for her that day too…
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL SOUND –
When the last IV bag was completely empty – it was time to ring that bell!
Talk about a beautiful sound! The best ten seconds ever…
So incredibly proud of Harley, he was such an attentive and obedient dog that day (he has his moments!). He was super affectionate to everyone.
And as loud as that bell was – Harley remained by Jennifer’s side the entire time.
There’s a new chapter for the two of them to write together!
He’s missed not seeing her, but that’s behind them now – nothing but GOLDEN hugs, DOODLE kisses and bacon for these two…
The best therapist has four paws and a tail ❤️