RING THAT CANCER BELL – #PETTHERAPY

By Sunday, April 14, 2019 10 No tags Permalink

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…

What a proud (and rightly so) moment for someone so special to so many.

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

Friends – that’s what they are…

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.

Jennifer…

Yes – they are both smiling…

2019 –

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
  • Jennifer
  • Cancer

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…

“lindysgreen” is the “Head Chief Treat Nurse” in the unit!


Collar Harley flattered – he was thrilled to see her…

Once in a lifetime – Jennifer’s the patient not the nurse!

Jennifer’s family were anxious to meet him…

My heart melted to learn the family knew all about Harley.

And the Ped’s Procedure team kept their promise and wore pink for her that day too…

These are Harley & Jaxson’s work family – they’ve got lot’s of Aunties…

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…

What a way to start a new journey…

The best therapist has four paws and a tail ❤️


10 Comments
  • Madison
    April 15, 2019

    What a sad, but great story. We hope Jennifer continues to be done with cancer and all that goes along with it. How nice of her to let you share her story.

    • Cathy Bennett
      April 15, 2019

      The roughest road has already been traveled – she’ll be fine, just needs her strength. That too will come!

  • Uka Walt
    April 15, 2019

    Well Done!

    • Cathy Bennett
      April 15, 2019

      Why thank you Uka Walt!

  • Dashlilly
    April 15, 2019

    Ring that bell!! Good work Harley!!!! Awesome post

    • Cathy Bennett
      April 15, 2019

      Why thank you Dashlilly – the Boys are having a blast working at the hospital.

  • Jennifer Teston
    April 15, 2019

    Cathy you captured my love for Harley (and you) exquisitely. I read this with tears streaming down my face. Pet therapy is so very special to staff and patients! I couldn’t imagine life without it. So very happy you were a part of my bell ringing happy day. Thank you!!

    • Cathy Bennett
      April 15, 2019

      Jennifer – you are our SHERO 🙂

  • sand spring chesapeakes
    April 15, 2019

    oh my gosh, tears of joy! What a special moment, enjoy the new journey in your life Jennifer!

  • Monika, Sam & Elsa
    April 16, 2019

    All best wishes to your friend and now cancer survivor! Well done, Harley!

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