By Monday, July 23, 2018 21 No tags Permalink

It’s been four weeks now, and I still can’t believe I am working with my dogs #pettherapy


Monday through Thursday, I leave my house headed to the Medical University of South Carolina. As I walk through the front door, I make sure I have my backpack, lunch bag, hospital badge, and one of my Doods.

Promoted to the position of Pet Therapy Program Coordinator “requires” me to bring my dog to work #blessed



On any given day if you’re walking through the hospital – you are guaranteed to walk into a few of our forty two therapy dogs. They will all be on a mission – responding to requests from either the patient, their family members and/or the medical staff.

Children and adult units, clinics emergency rooms, pre-op, post-op, cancer center, surgical dental areas. We are all over the 80 acre campus that covers the city of Charleston.

As the number of dogs increase, and the program continues to grow, more areas are opening up to the notion that pet therapy compliments the patients stay and assists in positive recovery.

Forty two dogs may seem like a lot, but it’s impossible to be everywhere at the right time when the hospital has a 700-bed medical center and six colleges.

There are days when a call comes in and a dog is not available – these are the calls that Harley and/or Jaxson answer.

Everyday I witness and learn something incredible about the connection our dogs can have with humans – even those they do not know.


A call came in from the Pediatric Procedure Clinic. The nurse asked if I could send a dog to the unit. I told her I didn’t have one coming in until later that afternoon, but Jaxson was in my office. She asked me to please bring him up.

When we entered the area, I saw two nurses and a mother standing around a young boy maybe 10 years of age. The mother was holding a cell phone to his ear asking/begging him to please say something to “Nana.” The little boy would not open his eyes, he would not respond.

The nurse walked closer to me and explained the situation: the patient wasn’t coming out of the anesthesia. They wanted him to wake up. His mother told the nurse that he loved dogs (hence the call).

Jaxson stood next to the bed with his head on the sheet and his mother used his hand to pet Jax’s head. Nothing.

Jax placed his two front paws on the bed and again his mother took his hand and stroked the top of his paws. Nothing.


The nurse standing behind me whispered in my neck –

he really needs to wake up, can you get Jax on the bed?

I didn’t turn around , I just nodded my head, and asked for a sheet. (we use sheets as barriers when placing a dog on a patients bed).

As I waited for her to return with the sheet, I kept thinking –

I’ve brought the wrong dog

In my heart, I wanted Harley. He was so much more experienced at this sort of thing. But I didn’t have Harley AND she was already back with the sheet.

Per procedure – I identified where the child’s legs were located, laid the sheet out and walked Jax to the foot of the bed. I showed him where I wanted him to land and gave the command “up.”

Jax’s jump was spot on! He landed like Gabby Douglas fresh off the vault!

He straddled the boy. Stood over him like Mufasa would stand over Simba in the Lion King.

His tail began to wag, slowly at first, then faster and faster. If you’ve ever seen Jax happy – you know when his tail gets going his behind starts swaying. Next thing we knew the bed got to rocking and very slowly his little brown eyes started to open.  He focused directly at Jax and next his mom and then he smiled.

Not a dry eye in the place.

He rubbed Jax’s chest for several minutes and as if Jax knew it was time, he turned and jumped off the side of the bed.


The benefits of Pet Therapy continues to amaze me, it can –
  • lower blood pressure.
  • improve cardiovascular health.
  • release endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect.
  • diminish overall physical pain.
  • the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some folks may need.

Jaxson has also become very attentive with the staff in our office. He has no problem spending time with each of them…


In his short two months as a therapy dog, he’s matured tremendously. So much so, this week I am taking him to the Children’s Rehabilitation Center. I believe he will be a huge success working one on one with the little human’s and mobility therapy.  Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted.

The best therapist has fur and four paws


  • Alessandra and Pedro
    July 23, 2018

    Cathy thank you for doing what you do and for allowing and encouraging The Boys to flourish and be who they are, real-life heroes and sweet, amazing pups. This post made me cry (happy tears) and made me realize what a privilege it us to have found you and be able to glimpse into your Groovy Goldendoodle world. Hugs and loving paws from Pedro and I!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Alessandra – how are you? How’s Pedro? I am so excited you enjoyed this post. I really want to share stories like these from time to time on our website. I am excited each and everyday at how interesting, fulfilling and useful my job with the Boys has become. I truly believe they are both making a difference with people who need some attention and love. Thanks so much for your support.

  • Pat
    July 24, 2018

    What a heart warming story. You must be so proud of your boys and what you bring to people’s lives when they are called into action. As always thank you for sharing your world with us.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Hi Pat – Thank you so much! We are having a wonderful time each and everyday.

  • Emma
    July 24, 2018

    Isn’t it amazing when you find what you and your dogs were meant to do? So glad you are enjoying the therapy thing and it is working so well for you!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Yes it it! We are amazed each and everyday because we love and believe in what we do.

  • Dashlilly
    July 24, 2018

    Wow. I have read this story twice. I love it. What joy you have found in your life! Bravo to Jax for all he is doing! Awesome post.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Thanks Deirdre, I truly have joy. I feel so blessed to be doing this with both of them. I can’t hep but think how much fun it would be though to have Leo in the mix! LOL

  • Jennifer Teston
    July 24, 2018

    Jaxson was a true God send that day! He’s amazing just like his Mom. Thanks for all you do for us in the Peds Procedure Area!!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Thanks for reading 🙂
      You all are the angels. I am so proud of you for giving so much of yourselves. Pets Procedure will always be our favorite place because of pet loving people just like you!!!

  • Monika & Sam
    July 24, 2018

    Oh my gosh, I love that story! Congrats on the promotion. Clearly the hospital picked the absolute pawfect team for the job!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Thanks Monika!!!!
      I am having the time of my life right now!
      Hugs to Sam….

  • Tiffany Cuartero
    July 25, 2018

    What an amazing story!!

  • JoAnn stancer
    July 25, 2018

    Way to go Jaxon! Thank you for all you do with pet therapy. Much needed.

  • Jan K
    July 26, 2018

    Well, that gave me chills and tears all at the same time. What a wonderful story. You and your boys are amazing! ♥

  • Teresa
    July 28, 2018

    What a heart-warming story! Harley sure is lucky his mama has the job she does so he can help in so many ways!!!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 29, 2018

      Thanks Teresa – I am the lucky one! Harley & Jaxson both make a difference everyday they walk into the hospital. I watch in amazement at how they give so much joy to everyone they meet. Thanks for stopping by – please come back again soon.

  • Lindsay
    July 30, 2018

    This brings tears to my eyes as I read about a very special little boy and a special dog that has no words but can invoke so many feels. <3

    Truly, what a special “job” you have, you are very blessed my friend.


  • Sandra Purdie
    August 1, 2018

    Cathy, thank you so much for sharing this with me!! This is great work that you and Jax are doing.

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 5, 2018

      Thanks Sandra. It is truly a blessing to be able to share God’s creatures who exhibit such unconditional love to everyone they come in contact with. Thanks for stopping by, please come back again soon.

  • Cathy Armato
    August 20, 2018

    Wow, Cathy you have The Dream Job! I’m so jealous right now. My eyes teared up reading this, what a great job Jax did helping his patient! Your facility is so large, I’m really impressed that you have 42 therapy dogs on staff! That is just great. Icy and I have been volunteering in our community this Summer, mostly in the children reading to dogs programs which are our favorite assignments. I’m hoping to get Phoebe registered as a TD as well in the near future. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming story!
    Love & Biscuits
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them