No one enjoys being in a hospital emergency room, but that is where Len and I found ourselves a couple weeks ago. As careful as we try to be at our ages, he had taken a fall and was experiencing back pain.
Everyone we had contact with there, from volunteers to medical professionals, as always at PRMC, were extremely competent, helpful and friendly. Nevertheless, time hung heavy as we waited for the results from a CT scan and other tests.
We watched as other patients came and went. And then, we had a surprise! Across the corridor, there came a woman with a small, white dog on a leash. It was obvious that the woman and dog were there with a patient. We smiled and nodded at each other. Shortly thereafter, we saw them making short visits with other patients and staff members.
Soon, they stopped at our cubicle. “This is Snow and she is an internationally registered therapy dog and also my personal service dog,” the woman explained. Snow looked as if she understood every word as she gently came to both of us to be petted. What a sweetheart! I’ve always believed different dogs have different personalities. If ever there was an American dog competition, Snow would win the Miss Congeniality award hands (or maybe paws) down.
I was interested to learn that Snow is a Bichon Frise, a breed that is known for being social and very good with people. They have long been trained as service dogs. Nola Crowe (by then we had introduced ourselves) told us that Snow had been trained to be a therapy and service dog by a trainer in Pine. As such, the dog must be certified by state and nationally licensed personnel before being allowed to interact with patients.
Nola and Snow have between 350 and 400 hours of service and have visited Rim Country Retirement, Payson Care Center and PRMC and other facilities. Snow was recently presented with a Good Citizen Certificate from the AKC (American Kennel Club) and she also has achieved several other awards. Nola said that therapy dogs must have complete physicals annually, with the results sent to Therapy Dogs International. Because there are strict hygiene requirements, Snow’s coat is kept shorter than traditional Bichon Frises.
Nola comes by her love of dogs naturally. Her father trained upland bird hunting dogs in their native Kentucky. Her family settled two counties in Kentucky’s early days and through her heritage, she is an honorary Kentucky Colonel.
Keep watching the Roundup; Nola and Snow may be making an appearance at the Senior Center in the near future. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet this fascinating woman and her adorable friend. Len and I thank them both for making our ER visit more enjoyable.
P.S. — Len was diagnosed with a minor compression fracture of a lower back vertebrae and was sent home where he is recovering. We both look where we step more carefully these days.
Payson Senior Center and Thrift Store
There will be a program on Biological Body Donation at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18 in the Senior Center Dining Room, 514 W. Main St. The meeting is open to the public, no reservations needed unless you plan to stay for lunch. To make luncheon reservations, call (928) 474-4876.
Also on Sept. 18, the Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet in the Center Dining Room at 1:30 p.m. This program is open to families and caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients.
Watch for the Harvest Moon on Sept. 19. Autumn officially begins Sept. 22 — celebrate the change of seasons with an End of Summer party and luncheon Sept. 19 at the Center. Advance reservations needed.
Sept. 30 there will be a program at 11 a.m. by Healthy Perspectives on good nutrition for better health. Call the above number for information.