The newest member to the Smiles 4 Sick Children team is Sophie, our 7 weeks young Chocolate Labrador Retriever.
Over the course of the next several years Sophie will become, through her extensive training, a therapy dog and she’ll start visiting kids at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and other children’s hospitals as she travels the country to help bring Smiles through a simple rub of the ears, a shake of the paw or just laying at the feet of someone who needs that special attention.
Recently a young woman told me some of her experiences while a patient at PCH when she was a child and her favorite day she told me was when she knew the “dogs” would becoming to visit.
Sophie won’t be able to visit kids until she’s two years old and able to pass the therapy dog test but in the interim I will be posting her progress on this page.
Sophie completed her first 6 week obedience course with flying colors. However it was interrupted with a 5 day stay in an ICU after she injested a Chemo Therapy Cream (FLUOROURACIL. 5%. Topical Cream )meant for human skin cancer. Her little best friend Teddy the kitten, knocked the cream off the bathroom counter and Sophie, at 4 months of age, proceeded to puncture the tube and lick the cream. She had the first of many seizures the next day and with her temperature at 108 degrees she was rushed to VET MED, an emergency pet hospital.
We received a call at 11:00 P.M. That first night asking if we would consider humane euthanasia as her seizures continued. I told them “NO”, to proceed with the course of care we agreed upon as she was young and strong and 5 days later we were able to bring her home with no signs of neurological damage. After 6 weeks she has made a full recovery and she and the kitten our back to being best buddies, and any future chemo cream will be under lock and key.
She was given a 1% chance to make it through that first night and a 30% chance to survive the poison by Animal Poison Control, a similar organization to the CDC. But just like the Children in Phoenix Children’s Hospital fighting life threatening disease and traumatic Injuries from accidents, she proved to be a little fighter and as mentioned above she’s made a full recover and is back to being a playful energetic little puppy.
Her training continues and at one year of age she will be tested for her progress and in the interim she is visiting assisted living homes to gain experience before being able to start visiting the kids at PCH.
Because of the COVID-19 virus, Sophie’s hospital, retirement home, and assisted living home visits have been few and far between.
As with humans having to visit their loved ones through windows, it’s been hard for her to bring her fun and carefree attitude to her friends. As soon as the virus is under some sort of control, Sophie will be back to visiting everyone who had a pet, and helping them remember the joy they once knew.
Please stay tuned.