If you’re a regular reader of our blog then you’ve met some of the physicians, nurses and therapists who work hard to help Canuck Place kids live each day to the fullest. But there’s another “staffer” who lights up a room every time she saunters in. She brings heaps of joy to kids, families, volunteers and staff just by being there. Meet Poppy the therapy dog.
Claire Crawford is one of Poppy’s handlers and she knows how important Poppy is to Canuck Place. “She helps create a home environment, especially for kids who are missing their own pets. Poppy fills a big void for those kids and offers them comfort and love.”
Claire has witnessed many special moments between Poppy and kids at the hospice. One that stands out is a very special game of fetch.
A little boy who was staying at Canuck Place had trouble holding things in his hands. He worked hard to grasp a ball and then threw it about two feet in front of his wheelchair for Poppy to retrieve. She fetched it with as much enthusiasm as she would have if the ball had been thrown clear across the yard. She dropped the ball into the boy’s lap and waited while he worked to get his hand around the ball to throw it again.
“They played like that for 20 minutes. It was a beautiful thing to watch because they had a special connection and she showed such patience with the little boy,” said Claire.
Working with Poppy at Canuck Place has taught Clair to value little moments. “We tend to take things like playing fetch with a dog for granted. Then, watching that special moment between a child and Poppy makes you rethink how a small action can mean the difference for a child. It’s taught me a lot about living life to the fullest and really being in the moment and embracing life.”
How does a beloved pet in your life remind you to live in the moment? Can you make time today for your own special game of fetch?