Bernie Block: It's a Doggie-Good World

It was found that the therapeutic value of dogs has been way more than expected. Some people are very distressed after an illness or injury, so a dog is a nice way to give a daunting task a little twist.

At a nearby hospital, there were six dogs on the staff, and each one had a special talent. One dog served kids and played a rambunctious game of fetch. Another worked with rehab patients and retrieved shoes from the closet and practiced balance with robe tugs.

There’s one who worked with cardiac rehab patients. She accompanies them on treadmill walks. Another is used in obstetrics, surgical, orthopedic rehab patients and likes to participate in group behavior therapy. He also not only works with post-surgical care patients in the hospital, but at an associated nursing home for rehab patients.

The last dog of this six-team group specializes in sports medicine, as well as speech therapy and pediatric patients, as well as those who live in an assisted living facility.

Each breed has a different personality. Some were a kid at heart, some energetic and playful, others are calm and patient and sweetly coach patients through therapy.

There are about six handlers per dog and between potty breaks and naps the animals get plenty of attention. They have their own Facebook page and each has a “Bark Line” answering machine so patients and doctors can call in and request a visit ahead of time.

The dog’s schedules are usually booked solid. By the end of the day when it’s time to go home, these celebrity pets are just another member of the family, one of the handlers reported.

I can remember that during my wife’s final days of living, two large dogs visited her and jumped up on the bed one at a time to lie with her for a good half hour. It pleased her and she constantly petted them as they laid next to her, and invoked a calming session during the whole time they were with her. I also saw them later in the children’s ward doing the same thing.

One incident stood out in the group of dogs at this particular hospital as a newspaper reporter interviewed the head hospital executive in charge of the six workers. It was like a tit-for-tat incident. Here’s what happened with one of the three-year old dogs.

She got hit by a car and was brought to a next-door vet hospital. This dog had been working with a seven-year old child who had been receiving chemotherapy for cancer…and the dog made her treatment bearable. When this child found out that the dog was in rehab, she insisted, no, but demanded to be taken to her. When she got with the dog everything was in reverse…she petted the dog constantly, kissed her, stroked her for hours on end. Every day she went to the vet hospital and gave her the same type of treatment she had received from one of the other pets.
She got better faster than ever, as did the dog, too.

(Note: This short story was based on an actual printed interview in one of my local newspapers years ago.)

News of Interest for Brookdale’s seniors:

Here’s one of the funniest surveys I’ve seen during the years I have been editing my internet site, A toilet manufacturer decided to see what his customers were doing about “poop!” He found:

  •  96% look at it before flushing the toilet
  • 50% spend one to three minutes pooping per sitting
  • 58% have an open dialog about pooping with their friends
  • 23% have an open door policy of talking about it
  • 20% poop at work
  • 53% use public bathrooms
  • 67% use mobile devices while on the toilet
  • 67% text when using the restroom
  • 28% poop multiple times a day
  • 10% are pooping three times or less a week…

Information supplied by if you want to be the first in your neck of the woods with the scoop on poop!!!


Best of the One-Liner Senior Jokes off the Internet

I’m the life of the party…even when it lasts until 8 pm.


Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.


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