Mental Health News Radio

Spreadin’ Some Love

Last Friday we, unfortunately, missed the hospital visit at MedWest.  Work and family crowded one visit out but we did make it to our morning group therapy session.   It was one of those days where I was so busy that I was on autopilot.  I don’t think I actually touched Myles until we sat down in the community room to play with the patients.

You know those days?  Feed the kids, someone is sick, work is slammin’, phone is buzzing – no time to stop and notice anything.  No time to be mindful of anything.

Walking into a behavioral health center with Myles is like slowing down time. The minute security lets us in everything moves at a crystal clear, catch my breath pace.  My phone stays in the car.

Myles is so patient.  He stares at me the entire time he is “on duty” waiting for my command of  “okay, go visit” which means he is allowed to trot over to everyone in the room.  He makes his way to every, single person.  It is a trip to watch him do his thing.

With one person he barks like a puppy, gives his paw for a shake, and drops a ball in their lap.  As soon as he finishes with that person he moves on to the next.  With someone else he lays his head in their lap and lets them pet him while they cry.  He senses their energy and behaves accordingly.

For anyone suffering from depression a few moments of relief from a tormented mind is welcome.  Therapy dogs seem to be able to shake people out of those dark spaces and places.  Myles and I show up, feel the weight of emotions in a room, and know that when we leave the energy in that room is lighter.

Some visits are tough.  Tough on him and tough on me.  They are a necessary reminder in my busy, busy life about what is really important.  They are a necessary reminder about being for real, feeling  emotions, and connecting with people. This Friday was an easy one.  Even the incredible therapists came to get their Myles fix and wish me well for the week.

The Handler

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Needing Affection

I have a personal matter to write about regarding therapy dogs and who they could seriously help. I believe their time and unconditional love would more than benefit the elderly who are sitting alone without anyone any longer. You know, those who rarely see their loved ones and wait for their next visitor, though never on their own terms because they are already in a home or a rehabilitation center. They live day in and day out with different nursing staffs and people who are paid to care about them and take care of them. I’m sure if they had the ability to have a pet of their own, they would.
 This made me think of therapy dogs and just how much of a need there must be for them during this phase of life. What a scary thing. The constant depression and anxiety and the growing loneliness, seems like a perfect fit to me. Sorry to get personal, just makes you think.
Written By: Nicole Blazer  
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More Connections

The connection between animals and humans is something to talk about. Whether it’s dogs or horses, therapy given to children and adults alike, with disabilities of all kinds is more than beneficial. It’s truly a remarkable thing to pair humans with these amazing creatures and allow them to reap the rewards. When a disability is holding the patient back, working with the animal for a mear 30 minutes a week can make a tremendous difference. For instance, conditions such as anxiety, ADD, autism, depression, and numerous other mental health disorders as well, are all being helped with both therapy dogs and equine assisted therapy. They seem to work on the same disabilities quite often and help the same people out but in different ways.

Some say that horses are the masters of communication without words, so if it were me, I’d request only horses, besides therapy dogs. These creatures are wonderful with our species. Makes you wonder if we were all meant to work together in this way. I believe that we were.  I personally know a young child who has worked with a therapy horse each week for years and this started when he was a toddler. His need for equine assisted therapy was living with a form of brain cancer and needing the rehabilitation. The horse seemed to boost his healing from his brain surgeries. I think the connection between animals and humans is amazing and more and more is being learned about it every year. In fact, I think I will interview his Mother about this therapy and write more about it.

Written By: Nicole Blazer

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Therapy Dogs and Their Jobs

Apparently, therapy dogs know their jobs all too well. When it comes to knowing who is needing them in the moment, they oblige and do so with heartfelt love. There is no waiting list that you sign up for and name calling roster where your turn is next. If the dog is there to see the people where you are, including you, believe me, you will be seen. They are amazing when it comes to sharing their time and spreading their love. Therapy dogs seek out who is in the most need when it comes to the crowd or group around them and are very aware of their surroundings.
If you are one of the more needy patients or visitors, then the therapy dog who is visiting will be aware of this and come to you with open arms so-to-speak. You will feel better after your visit with the dog and so will he. There’s something about this bond, it actually creates a calm for both of you and makes you each feel better afterwards. The dog loves his job and would do it everyday, no questions asked. These hard working doge are born, not made and love what they do. It’s a beautiful thing to see and to watch, especially for their handler. I personally have seen Myles in small doses with the kids at a fair/event and it was awesome to see his happiness with each child that walked by and paid him attention. He was, in that moment, whatever that child needed him to be. Just beautiful.

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The “Haircut”

I forgot to mention what a big deal ANYTHING that goes on with Myles is to his loyal fans.  The Friday before last, I explained to everyone at the hospital and the behavioral health center that Myles would look different this Friday.

The weather is getting hotter here in North Carolina.  Myles works hard.  Summertime is full of requests for therapy dog visits with him.   All that hair makes it hard for him to be as excited to run around.   

Every place we visited the week before last was in an uproar about the “haircut” –the patients, the staff, and the kids.  “Don’t cut it too short – he’s so handsome with all that hair!”  “Please don’t ruin him”.  The debate raged on everywhere.  Emails and texts came in with pleas begging me to be careful.  It was kind of funny actually.  He is everyone’s dog so I decided to take it as a compliment that there was such concern over what my dog was going to look like.  

Explaining it to the kids was easy, “Remember – what is Myles always wearing?”  A chorus of squeels, “A FUR COAT!”  To the adults it was much harder.  I can’t really talk to them like I do the kids and they were decidedly more outspoken (critical) about it.

On Thursday he got his summer haircut and I told her to go short.  Jo with Happy Hound Grooming is a dog haircut artiste!  Myles now looks like a short-haired dog.

We both jumped about 3 feet in the air coming off the elevator at the hospital yesterday.  Everyone was waiting for the “haircut” so when the doors opened there was a gasp and some screams.  This woke me up and out of my “I think I shall die, this week nearly killed me” stupor that happens nearly every Friday.  Yes, my underbelly is showing.  There is a reason why I have the hardest working breed (Border collie) as my dog. 

I think his hair looks great.  Yesterday everyone agreed that he looks 5 years younger and just as cute, albeit in a different way.   She kept some of his clear the coffee table in one swoop tail.  His ears are now way too big for his head.  When he does his Border collie, “I have you in my trance and you will not stop throwing that ball” stare he looks as if he could take flight.  

It’s a cute, sort of, Gremlin look, which is very appealing on Myles. 

For those of you that remember that movie…Yes, I just aged myself. 

Everyone decided that because of his intuitive nature, knowing who needs the most attention during every visit, he is more like a wise Yoda.


Please let us know what you think…..

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