As the Development Director of Utah Pet Partners, this is the part of our #GivingTuesday fundraising page where I'm supposed to encourage you to make a generous donation.
I'd start by talking about the remarkably high number of men, women and children we serve annually (27,000). I would tell you about the circumstances and challenges of our amazing clients, including veterans with PTSD, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students with literacy challenges, people with intellectual disabilities, those approaching end of life, to name just a few.
Of course, this would be the point where I'd start talking about the therapy animals we've worked alongside over the years, a cavalcade of dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, rats, miniature pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys and mini-horses.
And here is where I'd mention 100+ volunteers, our wonderful Board of Directors, and the the wonderful staff I am so very lucky to support.
But I’m not going to go there.
What I've decided to do instead is invite you to read a short story written by one of our animal handlers, Vicki, with the help of her partner, Bert. For when it comes to the work of Utah Pet Partners, I believe that stories like the following really get to the heart of the matter.
After visiting with a few patients on the 3rd floor of the hospital, Bert and I saw several children sitting alone in the ICU waiting room. After we entered, Bert laid down and sat patiently as the children cuddled and talked with him. After leaving the waiting room we passed by a group of people whom who were obviously distraught by some news they had just received. Wishing not to disturb them we quickly made our way down the hall to continue our visits.
Then, just outside the ICU door, there were two women sitting on the floor – one was consoling the other – who was clearly the more upset of the two. Catching the eye of the seemingly stronger of the two, I carefully mouthed, “Do you think she would like to visit with Bert?” The women nodded, and Bert and I walked over
Bert lay down next to the woman and put his head on her lap. Then, for the next ten minutes, I stood to the side while Bert lay at her side as she sobbed into his coat.
After a bit the other woman asked if we would mind taking Bert to the front of the hospital where all the children and relatives of the patient who had just passed away were and sit with them while they absorbed the news.
Once there, Bert visited with family members and friends while they hugged and held him and told stories of a woman they all called Mom.
We were about to leave when the distraught woman from earlier (who was the daughter of the patient who died) came out to join her family. When she saw Bert, she came right over and knelt beside him. Bert was in a sitting position and she and he just held hands and paws for another 10 minutes. After that, the family started leaving and it was time for our visit to end.
“Bert melted my heart that day. He was so compassionate to this woman; it was truly a beautiful thing to watch as he gave her the comfort she needed, never once showing boredom or impatience even though he must have been tired. I am so proud of Bert.”
So, does now seem the right time to ask you for a donation? Well then, Utah Pet Partners needs your support. The demand for our services is so great that 1 out of 4 organizations requesting to participate is put on a waiting list. Please help us meet the needs of the community by donating today! To learn more about Utah Pet Partners visit us at www.utahpetpartners.org