Even though I’m not in the health care field myself, I happened upon a thread on the allnurses.com forum about unusual and funny doctors’ orders posted in patients’ charts. This entry is heartwarming:
An elderly patient needed a note from the doc to give to her apartment superintendent to allow her to have a pet.
A prescription was written: “One cat, use as directed daily and PRN”.
I photocopied it and blacked out the patient ID info and added it to my “funny pile” which I read on the bad days at work.
The unusual appearance of this Sphynx therapy cat has helped children to deal with chemotherapy:
Nurses at the J.W. Sommer Rehabilitation Unit in Muscle Shoals, Ala., say giving patients a calm, velvety, hairless cat to pet can bring them peace and happiness. RN Sharron True and her family practitioner husband, Terry, breed the rare cats, including Jak, the first registered therapy Sphynx cat in the U.S.
Strange-looking cats? Maybe.
Pam Moore concedes that if someone is accustomed to long-haired cats, a Sphynx can be off-putting at first. But after a Sphynx curls up in the lap of one of her patients, Moore, a registered nurse at J.W. Sommer Rehabilitation Unit in Muscle Shoals, Ala., says the animal brings about a transformation in the human. “They bring so much peace and happiness to the patients,” she says.
Serene-looking humans? Absolutely.
Sphynx cats love to cuddle with people and are as soft as velvet. “They’ll just curl right up on a patient’s lap and stay there,” Moore says. “That’s not the training. That’s just the way they are.”
The cats are rare – only several thousand exist in the USA. Jak, the first registered therapy Sphynx in the country, belongs to Terry and Sharron True of Muscle Shoals. The Trues breed and show Sphynxes.
Terry True says holding Jak is like holding “a suede hot-water bottle.” When the Trues first started doing therapy with cats, they visited oncology units in a children’s hospital where patients were undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. “I wanted the children to know you can still be hairless and be beautiful,” Moore says. “The kids’ eyes would just light up when they’d see Jak.”
Would you and your pet make a good therapy team?
If you have a friendly, outgoing, and calm cat, dog, or other domestic pet, and you are interested in working together with your pet to become an animal-assisted therapy team, please visit the Delta Society website for more information.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Delta Society in any way, nor is my cat. He is too old and too afraid of new situations to be suitable for this type of work.