Crystal is a hard working therapy cat. She had to pass a temperament test and do ten hours of visits to qualify. Her good looks, of course, come naturally.
She visits the mental health unit at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, California for Love on a Leash. The poor therapy dogs are intimidated by Crystal in her stroller, so they visit another day. Just as well, more attention for Crystal.
Crystal earns advanced degrees for every fifty hours she works. After seven years, she has enough hours for five degrees! Currently her official title is Crystal, ThC, e:sv. That stands for Therapy Cat, specializing in elderly people, social visits. The hospital posts her picture and copies of her degrees in the activity room so everyone can see them.
Crystal lives with Janice and Florence (Janice’s Mom). When Janice’s Dad was in the nursing home, Crystal was a constant visitor and comfort. Dad would get agitated as the evening went by, knowing Crystal had to leave. He could hardly wait for morning so she could sit on his bed all day.
The doctors and nurses look forward to Crystal’s arrival just like the patients do. Sometimes when Crystal’s special friends know they are dying, they ask to see her one more time. She always obliges.
The nurses got Crystal a special gift once and presented it during the annual volunteer awards ceremony. It is a couch, just her size. The three pillows across the back are made from photos the nurses took of Crystal during visits.
Crystal doesn’t limit herself to visiting—she also models. One photographer uses her pictures (16×20 size) in coffee shops in San Mateo. Crystal made time to be in the 4th of July parade where the judges were wowed by her flag costume—her picture made the front page of the newspaper.
Cats just don’t get the recognition they need and deserve—but Crystal’s working on it.
For more information on therapy pets, go to http://www.loveonaleash.org .
Contributed by Sandra Murphy, a writer and the editor of SPAWNews.