I volunteer for two cancer organizations, one of which is Queen For a Day a nonprofit organization who’s sole purpose is to increase the self esteem of little girls who have cancer. I am a part of the Metro Detroit Chapter and have been since shortly after the inception to this area.
The Metro Detroit Chapter of QFAD has expanded so that we get to do whatever we can to bring happiness to the lives of anyone who is touched by cancer: Boys and Girls, young and old, victims and their families.
Yesterday an activity that QFAD put on was to join with Camp quality in Fenton Michigan. Camp quality is an organized camp with volunteers (medical professionals and caring people) for children who have cancer. I brought solo to this activity; this has been his first QFAD activity. Solo today is about 9 years old. We were at a YMCA Park that usually doesn’t let dogs attend but since Solo was apart of QFAD he was allowed in the public lounge area which has been used as a get together area for the campers. The Activity was at this lounge.
The theme for this day was “Oscar Awards” where the kid’s boys and girls played various games and did different things and in the evening an awards dinner was put on. The awards I believe were given to the kids based on different things they did through out the week at camp. QFAD came on this special day to provide a “Kingly/Queen” Experience. For QFAD the volunteers did such things as paint nails, put girls hair up, spike boys hair and put on removable water based tattoos.
Since Solo has never been apart of a QFAD activity I wasn’t sure how to bring him into the activity, so I sat on the floor in an open area and rolled a tennis ball as Solo fetched it. Volunteers began noticing Solo and after a few minutes various volunteers came to Solo to pet him and they quickly noticed how loving he is. As time went on I started to roll the tennis ball farther and farther into the activity where the kids were getting fancied up. At one point Solo ran into a display table that had top hats and signs on it. Many peole in the room ooohhhed and Solo backed away very slowly.
Solo is a very sensitive dog and loud sounds and reprimands intimidate him, he will NEVER do something that caused a reprimand twice and he generally keeps away from loud noise. For the rest of the day any time Solo’s toy went anywhere near the display table Solo would find a way to go around and not touch the table.
Soon the boys began wanting to play with Solo. As Solo has become a “therapy” dog he and I have worked out a plan in which who ever throws a ball to him he brings it back to me so I stayed in the middle of the room sitting on the floor and the boys would come to me to get the ball. There were about 30 kids and about as many adults at this event. Boys will be boys and they wanted to throw the ball higher and higher and laughed and clapped in joy as Solo caught 75% of the balls. The pretty little girls and the pre-fancied up girls would come to see Solo and kiss him and hug him. At one point a boy said “this is the best dog in the world!”.
Solo loves to be with people and play, he will forgo food and water and elimination just to ensure that he doesn’t miss anything. I tried at least 4 times in the first hour to get solo to go potty and he just wanted to go back inside. I tried and left out food for him to eat the entire time but he would not eat. After about an hour of playing solo laid down breathing hard, all could see his eyes following the kids around the room. Some of the boys would try to entice Solo to go get the tennis ball by rolling it near him even to have it lightly touch him. Solo was sooooooo tired that he would watch the ball roll by and just keep lying on the floor. As if to say “now its time for the humans to pet me”. The humans figured it out soon enough and came to Solo one by one and rubbed his belly.
One of the nurses noticed as she walked by at different times that Solo would lie down and close his eyes to seemingly recharge and then get back up and play as much as he could. The drive back home was about an hour and Solo did not calm down until after about a ˝ hour and he slept hard after that. All night Solo followed my husband or I to where ever we we staying in place at our home, then Solo would collapse on the floor and sleep. Solo generally comes to work with me 3 days a week and the next day I was back at work. Solo came quickly as he usually does when whispered upstairs to the bedroom where he sleeps on the floor, telling it was time to go to work. Solo ran down the stairs ready to go to work like usual. We got to work at about 8:15 A.M. and we were heading back home around 6:00 P.M. Today Solo spent most of the day under the desk where I do my paperwork and only ventured out to the lobby or the center of the Therapy room a few times. He was clearly happy because he still wagged his tail but very tired as he slept all day. And he slept hard enough to snore!