I get a big smile thinking how seeing Cash might have made their day

Teresa Miller, Volunteer

I was first introduced to pet therapy when I was 16 years old. I would call up some of the assisted living homes and ask if I could come and visit patients with my golden retriever.

When I got Cash when he was just a puppy, I knew I wanted to do some kind of therapy with him as well. So I enrolled him in a bunch of training. He first got all his puppy obedience. Then he received his Canine Good Citizen certificate when he was six months old. He was such a well behaved puppy.

I knew Cash would make a great therapy dog because he was just amazingly sweet and a people lover. Plus, everyone would love him because he’s so fluffy. I really wanted to work with kids, so I got Cash certified through Therapy Dogs International. They gave me a list of places accepting pet therapy dogs, and when I saw that Bronson was on the list, I knew I had to check them out. When I heard I was going to volunteer in the Bronson Children’s Hospital, I was so excited I almost cried.

Cash loves volunteering. As soon as I get the purple volunteer bandanna out, he knows where he’s going and starts jumping around. Then, he runs and jumps in the car. If I have to do something first, he’ll sit in the car and wait. He refuses to get out of the car. When we pull in the Bronson parking lot, he starts whining because he knows where he is.

We have our routine, we start on the ground level by the Garden Atrium to let anyone who would like to see Cash, stop and pet him. We want him to be available to anyone who would like to see him. However volunteer services warned us that it may take a little extra time to get from one place to another because we’d get stopped a lot and should plan ahead. They weren’t wrong.

Cash loves seeing all the kids and I love seeing the smiles on their faces. When he walks into a room, some of the kids let out a big gasp. It’s just amazing.

Cash is very affectionate. His full name is “CH SableJ For All the Money in the World WBK BN CD RA CGC HCT-s NDD”. And I say I wouldn’t give him up for all the money in the world. He thinks he’s a lap dog… a 105lb lap dog. He is also a dad who’s had 23 babies. Additionally, Cash is a champion show dog with seven titles. He competes in obedience, rally, herding and drafting (where he pulls a cart).

My husband told me when I started volunteering in the children’s hospital that I may be seeing some tough thing and warned me that I was going to come home and cry. I told him, “I probably will cry, but it will be worth it.” And I do. Sometimes when I’m driving home, I get tears in my eyes thinking of all the kids, but then, I get a big smile thinking how seeing Cash might have made their day. As much as it breaks my heart, it’s worth every minute of it.

I love Bronson. The Bronson Positivity motto is true. Every time I walk through here, everyone says hi to me. Sometimes when I come in, even without my badge and I look around like I’m unsure, I’ve had people ask, “Can I help you” or “Do you know where you’re going?” Everybody is just super, super nice. I actually live closer to other places where I could volunteer. But when I started doing some research and reading about Bronson, seeing what they stood for and attending the orientation, I knew this was the place. I’m glad I found this place.