Monday, January 6, 2014

Shamzi the Red-Nosed Reindeer

You know Christmas is just around the corner when you see reindeer in the halls.  People at my mom’s work reported multiple reindeer sightings around Christmas-time.  Why, Santa must be early!  His reindeer are everywhere!  Is that Dasher in the cafeteria asking for a salad to go?  Is that the police giving Prancer a ticket for being double parked?  Hee hee hee.  Don’t tell anyone, but it was actually I, Shamzi the Therapy Dog, disguised as Rudolph, Santa’s head reindeer.  I fooled everyone.   

 Why would a Chihuahua-Terrier mix be dressed as a reindeer, you ask?  After all, it’s not Halloween or Mardi Gras.  Well, the holidays can really be a lonely time for people, especially in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.  No one likes being sick, and certainly not during the holidays.  So I try to bring a little cheer.   

  My work day isn’t nearly as long as Santa’s, but it starts early.  After a hearty breakfast of chicken and cereal, I don my costume, check my antlers, and shake my little caboose.

Then we hit the road.  Mom drives because my antlers block my peripheral vision.    

Once we arrive at work, the throngs rush out to meet us. 

 I put my mom on a leash so she doesn’t get lost in the crowd.  Everyone wants to greet me and kiss me.  So many people want to hold me and pose for pictures with me.  Instagram, here I am! ...Then I make my rounds, the pitter patter of my paws tapping urgently on the linoleum floors.

  Out of the way, people, I’m on a mission!  Got love to spread, cuteness to dispense, 
like colorful sprinkles on a cupcake.  
 My poor mom can’t keep up with me, as I drag her through the halls and from room to room.  (Mom thinks she’s in charge, but we both know who really holds the leash.)  The hospital staff, who sometimes feel tired and overwhelmed by their work, scoop me up in their arms as if I were a baby, 
momentarily forgetting that I am a ferocious reindeer.
The patients, who are often so sad and silent, perk right up when they see me.  Some of them can’t speak English but they convey their delight in their own language.  They gesture with their hands.  Their eyes light up.  They cuddle me, and I cuddle right back.  You see, it doesn’t matter whether they speak the same language, or whether they even believe in Santa Claus or Christmas. Or anything. I do know that they must believe in love, because that is the basic, truest language of all. And love is what we all are about.

 By the end of the day, I am one pooped little reindeer.  I plop into the bed that my mom keeps in her office and take a well-deserved snooze, antlers and all.  Rudolph’s work may be done for now, but Shamzi the Therapy Dog will be back on the job soon because people need love 365 days a year.