'Your Story' The hospital visit Therapy dog has special connection to 'cast buddy'

Nov. 17—In the introduction to "Your Story" ...

Hi! Remember me?

It's Buddy.

Last year, the most amazing thing happened to me.

I lived almost all of my life in a department store, and every Christmas, I would be brought out of storage and put in a window as part of a display.

But that all changed when I wasn't needed anymore. I was put back into the dark storage room.

Looking out a window, I saw a twinkling light in the sky, and I wished I didn't have to be locked away in that room.

Then, I wagged my tail.

From there, a whole new adventure began.

That's how I found my forever home with David and his mother, Christy.

Every day with David has been so much fun.

Recently, I heard Christy on the phone telling someone that with the holiday season approaching, she thought I might be able to spread Christmas cheer to those in need.

"I've seen what he's done for David and me, so maybe he could do the same for others," she said.

When Christy got off of the phone, she turned to me and with a smile said, "Buddy, how would you like to ..."

Chapter 1

"... become a therapy dog?"

Christy told David that she had just been talking with someone from the local hospital.

It seems that they had heard about Buddy over the past year and the positive effect he had on his new family.

The hospital's pediatric section always seems to be full these days, and the holidays are an especially rough time for the kids to be away from home.

The hospital administrator explained to Christy that recent studies were being done on the positive physical and mental health effects and quicker recovery times for kids when a therapy animal pays a visit.

Christy began to do some research about the requirements of therapy dogs.

I met many new and wonderful people at my training sessions.

I passed my schooling with flying colors, of course.

I received my certificate and got a special jacket with a name on it, which I wore with pride.

The next day, I had an unfortunate accident.

While I was out playing in the yard with David, I slipped while I was running and injured my leg.

At the veterinarian, the doctor examined my leg and brought me back into the room where Christy and David were waiting.

The good news was that it was just a sprain.

The doctor wrapped a bandage around my leg and told my family that I would just need to take it easy for a few weeks.

Christy checked with the vet and I was cleared to keep my scheduled visit.

The day arrived, and I hobbled into the hospital with my bandaged leg.

The kids loved me, and it was amazing to see the smiles on their faces and have them gush over me.

A little girl who had her leg in a cast pointed at my bandaged leg, grinned, and said ...

Chapter 2

"Hey, we are cast buddies," the little girl said, as she pointed to her leg to show that her cast and my bandage matched, although they really didn't.

She reached down to scratch my head and I realized that her arm also was in a cast.

I really enjoy head scratches, especially from this little girl, who apparently had a string of bad luck worse than mine.

"You are so cute," she squealed, and I really wished that I could hop up into her lap for more attention, but then the nurse told her, "Jenny, say goodbye to Buddy. He will come back some other time to visit. You need to get your rest."

Jenny looked disappointed, but I gave her a little bark to let her know that I would come back again, if I was allowed, and she grinned from ear to ear.

I do not bark much, but sometimes I get so happy that I have to let it out a little bit.

As I sat by the door waiting for my next patient, I overheard the doctor talking to Christy.

They were whispering about Jenny, and I heard the nice lady doctor tell Christy that she had a long road to recovery. She was in a bad car accident, and she got the worst of it.

In fact, Jenny may have to go into surgery again for her leg, and they hoped that they could fix her and get her back to doing kid things again.

I became sad, knowing that poor Jenny may have to go through more surgery stuff, and I really wished that I could do more.

But I am a dog. What can I possibly do to help?

I mean, all of the kids became happy when I came into the room, so that was good. And the adults kept saying that they were so overjoyed that I brought so many smiles to the kids, so that seemed good, too.

But I wanted to help Jenny more and I did not know how to.

I was taken into another room that had two boys in there about David's age.

As usual, they smiled when I came in, and they were excited to give me treats and more pats on the head.

They saw David and began talking to him about me, telling him that they both had dogs at home that they missed badly, and they continued to give me lots of love and attention.

I was having a lot of fun as a therapy dog, with my cool coat and patch, and bringing all of the kids lots of smiles as they lay in their hospital beds, waiting for healing and for the chance to go home.

But as I went from room to room, I could not help but think about Jenny and what she had to look forward to.

I really wanted to help, and I was so lost in thought that I almost walked into one of those chairs on wheels.

Would she make it home for Christmas to be with her family?

It has been almost a year since I became me, and ...

Wait, the star. I wished on that star and I became real.

The magic twinkling star was it. The star that helped me could help Jenny, too.

I began to bark loudly, and pulled David to the door like I had to go out to do my business. I needed to see that star.

"OK, boy, we can go outside," David said.

Christy and David apologized for the interruption, and they headed for a door to the outside.

As we broke through the door, I immediately looked up for the star. I needed to see that star and make a wish for Jenny.

But the star was not there.

In fact, there were no stars, only clouds. Dark, puffy clouds and it was cold.

I was sad.

I was not going to be able to help Jenny at all, but then ...