Publishing stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver - author, editor, and publisher of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan. We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also publish genres of healing and wellness, humour, children's fiction, and rural poetry. Visit our website to learn more about our books.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Therapy Dog Saves A Life

Murphy, the English Springer Spaniel, is a very special dog. He’s the first Therapy Dog to help patients in a Canadian hospital emergency room. He did that in 2015. Last week, he saved a life outside an emergency room in Regina.

Murphy is the subject of the wonderful children’s picture book Murphy Mondays: The First St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog in a Canadian Emergency Room, written by his handler/owner Jane Smith and published by my company, DriverWorks Ink.

Jane contacted me in 2018 to ask if I would help her publish a book about her and Murphy’s volunteer work as a certified therapy dog team. Murphy moved with Jane and her husband Preston to Saskatoon from Nova Scotia in 2014. Since the fall of 2015, they have been visiting the Royal University Hospital Emergency Room in Saskatoon. They have been the subjects of several research papers and studies as well as being models for other therapy dogs.

With financial support from the Royal University Hospital Foundation, we published Murphy Mondays, which has three chapters about their true story: The Child Patients; The Adult Patients; and The Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff. The book is illustrated by Wendi Nordell and also includes 16 photos of Jane and Murphy and other people and places connected to their therapy dog work. Jane has donated proceeds from the book’s sales to the RUH Foundation and St. John Ambulance.

As a therapy dog, Murphy has helped children and adult patients feel more comfortable in emergency rooms and other healthcare facilities, including vaccination clinics and some communities after disasters or traumas.

In November, I was privileged to accompany Jane and Murphy while they visited a young man they had come to know years earlier. I watched as Murphy was his usual calm self when he walked into the room beside Jane. When he saw this young man and heard his voice, Murphy’s tail began to wag rapidly. We all enjoyed watching as this young man lit up with smiles and laughter as he hugged and cuddled with his favourite dog.

Jane wrote about that visit, speaking for Murphy, on their Instagram page murphymondays: “So excited. I haven’t seen this gentleman in years since he moved to another city. I visited him weekly for many years. I love ❤️ him and he me. What a great reunion. He kept asking daily to see me. Finally, we got to hug and cuddle. Found out he travels bi-weekly to Saskatoon, so we are setting up visits at an organization he is a part of. Within minutes of leaving, I was snoring in the car. Gave him my whole heart as usual.”

A few days ago, Jane and Murphy were taking part in a St. John Ambulance crisis response training session in Regina. What happened one night while they were on a break is a remarkable story that highlights the value of these wonderful, gentle animals.

Jane Smith wrote about this event on Instagram, as though her dog Murphy is talking:

“I helped save a life tonight! So getting needed rest on Jane’s lap. In Regina, for crisis response training so I just happened to practice tonight. Went out for a pee and a man who petted me suggested I cheer a motionless person on a bench. It was -26 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. Even I was cold. The man came with Jane and I under a fence and over and through snow. The person did not respond to Jane or the man. However, I got a few grunts when I licked her face. 911 was called. I stood still as could be and didn’t mind the sirens as Jane waved down the fire truck. The firepersons and paramedics got her standing and moving and took her to the ambulance. They thanked us.”

What an incredible story about some pretty amazing people who make up one marvelous St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Team! I’m so honoured to know Jane and Murphy and to help them share their stories.

To read more about Murphy, follow him (and Jane Smith) on Instagram at murphymondays and purchase the book from DriverWorks Ink.


No comments:

Post a Comment