Meet Marianne Meyers, a pet therapy volunteer, and her certified pet therapy dog, Ezzmiralda or Ezzy, for short.
They have been visiting Mercy Health – The Jewish Hospital for the past six years where they bring comfort, smiles, and tears of joy to many patients, families, and visitors. They also provide stress relief for hospital staff members as they navigate their important, sometimes heartbreaking, work. Additionally, Marianne and Ezzy help train new pet therapy volunteers when they join the team.
During one recent visit, Marianne and Ezzy received word that a patient was dying. They immediately raced to the family and friends of the patient, spending several hours with them. The patient’s young children hugged and cried with Ezzy. The adults also visited with Ezzy, expressing their disbelief, anger and sadness. Marianne and Ezzy stood there, providing what little comfort they could.
“Afterwards, Ezzy needed to receive extra care and attention because she experienced some depression due to the nature of the situation,” Marianne shares. “I was also deeply affected by this experience.”
However, after seeing the importance of their presence during a difficult situation, Marianne put a call out to the other pet therapy volunteers. She asked if anyone, along with her and Ezzy, would be willing to be on call for these types of events in the future.
Knowing firsthand how emotional the experience had been, Marianne was worried no one would sign up. However, to Marianne’s delight, three additional volunteers accepted the role!
In addition to their new on call help, Marianne and Ezzy gracefully and compassionately return the hospital every week, twice a week, to perform their role. They are much loved by everyone they encounter and are truly healers in every sense of the word.
Learn more about the health care services offered at Mercy Health.