I Am Seattle Children's

Judith Bonifaci: I Am in Awe

Judith Bonifaci

Guild member, former guild board trustee and therapy dog volunteer, Woodinville, Wash.

Every Saturday morning, my 11-year-old therapy dog, Abe, gets a bath and a brush. In the afternoon, we visit kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’m an elementary school teacher by trade, so you’d think I’d have my fill of children by the end of the week. But every time Abe tilts his head so a child can whisper in his ear, I am humbled by his special brand of unconditional love.

Abe was born to be a therapy dog. He passed all his certifications at least a year earlier than most other dogs. He has an uncanny ability to do just the right thing for a child challenged by an accident or illness. Recently, a teen’s fluctuating heart rate went right back into regular rhythm after the young man rested his hand on Abe’s back.

While Abe works his healing magic at the bedside, I love to talk with the families. I have the privilege of hearing their stories and following their child’s progress week after week. I am in awe of their kindness, caring, resiliency and gratitude, even in the face of unimaginable burdens.

Not all patients want a visit from Abe, but those who do wait in hope that he will come. Time and again, Abe noses his way into a room only for me to find out that the family has requested a visit! Time and again, I look forward to Saturdays and being the lucky person behind Abe’s leash.

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