MS Center November pet (angel) of the month

November 30, 2015
Meet Truitt, a tenderhearted pet therapy dog who has a soft spot for hospital patients and doubles as an angel.

Truitt on hike

Owners: Laurie and Russell Wilson (We just got married and my married name is now Mrs. Russell Wilson, but not the quarterback!)
Age: 7; born Jan. 6, 2008
Breed: Sheltie, bi-blue color
How did you meet your pet? At Ivan Lee Shelties in Lebanon, Oregon, when he was 5 weeks old. His registered name is Ivan Lee Too Good To Be True.
Favorite toy: Frisbee
Favorite snack: Sardines
Favorite activity: Agility. We compete in the sport.
Favorite napping place: The couch
Unique fact: Truitt is a split-face sheltie. One side of his face is solid black and the other side is speckled. Truitt is named after my great-grandfather William Truitt Carlisle.
Best trick: Turn left and right on command
Describe your pet in one word: Tenderhearted
How has your pet taught you to live life? Live in the present moment and love others unconditionally
Advice for first-time pet owners? Be patient with your pet and have fun. You will be your pet’s best friend.
Other interesting facts: When Truitt was a puppy, is nose was bright pink. I would take him places to socialize him and people thought he was a baby possum or baby skunk.

Truitt was the first therapy dog at Swedish Issaquah. We visit every Tuesday in Oncology and sometimes Pediatrics.

“You are an angel; you and your dog are angels”

Story told by Truitt’s owner, Laurie Wilson

It was getting toward the end of our shift and we were about to leave when a nurse approached me and asked if Truitt and I could do just one more visit. She knew it was getting late but felt an older patient would benefit from a nice visit before he went to sleep.

We agreed and entered the patient’s room. He was lying quite still in bed with his eyes half closed and a dim light above his head. He seemed to be in his late 80’s or early 90’s. “Knock knock, pet therapy,” I said as we entered the room.

The man laid completely still. We approached closer and I whispered, “Truitt is here to visit you.”

The man half opened his eyes and gave a slight smile. I proceeded to put down a towel on his bed and place my sweet Truitt next to him. I took the man’s hand and placed it on Truitt’s soft head. The man responded and proceeded to softly stroke Truitt and whisper “nice dog, good boy.”

Truitt was loving this and soon had his nose nuzzled in on the man’s chest. The man continued to pet Truitt. I stood close by just to witness the bond between the aging patient and my dog. The man then spoke quietly, “You are an angel, you and your dog are angels.” I kept quiet and continued to watch this tender interaction between man and dog.

Eventually it was time to go. I said good night and lifted Truitt to the ground. We started to proceed out of the room when Truitt stopped in his tracks. He would not budge. I gave a gentle tug on his leash but Truitt’s feet were set solid on the floor. I tried to coax him again but he refused.

Finally I was able to get him to take a couple of steps. About that time the nurse was watching from the hallway. To our amazement, Truitt turned his head toward the bed where the man lay. He took one more step toward the door, stopped and turned his gaze once again toward the man.

After a brief moment, Truitt walked slowly out of the room with me. The nurses were bewildered as to what had just occurred. Truitt did not want to leave the man’s side. Although we will never know what was actually communicated between dog and man in that moment, I felt as though Truitt was telling him, ‘You are going to be just fine—sleep well, angels are surrounding you.”