My name is Stuart Shonk. I am a registered canine therapy provider. That means I am a dog that gets to visit people in hospitals, schools and nursing homes. I accomplish this with the assistance of my therapy partner and human dad, Fred Shonk.
To be a registered therapy animal requires a yearly physical around March or April at the Southside Animal Hospital and dad filling out some papers.
We have done therapy work for about 15 years now. I really enjoy going on therapy visits and meeting new humans. However, what I really like is when we revisit some friends that we have known for many years.
I’ve learned that most humans and animals have a primary care doctor. Mine has always been Dr. Mike Jones at the Southside Animal Hospital. Dad told me stories about Dr. Jones and a dog that at one time lived with mom and dad. I never got to meet Sam but I did inherit several wonderful toys and I’m sure that it was Sam’s smell that I detected on many of them.
I have so many mixed emotions about a visit to my doctor’s office. The first one is, “Oh no, what are we doing here?” Then when I jump out of the car, I start picking up smells from other friends that have walked in the yard. I love that.
Dr. Jones always takes great care of me. That office staff is always fun to see and all of them start talking to me. Things generally go pretty good during my visits.
During my first or second visit, I noticed that that entire building has some very nice doors. I like doors and on occasion I find one that I can open all by myself. I really enjoy looking at doors. Over the years, I had listened to dad talking to all the folks at the animal hospital about my interest in doors. They seem to think that I am looking for the exit door all the time. Not true, I just like doors.
I remember being in the building when we learned that Dr. Jones was going to retire. At first, I thought they were saying that he was going to buy a new tire. I listened closer and finally figured it out. After I thought about that for a while, I was very happy for him.
A few days later, dad was reading some papers and telling mom a couple of stories about Dr. Jones. I laid on my couch and listened closely.
He told her a story about Dr. Jones building a big, wooden box around his hot water heater at his house. Dr. Jones thought the room would look much nicer if that ugly old hot water heater was well hidden. It seems that worked very nicely until a new hot water heater was needed. All of that hot water heater hidden stuff had to be removed before the new one could be installed. I didn’t know much about hot water heaters until I heard this story. I later checked ours. It’s out in the open in the garage.
He also told her a story about Dr. Jones painting a closet at the office. It must have needed to be painted badly because one day when Dr. Jones had a little extra time, he leaped into action. Dr. Jones was between patients and was wearing his official doctor’s uniform. He emptied that closet and took several spray cans filled with white paint into the closet and closed that door.
When he emerged, he looked quite like Frosty the Snowman. He was covered in white paint. I’m sure that is a day most of the folks at Southside Animal Hospital will never forget. Maybe Dr. Jones was banned from bringing spray paint into the building after that episode.
As I was laying on my couch and listening to these stories, it occurred to me that I pay attention to doors all the time. Both of the Dr. Jones stories had something to do with a door or the lack of one. No door for the hot water heater and closing the door to paint.
Dr. Jones and I have “doors” in common. I like that.
We have seen many people wishing Dr. Jones a happy retirement. Everyone at our house feels exactly the same. We have invited him to maybe make a therapy visit with us one of these days.
Happy Retirement Dr. Jones...watch out for the doors.