Teri and Monk – a very special visit

Teri Kraslavsky and her beautiful Shepherd Monk have been doing pet therapy work for 8+years.  The following special visit was at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo in 2010.

Monk was working at the hospital with a man with an inoperable brain tumor.  The man was lying on a table in the gym and a therapist was helping him with stretching and strengthening exercises as he lay on his back.

Monk got up on the table and lay down, pressing his body against the man.  The man responded to the soft, warm, sturdy presence of Monk gently pressing against his body.  You could see the tension leave the man’s body, his face relaxed into a beatific smile.  Both of their breathing slowed.  Gradually stretching, the man’s range of motion increased, and increased, and then increased some more.  As he began to do his strengthening exercises, he inadvertently dug his elbow into Monk’s face.  Monk didn’t move, in fact, when I checked on him, I realized Monk was asleep.  More than their bodies were touching………Monk wrapped him in wordless, tender, accepting protectiveness.

All of us teared-up, myself, the man’s wife, the therapist….  Later, as I was driving home, it occurred to me that when we are at home, and Monk even THINKS I am going to step on his long fur, he cries-out and gets up and leaves the room, yet he was willing to let the man smoosh his face with his elbow.  Monk understands his therapy work is sacred.

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