Midnight was the consummate therapy dog–a big black GSD with an even bigger heart who was as comforting to 103-year-old patients as she was to children with disabilities.
One day at the dog park we met Shirley Parsley and Sally (a golden doodle). They had just become a therapy dog team. Shirley told Fred that I would make a great therapy dog as I was so friendly and well mannered. When we went home, Fred contacted a representative of Alliance of Therapy Dogs and we were scheduled to be tested, and we passed all of the tests. There was some concern about me being a service dog but Fred explained that my duties were exclusive to our home. There was no problem. They were also concerned about Fred’s hearing difficulty and he told them he would ask for an escort to let him know that it was alright for us to enter a client’s room and to help with any questions the clients had. We were then registered.
We went on to provide weekly pet therapy to three assisted living facilities in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Two months after we started doing visits, we visited the Veterans Administration hospital in Asheville and volunteered at their mental health center, weekly as well. Fred wanted to do this because he is a Marine Corp veteran and enjoys helping his brothers.
Fred and Midnight routinely visited with disabled children at their weekly baseball games. In addition, they visited children’s hospitals, the Boys and Girls Club, and helped present the difference between service and therapy dogs, to grade school children.
Sadly, the past year was a difficult one for Midnight as her hind legs became more and more disabled. Fred purchased ramps to make it easier for her to get in and out of the car and the house. She made fewer and fewer visits over the past few months and she made an abbreviated visit just three days before her legs couldn’t carry her any longer, and Fred made the difficult but needed decision to have his constant companion euthanized. She will be sorely missed not only by Fred, but by the many people who she brought joy to for so many years.
RIP sweet therapy angel Midnight
Midnight and her handler Fred were certified with Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Midnight worked for 5 years in Hendersonville and Asheville, North Carolina before crossing the Rainbow Bridge on September 22, 2019.