He went potty outside. I’ll be gone for six hours, so it’s good he went potty outside. J.C. (Jack Charlie) was a good boy, so I gave him some treats: Beggin’ Bits. J.C. wagged his tail. I’m going to surgery for five hours for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, so the pain’ll go away. I’d been going to work with stomach pain for four months. So, I went to my family doctor who prescribed laxatives and it helped for a while, but she said if I wasn’t better in three days, to go to the E.R. I felt better after the first day, so I walked my dog and went back to work. Then, on the third day, when at work, I got strong abdominal pain and went to the E.R. They took an X-ray and discovered it was my gallbladder and said I needed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. I have to survive this (the death rate for the surgery is low anyway). They also had me fill out a living will, so J.C. will be fine no matter what happens. My friend, Jessica, will take care of him. It'll be okay.
Then, though, since I’d walked J.C. and given him a treat, so I decided to pet him, rub his tummy, and give him a kiss on his head. He licked my hand (since there was still Beggin’ Bits on it) and a small piece of Beggin’ Bits fell on my stomach. So, J.C. licked it and then it happened; the pain in my abdomen subsided, a little. Then, for kicks, I put peanut butter and J.C. licked it. I then kissed J.C., got in my car (I was worried the seatbelt would hurt my stomach, but it didn’t), and drove off to the hospital. They asked the usual questions hospitals ask starting with: “How are you feeling today?” and after J.C.’s lick, I was feeling a lot better, so I wrote, “Good”. I completed the rest of the survey and the anesthesiologist explained to me what he would be doing. The anesthesiologist then put a mask on me and I nodded off.
I woke up lightheaded and the doctor asked if I wanted something to drink. I told him I’d like a cup of coffee. He said he usually doesn't give clients coffee, but decided to fetch a cup of coffee anyway, sat down next to me, and then told me before removing my gallbladder, he examined it (with gloves on) and it appeared to be normal. He then ordered a biopsy on it, and everything appeared to be normal, so he put everything back and sewed me up. Then, the doctor asked what I’d done. I remembered J.C. licking the Beggin’ Bits and peanut butter off my stomach.
I thought about it and asked the hospital to not release any information to the presses. They told me they would respect my wishes and they would have to anyway because of HIPPA. I can just imagine a line outside my house five miles long waiting for J.C. to lick the part of people’s bodies that ailed and then there’d be the press. Video cameras would be outside my house asking what kind of dog food I’d fed J.C., where did he go potty, could he cure cancer, and all kind of other questions. So, I decided to have a meaningless talk with J.C.
“J.C. This is our secret. You were a very good boy for curing Daddy and Daddy feels much better, but don’t lick anyone else or Daddy will never get any peace and quiet. Good boy,” I said and gave him a treat.
J.C. gave me those puzzled eyes dogs give. He then went to the side of the couch where his blanket is, dug into the blanket a bit, curled into a ball, and started snoring. Sleeping dogs tell no tales.
For a while, nothing happened. I went back to my job as a CPA, met with clients, and if anyone asked how the surgery went, I told them it went ok. I didn’t tell them I still had my gallbladder. Then, it happened; some of my coworkers invited me out for lunch.
Everyone else ordered and I waited for my turn. I decided on the Country Fried Sirloin with a side of salad with honey mustard, and loaded French Fries. Then, one of my coworkers asked, “I thought you got your gallbladder removed. How come you ordering that? Then, I told them my doctor said it was okay to have fried foods. My coworker persisted:
I remember when I got my gallbladder removed, they said I could never have fried food again, so what happened?”
The dog was out of the bad. I told my coworkers if I told them, they couldn’t tell anyone or I have to quit my job, write a book, go on TV, etc. The whole reason I got a CPA was so there’d less drama in my life. But, I did tell them. They all agreed they wouldn’t tell anyone (they probably thought I was crazy anyway), but one of my coworkers had a child in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and wanted to know if my dog could visit. I told Jeff I couldn’t (even if I wanted to) because Jeff’s baby’s in the hospital and dogs aren’t allowed in the hospital. Jeff frowned, scratched his head, and said, “Pets aren’t allowed in the hospital, but therapy dogs are”.
I had never heard of The Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD), but Jeff not only agreed to pay for J.C.’s annual membership, but agreed to pay for J.C.’s annual membership, but agreed to pay me $100.00 off the record, for J.C.’s service. I also told Jeff it could just be my gallbladder and be a fluke, but Jeff didn’t care and said it was worth a shot. So, since J.C. was six years old, he was eligible to be tested for becoming a therapy dog.
After work, I looked up the other requirements. He’d have to be on a leash at all times, unless doing tricks like beg, sit, etc., he’d have to not be within six feet of other animals, and a few other basic precautions. So, I sent off an application for J.C. and that was the beginning of the nightmare.