Sequoia the Animal Assisted Therapy Cat

Please Note: The cat in the accompanying photograph is the subject of the story, but any persons shown are probably not those in the story.

Photograph of Sequoia cat

Let me tell you about Sequoia's visits at the City of Hope hospital. She is a red fox Labrador Retriever, and she loves visiting.

Before we arrive, the Occupational Therapy Team prepares the visit room with some extra sheets. Patients arrive; they come and go, some staying for the entire visit, some for only fifteen minutes. And for the next hour and a half, Sequoia becomes a welcome distraction from patients’ illnesses and treatments. They are thrilled to have their instant-type photo taken with her to keep as a fun memory of that day. Like most Labs, Sequoia is very food motivated, so patients delight in giving her treats in exchange for some cute tricks.

It is so transformative to see the calming effect a pet has on patients undergoing chemotherapy and transplant treatments. Many patients return from previous weeks and they are so very excited see us. It motivates them to get out of bed and gives them something to look forward to on visiting day. Even the staff stop in to see Sequoia and take selfies with her.

I have loved every minute of Pet Therapy at City of Hope Hospital and plan on visiting there with my sweet Sequoia for years to come.