When Tilda and I first started visiting hospitals a couple years ago, we noticed something from the very beginning. People would look down at Tilda and SMILE. Most never raised their head to look my way or say anything to me, but would simply look at Tilda and smile while they met us in the hallway or saw us in hospital waiting rooms. After a while, doing this 4 days per week, we finally had a pattern of enjoyment between us. Everytime Tilda would see someone look at her and smile while we were walking, after they passed she would look up and give me a little smile as if to say “did you see that one, wasn’t it beautiful?” While walking so many hallways and entering into large waiting rooms of people every week, it actually became very noticeable that many, many smiles were being created by Tilda. Eventually, this wonderful response from people became a big part of my day and even if Tilda didn’t experience anything of a soul searching nature on a particular day, we still came away with a whole room full of beautiful smiles. After witnessing this day after day I can say without reservation that it was a touching feat to experience putting so many smiles on so many faces that otherwise may not have happened at all for those people on that day.
I know Tilda very well as we spend so much time together and she knows me extremely well also. I could sense both of us searching for the smiles and when they broke across the face, it was like “mission accomplished” for the both of us. We both loved it as it made a somber day for someone into a better day with a smile. We saw this so much that I actually ordered a very small hand-held counter from the internet. Then, Tilda and I set out to count every smile that broke across someone’s face when they were directly looking at Tilda. I counted smiles every visit day for 2 months (8 weeks). The total number of smiles achieved was 4, 456 smiles in the 8 week period. That is an average of 557 per week or 139 smiles per day of visiting. That is a lot of walking, smiling and clicking. Tilda and I like to think of it this way………….Because of Tilda, 557 smiles per week were achieved that probably would not have occurred if Tilda wasn’t there at that moment on that day. Now you may be asking yourself “Okay, so what?” Dogs already know the importance of a smile. They watch us humans for that recognition and place themselves in a special mood when they see the human smile. Why is it so important for us humans to smile? Read the following information I found on the internet and think about it:
Smiling Makes Us Attractive
We are drawn to people that smile. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away, but a smile draws everyone in.
Smiling Changes Our Mood
The next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There is a good chance your mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.
Smiling Is Contagious
When someone is smiling, they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.
Smiling Relieves Stress
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you’ll be better able to take action.
Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.
Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. The smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference? Now you know why it is a well known fact that therapy dogs lower blood pressure. They put a smile on your face.
Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.
Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don’t go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day. You’ll look younger and feel better.
Smiling Makes You Successful
Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.
Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard. When we smile, our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!” Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.
A care-giving facility like a hospital can be a stressful place for people to be. Even the employees and staff deal with lots of emotions simply to get through their day. Family members wait with concern, some with sadness and grief. Visitors for patients and for family members are sometimes anxious and a bit on edge because of the situations surrounding their loved ones, their neighbor or their friend. I am the most honored person to experience Tilda bringing about 557 smiles per week inside this type of environment. Of course there always were situations when the frown persisted with an individual but that frown was followed again by 40 more smiles for Tilda. The best fun of it all was seeing Tilda smile back as I knew then that she was enjoying the venture also. Watching that exchange made me smile so everyone wins!
Until Next time……………..