Meet Zammy, one of our favorite Thnks users:
(Zammy enjoying a refreshing summer treat)
When Todd Pitner started raising Zammy, he noticed something quite miraculous: when people who are hurting are in Zammy’s presence, they don’t feel pain, just joy and wonder!
Zammy is a big friendly GIANT complete with a thick white fur coat that is impossible to resist: you just have to run your fingers throughout (and he doesn’t shed!). Half English Sheepdog and half Poodle, he possesses the kindness and gentleness of an old English Sheepdog combined with the striking intelligence of a Poodle. These traits make Zammy a natural-born caretaker who brings happiness to anyone interacting with him.
(Todd and his GIANT puppy Zammy)
Just four months after Todd brought Zammy home, his neighbor, Jamal, decided to sponsor and host a 12-year old Bahamian girl named Shawnya as she underwent multiple surgeries at the nearby Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa. Shawnya was born with a curved leg, making her the target of incessant teasing from her peers before she was flown to Tampa to receive surgical treatment for her leg.
When Todd learned of Shawnya’s story, he was deeply moved and decided to bring Zammy over for a visit with the hopes of cheering Shawnya up. Shawnya’s face erupted into a huge smile when she saw Zammy, despite being in pain from her surgery. Over the course of the next 6 months, Todd would bring Zammy over to Shawnya after her surgeries and it would consistently brighten her day. She never felt pain in those moments. When Shawnya eventually returned home, Todd could not stop thinking about the comforting effect that Zammy exudes, especially around people in pain, and he knew he had to get Zammy certified to be a therapy dog.
Todd recognized Zammy’s irresistible ability to spread joy and knew he would be able to make an enormous impact on the kids at Shriners Hospital, the same hospital that treated Shawnya. Despite being only 13 months old (the age requirement for most therapy dogs is 18 months), Zammy passed the therapy dog certification with flying colors. Now, Zammy makes weekly Monday rounds at Shriners where he has captured the hearts of kids, nurses, doctors, and parents alike.
(Spreading smiles and laughter at Shriners Hospital)
Zammy can best be described as ‘the world’s therapy dog.’ Along with weekly visits to Shriners, Zammy has amassed a worldwide fanbase, with 125k Instagram followers. What first started as a simple way for Todd to share photos of his beloved pup with his daughters, quickly went viral and turned into one of the most widely followed dog accounts on Instagram. Zammy was even voted “Floofiest Dog of Instagram” thanks to his trademark shaggy fur and adorably goofy smile.
Todd’s Instagram account is full of heartwarming photos and videos of Zammy interacting with patients, caregivers and members of the Greater Tampa community. Zammy’s Instagram comments are flooded with positive messages praising the work that Todd and Zammy do, with countless people proclaiming that Zammy’s Instagram videos are the highlight of their day. Follow his adventures @zammypup and you’ll quickly see why!
(A day in the life of Zammy and Todd)
Zammy’s love and kindness serves as an example for us all. Ever since meeting Zammy for the very first time, Todd has experienced the enormous impact of his pup’s unconditional love and kindness. No matter how busy life gets, it is vital to reflect on the people you are grateful for and practice acts of kindness every day.
(Zammy and Todd making the world a kinder place, one smile at a time! )