Love at FURst hug!
There’s a dog on the loose at children’s hospitals. He roams the hallways, peeks behind closed doors, and patiently waits outside treatment rooms. He is the cuddliest, most loving dog that has ever “lived,” and he is known for his uncanny ability to sniff out lonely and hurting hearts a mile away. His name is Owie BowWowie and he has one purpose in life: to comfort the “hurts and hearts” of kids facing a life-threatening illness without family or friends to comfort them.
Owie BowWowie and Friends was created more than 35 years ago by Gina Meyer. She created this comfort toy based on her own experiences as a child who faced numerous illnesses and hospitalization on her own, and then on one life-changing experience as a young woman.
In her early 30s, Gina was hospitalized for treatment for a serious illness, and due to the lack of beds in the adult ward, she was placed in the pediatric ward. Her little roommate was recovering from surgery due to a brain tumor, and Gina observed that no one came to visit her. She pulled the nurse aside and asked, “What’s the story? No one has come to visit her at all during these last few days.” The nurse then informed her that the little girl had no one.
The next day the nurse brought the little girl a stuffed dog, and as soon as the nurse left the room, she saw the dog go flying across the room. Being a mom herself, she got out of bed, retrieved the dog, and brought it back to her young roommate. “What’s wrong, honey?” she asked. The little girl said adamantly, “That’s not my toy … it’s BROKEN.” Gina noticed that the stuffed animal did in fact have a tear in its ear.
Thinking quickly, she took medical gauze and tape from the little girl’s bedside table and wrapped the stuffed animal’s head up to match the child’s. “It’s not broken, honey. He just has an owie like you. He’s your Owie BowWowie,” she said. Thus, Owie BowWowie was born.
Over 20 million children per year are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness across the United States. Forty-two percent of these children have no friends or family to comfort them during their life-saving treatments. The demand for Owie’s special talents is on the increase as the number of hospitalized children who are “wards of the court,” lost in the foster care system, have lost parents, or simply have one parent trying desperately to keep her/his other children housed and fed grows. The reasons are many and varied. Each, however, leads to the same circumstance: a child left alone to face his or her critical illness.
Received His ❤
Why it's important to introduce FURiends...
In 2012, my friend, Richard Norris, introduced me to an amazing woman named Kelly M. Barker.
Owie and I needed help so I put out a request on Facebook and in the midst of what I needed my help arrived within a woman named Kelly Barker.
Shortly after Kelly and I met we became instant best friends and I sent her an Owie (at the time Kelly lived in Michigan and I lived in So. California.) One afternoon (a Friday to be exact) her brother Russ Barker walked into Kelly’s office, took one look at Owie and said, "If Owie is all heart, why doesn't he have one?"
Kelly immediately called and asked me the same question. She then said, "Would you mind adding a heart to Owie?"
"Of course! He needs one!" I replied.
Three days later her brother, Russ Barker, went snowmobiling and died in an accident. That day was the day that Owie BowWowie received his heart and today Russ's heart lives on within Owie.
It's amazing to me how many friends it's taken to create comfort, but then again... that's what comfort is all about.
To see Owie BowWowie being delivered to the hospital, please take a moment to watch our video...