Bandit Clause Comes To Town – Again

By Gerry Ashley

Orange, CA - For the third straight year, Bandit has brought Christmas Cheer to children undergoing treatment at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). This year's visit took place Friday, December 21st 2007. 

“Every time I go there,” said Bandit's owner, Mark Shaffer from his San Diego home, “it's a new group of kids. Most of them have never seen Bandit in person, so it's a 'new' adventure for them. It's always  a treat for me too because I just love the looks on their faces as they meet Bandit face to face.” 

Bandit (a certified therapy dog) and Shaffer make visits to CHOC several times a year on a volunteer basis. Shaffer, a realtor for  Prudential California Realty, began his association with CHOC as the result of an invitation by actor/musician/humanitarian Mickey Jones to participate in his annual fundraiser for CHOC. “It went over so well with the kids that we just kept going back,“ adds Shaffer. 

We never ask for anything,” Shaffer points out, “but we get so much in return in the way of satisfaction just from thinking that we may be taking their minds off their health problems even if it's just for a little while.”     

It's working. After observing a visit between Bandit and her son, one woman wrote Shaffer a letter, telling him, “When Bandit came to visit my son's room on his Harley, my son forgot he was in pain and in the hospital for a while."  

In another case, a woman from Florida wrote Shaffer, mentioning that she received a call from her parents in San Diego last fall. They had seen coverage of Bandit on TV  bringing comfort to those displaced during the huge San Diego fire and instantly recognized him from a visit he made in December of 2006 to their other daughter who was terminally ill. In her letter to Shaffer, the surviving sister explained how Bandit's visit also brought comfort to her whole family as well. She added, “Mark, please know that what you are doing not only helps those such as ourselves during a time of complete devastation; your participation has life long effects.” 

Shaffer sums it up like this: “The most satisfying things we do in life are those we do from the heart.” That's especially true when you have a heart as big as Bandit's... and Shaffer's.