Willie Visits Nursing Home Residents

Pets can be amazingly therapeutic for humans with both acute and chronic illnesses. Their ability to lift the spirits of human patients is well-established.

Willie was an instant hit at Woodland Village Nursing Center!

Also well-established are numerous organizations for training, certifying, scheduling and talking about pet-facilitated therapy.

My first occasion to be on the receiving end of pets helping patients was when my wife, Brenda, was hospitalized after an injury a few years ago.

Through a visit from Redmen, a precious little male Pomeranian owned by Joan Webb, Brenda’s spirits were lifted. She had been missing our little Pearl so terribly, so seeing Redmen satisfied her craving for canine interaction.

At least for a little while.

Redmen was followed by Buddy, then Peaches.

Redmen and his cohort inspired me to cook up a scheme. After Brenda was allowed to be out of the hospital for short periods I loaded Pearl into my truck and, in the safety of the cool parking garage, went inside, put Brenda into her wheelchair, and completed my covert operation by leading Pearl to where Brenda was, right outside the hospital doors.

To say that it was a tearful reunion would be an understatement.

Our Sunday School class at Woodland Village Nursing Center has been studying the books of 1st and 2nd Peter this quarter. Each lesson covers only a few verses, so discussions can get pretty detailed. For some of the residents these discussions can be too detailed, leading to short sessions.

A light bulb went off in my head late last week. I thought, “Why not take our little Willie to Woodland Village to cheer up the residents?”

What a great idea that turned out to be!

As you can see from the accompanying photos, the residents were delighted to see Willie and spend some time visiting with him.

Our local organization is Visiting Pet Partners. You can perform Internet searches for similar terms to find an organization in your area.

You can also visit the Delta Society (now Pet Partners) Web site (click here) to find more information about training and certification for yourself and your pets.

Willie enjoyed visiting with Shirley and she enjoyed seeing him, too.

See you next week, Dr. Randolph.

Even people who aren't usually talkative wanted some time with Willie.

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