Valuable tools for hospice care

Pam Becker was visiting Freedom Village Healthcare Center with her therapy dog Abby when a woman called out from one of the rooms. Becker looked in and saw the woman standing behind a man in a wheelchair. The woman said her father had been at the center two weeks and wasn’t speaking or responding to anything. Could Becker bring her dog in?

The woman leaned over the man and said, “Dad, look up. We have a surprise for you.” He opened his eyes and saw Becker holding Abby.

“His face lit up, he put out his hands and said, ‘Puppy, puppy.’ The daughter started crying, and I could barely hold back tears,” Becker recalled. “We spent quite some time with Abby in his lap and him just stroking her with a smile on his face.”

Dogs have been used with great success for many years for therapeutic purposes. This touching story, from a Lake Forest Patch article, is just one example of the impact that therapy dogs are having on hospice care patients. These special animals often have a calming effect on both patients and their families, and can provide much-needed companionship to those who may be missing loved ones.

Providing unconditional comfort and love, dogs are lighting up faces in hospice programs around the country.