So many reasons why dogs are natural therapists in this sweet story. In this case, shelter dogs are also brought to visit residents at a nursing home.
Dogs are good therapy for everyone
At some places, the most popular visitors have four legs. When Beau walks into a room, all eyes turn toward the chow-mix and hands reach out to pet his soft coat. Beau is one of several dogs being used by a newly formed group to bring a bit of joy to nursing homes, group homes, the Key Club and other places.
Pam Hamblin of Danville, Beau’s owner, and Sally Grubb of Hoopeston are the driving force behind the pet-therapy group. The group doesn’t have a final name yet, but the leading contenders are Paws to Remember and Caring Companions.
Just a handful of people are involved in taking dogs to nursing homes right now, but Hamblin and Grubb hope to get more people interested.
If you don’t have a dog of your own, you can “borrow” one from the Vermilion County Animal Shelter. That’s what Grubb does — one of her dogs, a husky, is too young and another dog, a Lab, is too old. So, she takes a shelter dog for visits.
The volunteers try to go twice a month, and the visits last 30-35 minutes. They’re asking volunteers to donate a couple of hours a month.
The people and pets visit residents at nursing homes and assisted living communities, and go to the Key Club (adult day care). They’re trying to arrange for visits at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System, as well.
Grubb goes to Logan Health Care once a month with Schlarman Academy students from the Walnut Street campus. They spend about 45 minutes going room to room. During a recent visit to the Key Club, Beau was a hit.
“He’s a wonderful dog,” 97-year-old Thelma Richards said. She has had dogs and cats of her own, and would like to see more pets visit the center.
Loyd Perry, a retired teacher, stroked Beau’s hair, saying, “He’s a good one.” He also has had dogs in the past. The sight of Beau prompted Richard E. Hale to talk about his 4-pound Pomeranian, Zoe, who’s 6 or 7 years old. The spoiled dog likes to sleep under the covers, he said.
Robert Watson of Danville said he used to have dogs before he had a stroke. He especially enjoys seeing the dogs at the center, adding, “I like it. It makes you feel better.”