Lunch service is over and Mr. M collects some leftovers to share with his companion, Sissy. He does this every day, after each meal, because Sissy can’t come to the dining room. Mr. M takes care of Sissy, and they enjoy their daily walks together. Through these activities, Sissy also helps Mr. M to feel happy and loved. Mr. M and Sissy — a plump black Chihuahua mix — both reside at Pine Grove Nursing Center deep in the heart of the east Texas piney woods in Center, TX.
Pine Grove has another furry friend, Precious, who visits twice a week with her owner, Kellie Baty, who is the community’s beautician. Precious — a personable Boston terrier — sits in a chair and visits with the residents who sometimes paint her nails. Precious makes special visits to the residents who don’t leave their rooms on a regular basis, or those who weren’t able to make it to the beauty shop that week.
According to Julie Harbison, Pine Grove’s administrator: “There is a grieving process with residents who have had to leave their home, whether long-term or short-term, and they don’t have their animal companions anymore. It’s so nice that we can have the pets here.”
I am working on this topic — seniors, long-term care, and pets — for a future program. I’m contacting Peace of Mind Dog Rescue for help.