In honor of National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, we’ve asked one of our many devoted volunteers who do so much to enrich the lives of Friendly Home Members, to write this blog. Thank you to volunteer Gretchen Dewan for writing this post, as well as our very special visitors Jasper and Erika!
Most Thursday mornings for the past year have found me at the end of the leash with one or the other of my two TDI certified* dogs happily leading me through the double doors at The Friendly Home, while wearing their characteristic red bandanas. They both just love the opportunity to work our way through our visits with the Members we see who so enjoy our visits.
Sometimes Jasper just wants to move quickly from one person on down the hall to find the room for the next of our regular visits, and other times, he and a Member just are enjoying each other and he is getting his scratches in just the right spots, and will smile as he and the Member share some quality time.
Erika is the busier of the two, but she also loves to stop and visit with the staff or with other visitors to The Friendly Home as we go through the halls (but only briefly, since “she has a lot of people she has to visit,” it seems as if she’s saying!). She too, enjoys visits with the Members we are scheduled to visit each week. Occasionally, I have a conversation with a Member, another volunteer or an employee and each dog will lie down and wait patiently, all the while looking at me, as if to say, “Enough already, we have people to see!”
Since we began our regular visits, we’ve acquired a lot of new friends amongst the Members, volunteers and staff and the dogs still get very excited every time I park the car in the lot as they really do enjoy visiting all their friends here.
Both our dogs are rescues that joined our family with a lot of “baggage” left from their starts in life (about which we know little). We worked hard to achieve comfort and confidence in both dogs. I started volunteering to bring our pet therapy dogs to The Friendly Home as a way to give the dogs something to do with their newly earned credentials, but we’ve all benefited from the experience. The dogs have provided some Members with a reason to smile on a particular day and I’ve enjoyed seeing them become even more comfortable with meeting and greeting new people and old friends, as well as enjoying myself with the people we visit, too.
(*Therapy Dogs International – see tdi-dog.org for an explanation about this organization or the test that the dogs and I had to pass before we could become TDI certified and earn them the right to wear the yellow “I am a Therapy Dog” tag and the red TDI “paws awhile for love” bandana)
Back to Blog Posts