July 14, 2019 – Washington Co., WI -It was March 2019 when Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County enhanced its mission of “connecting seniors with caring volunteers” as it unveiled a new program that brings animals into the lives of seniors.
The program is several months into fruition and making a world of difference in the lives of who rarely leave home. Below is a story about Russell and Buddy.
Canine Caregivers is a program for home-bound seniors who are no longer able to own a dog. The program pairs senior citizens with a certified therapy dog and their handler for one-on-one visits. It’s a chance for seniors to share a mutual love of dogs in their own home.
Kristen Kollmansberger is part of the leadership team that presented the idea to Interfaith Caregivers. “In some senior living situations where the facility does not allow pets, this program will connect therapy dogs and their handlers with seniors,” said Kollmansberger. “The benefit is having that time with the dog and having a connection with a pet.”
Barbara is a resident at a senior living facility in Germantown. “This dog makes me feel wonderful and happy,” she said.
Years ago Barbara broke her hip and was in the hospital. “The person across the hall had a dog and it would jump off their bed and run over to my room, cuddle up on my bed and then get down and go back,” she said.
Barbara knelt down and shook Onyx paw. “Is this for you,” she said handing Onyx a treat.
Barbara said she looked forward to the visit the whole day. Her electronic calendar posted “Doggy Visit (Sometime around 1 p.m.) as a reminder.
Don’t forget the first Friday coffee gathering, Percolate, is August 2 from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Interfaith Caregivers, 2374A W. Washington St. West Bend, WI. Take the time to join volunteers and staff for coffee and conversation.