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Grand Lake Hospice offers Pet Therapy

SadiePet Therapy is a volunteer program that allows an animal to go into a patient's home to visit. Grand Lake Hospice now offers pet therapy to its patients. Hospice patients receive the extra attention that only a pet can provide. Studies have shown that pets are able to bring down a patient's anxiety and restlessness.

St. Marys resident Pam Prater grew up in a home with dogs and wanted to enhance the lives of the residents that she saw each and every day while working at an area nursing home. Pam and her husband Bob agreed to take on the responsibility of a dog and Sadie was welcomed to the family. Initially it was not her intent to certify Sadie as a therapy dog. She enrolled Sadie in classes for obedience training and heard stories of how therapy dogs impacted people and improved their quality of life. Pam also noticed that Sadie had a unique sense of human nature as she was especially attentive to those residents who were seriously ill. Pam then decided to pursue Therapy Dog Certification. It took several months and a somewhat difficult test procedure but Sadie passed with flying colors and Sadie began her career at Valley-Golden Living Center.

Several months later, Pam talked to Linda Haines, Director of Grand Lake Home Health and Hospice about the possibility of getting involved with Hospice volunteering. Linda encouraged Pam to call the volunteer coordinator and go through the process of getting on board as volunteers. As volunteers, Pam and Sadie have done several visits and the impact has been awesome. Sadie has yet to meet a stranger and she loves to snuggle on a lap once she greets new people.

For more information about Grand Lake Hospice and its pet therapy program, please contact Julie Jacobs, Volunteer Coordinator at 419-394-3335, ext. 2808