Sign In

Oliver The Therapy Dog

May 18, 2020

Residents at Stone Brook Assisted Living and Memory Care in Denison are accustomed to seeing Monarch Hospice’s therapy dog Oliver almost every week, but COVID-19 restrictions on visitation have changed that.

“One of our residents Glenn, every day has asked, ‘When’s Oliver coming? When’s Oliver coming? Can he get in my room? Can he get in my bed?'” said Kim Ortiz, Stone Brook’s activities director.

Oliver has done virtual visits with the residents before, but they haven’t seen him face-to-face in months.

“They can’t pet Oliver like they normally do… or sneak him crackers… but I think just seeing him gave them a little bit of hope and understanding that we’re doing this just to keep them safe,” said Monarch Hospice community liaison Brandy Barnard said.

Visitation restrictions are still in place, so families haven’t been able to come and visit their loved ones. That’s why these window visits are providing the comfort these residents need.

“It’s still therapy, even though they’re not getting to pet Oliver,” Ortiz said. “They’re still getting to see him, and — as you’ve seen — they know his name and they recognize him, and they all need that familiarity right now, especially with what’s going on.”

Ortiz added that having these activities to look forward to can help make each day special.

“They just love him so much, and it just brings such a joy… and the smiles, it just makes my heart melt,” she said. “We even had someone shedding some tears… they just love him.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcome New Canine

    After the unexpected passing of longtime Police Service Dog Zeus earlier this week, Kingston Police are welcoming a new member to the Canine Unit. Police Service Dog Bask, also known as K9-8, is a Dutch Shepherd and Belgium Malinois mix, and will be patrolling the streets of Kingston with his handler Constable Jeff Dickson. Bask […]

    Read more

    Dog Park For Travelers

    St. Petersburg is widely recognized as a dog-friendly city, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is making sure its four-legged visitors and their humans feel welcome by rolling out the artificial turf carpet. With the completion of the airport’s parking and roadway project – part of a series of multi-million dollar improvements at the airport over the […]

    Read more