Sign In

Pets deliver happiness

April 1, 2020

After receiving news that elderly residents were isolated to their rooms in local living facilities due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a group of community members decided to share some germ-free smiles any way they could.

“I started brainstorming things that could be done to help, such as putting bird feeders and yard art outside their windows,” said Veronica Koliba. “Then the thought of a pet parade just popped in my head that other than family, who or what would bring joy and smiles to anyone’s face?  Duh, animals.”

Koliba reached out to Trinity Shores of Port Lavaca, and they were on board with the ideas, but pets are not allowed in the facility. That didn’t stop Koliba and her group of community members who were willing to help with the project.

Local resident Carley Stringo sent out a message on the “Six Mile Friends and Neighbors” Facebook group to recruit friends and pets.

“Some of the people on that page messaged some other friends with pets to join,” said Stringo. “There was about 13 to 15 of us. We just walked around the facility to wave and show the animals through their windows. The residents were thrilled to see the animals, and many of them left notes in the windows thanking us.”

“The residents had to get word through a memo to have blinds raised at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening because you may see a cow,” she said. “We had to ensure all of them had a means to watch as some of the rooms do not face the outside perimeter of the residence where we were allowed to parade – accomplished by a hard-working, caring staff.”

“We hoped to brighten spirits of the residents. I have a grandfather in the VA nursing home in Floresville, and he is missing us so much,” she said. “I just thought this was a way I could help someone else’s grandparent or loved one.”

Koliba reached out to Amy Mauer, who volunteered her “big fluffy dog”, and Alicia Fivecoat dressed her Shitzus in tutus. Jennifer Soefje volunteered to bring her baby goat. Krystal Krystal Stringham and her son volunteered their larger-than-life dog. Stringo brought her emotional support animal, Demi, who is a 1-year-old black Labradoodle, and she hopes to do it again.

Sarah Brumfield and her family of five also replied.

“Yes, we’ll bring a pony for sure and maybe a cow depending on her moooood,” said Brumfield.

Margaret Alvarez, Jamie Grimaldo, and her daughters, Twyla Sandberg and JoAnn Marek, also volunteered their time and pets. Twenty-two people and 11 pets made the event possible.

Koliba said the residents loved their visit and feedback from Trinity Shores was that it made them so happy.

“Our mission was to bring smiles to the residents,” said Koliba. “I think we accomplished it.”

The group is making plans to continue their pet parade even after the COVID-19 isolation is over. They have since visited other facilities in the community.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more