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Therapy dogs visit residents

April 23, 2020

Some friends of the Continuing Care Center stopped by the center on Monday to do a long-distance hello; therapy dogs Gunner, Pippin, Cheyenne and Sequoia said “hi” to their friends through a window.

Gunner and Pippin are owned by Laura Finion and Cheyenne and Sequoia are owned by Lori Herbel. They are a part of the HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis response Dog Team — a national nonprofit that has been working since 2001 to bring comfort to the victims of disasters.

Trained as therapy dogs, the teams can be deployed by FEMA or other organizations to disaster areas.

The dogs have been visiting the center weekly for the last two years and Finion said the staff and residents have become family to them over the years.

“We miss them and the dogs miss them even more,” she said.

“We stayed outside and visited through windows to residents and staff,” Finion said. “We knocked at windows and did a distance hello from both us and the dogs.”

Finion said the visit was scheduled with staff from CCC and they all worked hard to do it in a way that kept residents and staff members protected. Finios and Herbel wore masks and the dog wore signs saying “Hi, we have missed you!”

Finion said that she and Herbel hope to be able to do this weekly as until they can return to their regular visits with residents in the center.

“We had not wanted to stop our visits and found a way to do it safely for us and for staff,” Finion said. “It’s such a hard  time, and a time that the dogs are so needed to bring a smile to all.”

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