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Pet visits bring joy to John Knox Village residents and associates

John Knox Village residents who have had pets often remember their animals with fond memories that often feelings of love and companionship. The Village has pets throughout the continuum of care that evoke those feelings – and sometimes more – during one-on-one visits.

For example, there’s Lincoln, a miniature Golden Doodle who visits certain patients at Village House and other areas of the Village Care Center. Karen Hubbard, who is Lincoln’s owner and the Village Hospice bereavement coordinator, has taken Lincoln with her on visits for the past two years.

Karen said Lincoln’s visits with patients, residents, visitors and associates have multiple physical benefits. In addition to decreasing blood pressure levels, Lincoln has been known to engage individuals, encouraging them to socialize and elevating their moods.

An added bonus to Lincoln’s visits, according to Karen, are the love and smiles he brings to everyone he encounters.

“People will just stop and want to pet him, especially great-grandchildren and grandchildren,” Karen said. “It’s fun to watch, and Lincoln is so good with them all.”

John Knox Village Residents Love Their Pets

Rometta Ferguson, a patient at the Village House, loves seeing Lincoln walk through the door.

“She gets a big smile on her face and just enjoys being able to pet Lincoln,” said Cathy Ferguson, Rometta’s daughter. “It really does bring a bright spot to the day when he visits.”

Several other volunteers bring their pets to visit at the Village Care Center. Cleo the Cat has been visiting for more than five years and has become rather well known. Her owner, Dennis Friedrich, said the visits will continue for as long as Cleo enjoys them.

“We’re definitely behind the scenes and known as Cleo’s parents,” Dennis said. “She is uniquely a calm cat and just enjoys being around the residents. It’s wonderful for my wife, Dorothy, and I, as well. We enjoy hearing the residents’ stories about their pets. So many have had to leave pets behind, and being able to pet an animal can bring them joy and a smile to their face, which brings us satisfaction.”

Pets Throughout the Continuum

Across the campus, Village Assisted Living and Village Assisted Living Memory Care participate in Pets for Life, a program that aims to enhance the lives of those who are in need of physical, mental and social stimulation. Once a week, a pet visits residents at Village Assisted Living Memory Care 3. Once a month, a volunteer brings in a pet to see residents at Village Assisted Living.

Trisha Rains, Village Assisted Living activity coordinator, said residents are always eager for the pet visits.

“They really brighten up when they see the pets and get to love on them,” Trisha said. “The pet visits have such a positive effect – it’s a great part of the activities we offer.”