As my soon-to-be 89-year-old father continues on a long uphill road to recovery, there’s a dog helping him get there.
Somehow, that makes me — being, until last week, on the other side of the country – feel more comfortable.
More important, I’m guessing it makes him — being a hard core dog lover — feel more that way, too, as well as more motivated, and more at home in a strange place.
I’ve long argued that most every kind of facility where humans are gathered needs at least one dog — be it prison or school, be it office or shop, be it assisted living center, group home or skilled nursing center.
So I was thrilled when I learned my Dad was working with a therapist with a dog, and even more thrilled, when I arrived in Phoenix for a week-long visit, to get a chance to meet them in person and watch them in action.
My dad became ill last year, entering a hospital with stomach problems and suffering a heart attack while there that would lead to an induced coma of several weeks.
Once he came out of it, he had to relearn things like eating and walking, and — having a lot more fight in him than most people — he made great progress during his stay in a skilled nursing facility in Mesa called Mission Palms. His recovery was so quick and so surprising the facility did a write-up on him in its monthly newsletter: “William Woestendiek’s Success Story.”
After several weeks there, he moved on to an assisted living center.
There, unfortunately, he regressed, to the point he was returned to the same skilled nursing facility, where he was fortunate enough to be assigned to a therapist named Cristina, and her dog, Henry Higgins.
Henry, now about a year and half, has been working at Mission Palmsy since he was three months old, and the first thing I noticed about him was how he made everyone’s face light up upon seeing him, both patients and staff, and definitely my father’s.
For starters, they played some fetch, which required my father hoisting himself out of his wheelchair and throwing a tennis ball. My father did the work, but I think the anticipation on Henry’s face — as he sat there looking at him, patiently waiting — provided the encouragement.
After that, a putting green was hauled out and my father tried to sink some putts, as Henry looked on.
Henry is a pointer-setter mix, with long brown hair from his tail to the top of his head, but short hair on his muzzle. Cristina, who chose him from a friend’s litter, said “he was the biggest, ugliest one, just a big huge fur ball.” Out of all the pups, she said, he seemed the most sociable and interested in humans. You can see Henry’s Facebook page here.
I know surgeons and doctors probably deserve most of the thanks, and are the main reason my father is still around. I know too that nurses — and he’s been fortunate to have some exceptional ones — can make all the difference in the world in times like this.
But as for right now, amid all other uncertainties, as my father spends at least a couple more weeks at Mission Palms, I’m probably most grateful that he’s in the capable hands of a caring therapist and an encouraging dog
(Photos: Courtesy of Henry)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 28th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill woestendiek, dogs, facility, health, henry, henry higgins, illness, medicine, pets, recovery, skilled nursing, therapy, therapy dogs, william woestendiek
A Kentucky mother of seven wants to gets something more precious than gold back – her dog — but Fort Knox is standing in the way.
Kim Church, of Radcliff, wants the army base to return her family’s 2-year-old Weimaraner, Riley, who was impounded in mid-June after either wandering onto, or being taken to, the secure base.
Fort Knox’s stray animal facility sold the dog to a new owner 11 days after she was picked up by military police, according to the Press-Enterprise, in Hardin County, Kentucky.
The dog disappeared from the family’s yard. Her tags — but not her pink collar — were found in the yard.
Church said she searched all over town for Riley, called city and county pounds and put an ad on Craigslist. A caller notified her that she saw a dog that looked like Riley at the Fort Knox PX, where the post was hosting a pet adoption fair.
The post’s animal shelter is not open to the public – like much else at Fort Knox. Instead, it adopts out animals through PetFinder.com and adoption fairs.
Church said she called the facility, but post officials cited HIPAA — the same federal law which prevents hospitals from disclosing patient information – and refused to shed any light on Riley’s whereabouts.
A spokeswoman told the newspaper that a Weimeraner was found by military police and was taken to the pound, bu twould not release any information about the new adoptive owner.
Church filed a report with Radcliff police, claiming her dog was stolen. She’s launched a Facebook page to rally support for her cause and posted an updated advertisement on Craigslist, explaining the details of Riley’s disappearance and subsequent adoption.
“The vet told me I’d have to take this to the Pentagon,” Church said. “If that’s what it takes. …”
(An update on this story can be found here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animal, animals, army, base, church, confidentiality, dog, dogs, facility, fair, family, fort knox, impounded, kentucky, kim church, ohmidog!, pets, private, radcliff, riley, stray, weimaraner
A small dog got wedged in a mechanized reclining chair at an assisted living facility in suburban Chicago and had to be freed by firefighters.
Naperville firefighters used a saw to cut the chair apart, and reported the dog, who belongs to a resident, didn’t appear to have been harmed – either by the chair or the rescue.
Firefighters were called to the Sunrise of Naperville assisted living center Thursday night, the Daily Herald reported. Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Bolda said the dog didn’t appear to be in pain when firefighters arrived on scene. A nurse’s aide was relieving some of the pressure from the chair to help the dog breathe, he said.
Bolda said the chair’s electrical controls stopped working when the dog became wedged, so the only option left was to saw the chair apart.
“It took about five minutes to get him free,” Bolda said. “We’ve never had to rescue a dog like that before.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assisted living, center, dog, facility, mechanized, news, ohmidog!, pets, recliner, reclining chair, rescue, resident, saved, stuck, sunrise of naperville, trapped, traps