Frank Huber and Ozzie, Wantagh Pet Therapy Team
My mother-in-law was in and out of various facilities - assisted living residences, hospitals, rehab centers and nursing homes - and I saw some therapy dogs volunteering at these places. I knew that Ozzie was a special dog and would be very good as a therapy dog.
One day we were at a dog event in Westbury and Bideawee had a table where they were recruiting pet therapy teams. Immediately I knew that this would be something Ozzie and I could enjoy together. Shortly thereafter, we signed up, took the class and began volunteering at various assisted living centers and nursing homes. Ozzie and I enjoyed meeting everyone at these centers and we quickly got to know the residents and their families very well. Everyone liked and petted Ozzie and he became a local celebrity! People would mob us when we came to visit. You would hear, “Ozzie’s here” echoing through the halls, and in no time, Ozzie’s fan club would assemble. We would walk into a room where three-quarters of the people were sleeping and by the time we left, everyone was engaged and chatting. In addition to our regular visits, we now enjoy visiting various college campuses at students’ exam time with the Stressbuster Team. The students are fun and enthusiastic, just like Ozzie.
Volunteering gives us an opportunity to meet many people who derive great pleasure from interacting with Ozzie. It gives the residents a chance to remember the good times they had with their own dogs and they often share their stories with us. How often do you have the opportunity to make people happy by just visiting and chatting with them while they pet your dog?
And now we look forward to adding a new “job” - visiting out-patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in Hauppauge. We can’t wait to make new friends there, and we’re so grateful to be a part of Bideawee’s pet therapy program.
Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.