It’s not often that you hear paws trotting down the hallways at New Community Extended Care Facility.
Or see a wagging tail, for that matter.
Recently, residents of the Extended Care Facility got a visit from a furry, four-legged friend who introduced himself–with a quick sniff and a happy wag–to anybody who crossed his meandering path.
Rocky, a mixed breed dog known as a Cockapoo, provided entertainment, amusement and excitement when he showed up at the third floor activity room, during a game of bingo.
After the game was put on pause, the nursing home residents gathered in a circle. It was time to play.
Kathleen Sternas, Rocky’s handler, went around the room with Rocky on his leash to familiarize him with his surroundings (Rocky has vision problems due to cataracts, Sternas explained). But before long, Rocky was off his leash, bounding around the room whenever someone called his name. Residents took turns tossing a red frisbee that Rocky fetched.
While several residents petted Rocky and tossed his frisbee, Elizabeth Hairston maintained her distance. But as she watched, a soft smile spread across her face.
Advocates of pet therapy say that animals enrich the lives of people by offering a sense of comfort, security, companionship and loyalty.
“Most of the residents enjoy having pets around,” said Elizabeth Brookins, activities director at New Community Extended Care.