Volunteers and Their Pets Touch Lives
By: Laura Avanesyan, Silverado LA Hospice Administrator
Part of providing the best care possible involves creating innovative volunteer programs that allow others to donate their time to enrich lives. For our hospice patients, the added compassion and friendship is an invaluable comfort.
My favorite volunteer program is our pet therapy program, because it changes lives in an extra special way.
Trained volunteers bring pets, such as cats and dogs, to visit patients in their homes. Pets provide comfort and joy through their ability to give and receive unconditional love. They often break through communication barriers in a way that words cannot match, and have long been used to reach and enrich the lives we touch.
One of the many stories we share often involves a hospice patient named Miss R – a women whose transformation took place back when we first introduced the program.
After being diagnosed with a terminal disease, Miss R. became apathetic and indifferent. She no longer cared to interact with other people or family members. However, our Silverado hospice team and Ash – a pet therapy dog – began visiting Miss R and quickly noticed her renewed passion. Miss R lit up when she met Ash and the two instantly became friends. Her family saw the immediate positive change in their mother and was overjoyed to see her full of life. With the lovable pups help, the Silverado hospice team undoubtedly brought life and love back into Miss R’s heart. Today, it is not uncommon to see a transformation like Miss R’s.
There are many other ways our trained volunteers get involved – from flower delivery to sewing programs. If you’d like to get involved, please visit our volunteer page. We hope you’ll join us!