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Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016

Pet Therapy

Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013, at 10:52 AM

Delta showing some love to one of the residents. Delta is hard to take pictures of because she is black, but she right there snuggling up.
My grandma had gray hair from the time I can remember her. She also had dentures, got her hair fixed every Friday, and never missed church on Sunday. She was always ''old'' to me. I tagged along to play Bingo, make cookies, visit the neighbors, and would go to Spencer shopping with her on Saturdays. I spent a lot of time with her and have many wonderful memories of her.

Grandma was a nurse and continued to work at our local nursing home well after retirement age. She was even older than many of the residents where she would work the 3-11pm shift.

It was heart breaking to me when she suffered a stroke and was unable to care for herself at home. She entered a nursing home in Spencer only to be very miserable. She was a very independent lady, and just wanted to be in the comforts of her own home. I did my best to visit her, take her to church and bring her to my home to bring her some joy, but the sadness on her face never truly left.

After suffering a second stroke while in the nursing home, she was unable to speak a language any of us spoke (we believe she reverted back to her heritage and spoke Norwegian). She also was not mobile anymore.

Grandma passed away shortly thereafter, but she left me with the compassion I have for elderly people.

Yesterday I took Delta, my foster girl, to the nursing home to visit the residents. Delta has that ''old soul'' way about her and is very patient and loving. I felt she would be great at this task. She was just that. She visited anyone that would have her and politely accepted pats on the head, gently took treats, and even licked a few hands. She made eyes light up, smiles shine bright, and provided a listening ear to all she came in contact with.

Pets are wonderful therapy to anyone, at any age. Please consider sharing your pet with those that may need a little company, a break in the daily routine, something else to focus on and think about. A few minutes out of your day may just make someone else's entire day.

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It's a Dog's Life
Stephanie "Foster Mom" O'Brien
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My name is Stephanie O'Brien. I'm an animal lover and enjoy volunteering. I have combined those passions into providing a temporary home to animals that would otherwise be sitting in a shelter or worse, euthanized due to lack of room in a shelter. For the past two years I've fostered pit bull type dogs for a rescue in South Dakota. I've also had the opportunity to do some presentations on responsible pet ownership and have been involved in fighting breed specific legislation in SD and IA. I'm looking forward to providing the readers with animal related topics and possibly answer any questions you may have. Enjoy! Stephanie Sioux Empire Pit Rescue Volunteer
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