Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
The newest resident of Hardin Hills Health Center walked through the doors only two weeks ago and in those few short days has become one of the most popular guests to call the facility home.
Sassy Girl, also known as “Sassy”, is a seven-year-old beagle who wanders from room to room to visit her favorite residents at the county home.
Pet therapy has been accepted for many years at long-term care facilities, said Hardin Hills Director Mark Rogers. But two months ago, he saw a need for a common pet for the residents at his facility.
A stray dog arrived at the home, said Rogers, and the residents were soon bringing it food and water.
“The dog acted like he had been abused,” said the director. “It was weary, but it wanted to be around people and the residents took to it.”
One day the stray didn’t come back, said Rogers, and his residents worried the worst had happened to it.
“It probably just moved on,” said Rogers.
But he could see, there was a need for a dog at Hardin Hills. Soon he and his wife, Vicki, were searching the internet for a dog with a suitable temperament to be around senior citizens. Vicki found an adult beagle who was at the Lucas County Humane Society. “Sassy Girl” had been raised by a very elderly couple, said Rogers, who could no longer care for her and had given her up to the Humane Society.
He and Vicki visited the shelter, where the staff encouraged the couple to spend time with Sassy.
“I told them, no, it’s not for us, it is for a nursing home,” said Rogers with a chuckle. “They were so excited. They had never done a placement like this before,”
Rogers brought Sassy to Hardin Hills for a visit, but as soon as she walked in the door, he said, she was a member of the Hardin Hills family.
“Once she was here, she pretty much fit right in,” he said. “Believe me, there are more than enough people here to see her needs are met.”
Not every resident likes dogs, said Rogers, and Sassy seemed to pick up on that right away.
“She avoids people who don’t like her, although just about everybody does,” he said.
Sassy also learned very quickly she was not to go into the kitchen or cafeteria areas. A stern warning and Sassy turns from the doors and continues with her visits, said the director.
“She is pretty amazing to me,” said Rogers. “She is a smart dog and catches on quickly. She’s not a puppy with all that excess energy. She is well-mannered.”
Most of the day, said Rogers, she walks from one resident’s room to another, sits down and makes herself at home until it is time to move on. Since Sassy arrived, said Rogers, the mood at the facility has changed. There is a sense of calmness not only with the residents and their families, but within the staff, as well, he said.
“Sassy spreads her time out with everyone,” he said. “She is doing her job and everyone loves her. It is a job she will do for the rest of her life. She has it pretty good here and I think she knows it.”
By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer