West Village Nursing Home
Klecko and I were making a visit and a group of residents were in the main living room. We went from person to person and there was one woman who was just staring off, not even realizing we were standing in front of her. The attendant told me she had Alzheimer’s. So we made our rounds and then I looped back to this one woman and then she started to tell me that when she was a young girl she sang on the boardwalk of the Jersey Shore and she asked if she could sing a song to Klecko, so I said “sure”. Next thing she starts belting out “Pennie’s from Heaven”. It was phenomenal and all the residents gathered around. You would have thought this woman was paid entertainment, not a resident with Alzheimer’s. When she was done I thanked her and said “Klecko loved it”, so she said, “well then, I’ll sing it again”, and she did. I truly believe that was all Klecko’s doing. The woman wanted to sing to Klecko, not me or anyone else. Not only did she come to life, but so did the rest of the residents as she sang her heart out.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
One day Klecko and I got off the elevator to start our rounds and a nurse came over to me and said she had a message for me. There had been a very sick man that we had been visiting over the course of a few weeks. The nurse told me that the man passed away, but his daughter wanted me to know that the only time her dad was happy in his last few weeks was when Klecko was visiting him. I was so overwhelmed by this. To think that this woman’s father just died, and she took the time to make sure she got a message to me. The impact that Klecko had on this patient and his daughter was far greater than I could have imagined.
On another visit to Memorial Sloan Kettering
As I stepped off the elevator, a nurse grabbed me and asked me to go to a patient’s room because she was about to be transported to hospice and her family was very upset. So Klecko and I walked into the room and everyone was crying and the patient’s eyes were closed. They see Klecko, everyone starts smiling, their mom wakes up from the hospital bed and starts telling stories of their family dogs. I stayed with the family until they wheeled the mom to the elevator and the whole way was smiles and dog stories. They couldn’t thank me enough for being there. In my mind I thought, all I did was walk into a room, but again, Klecko (and the other therapy animals) have an overwhelming impact on people.
We were at a Pet Therapy event and one of the students spent a lot of time with Klecko. As she was leaving she said to me, “Klecko must have been Mother Teresa in her former life.” I thought that was such a sweet thing to say and to compare Klecko to the likes of Mother Teresa – that’s a tall order!