Meet Bobby the therapy pug. Bobby has been a registered therapy dog for over three years. Early in his volunteer career, Bobby and his handler Heather would visit a local special education class where Heather was a teacher’s aide. Many of the students had serious health concerns including terminal illness, but they all responded very positively to Bobby’s visits. Some of the non-verbal children would end up speaking some of their first full words or learn to re-speak words after working with Heather and Bobby.
Unfortunately, Heather had to leave her teaching position due to health-related issues and relocating with her husband, but that didn’t stop Heather and Bobby from volunteering in their new community; they participated in various activities, from local nursing homes during Christmas to veterans centers. Heather continued to deal with health issues, to the point where she needed to use a wheelchair full-time. Bobby was a huge support to Heather during this difficult time. When Heather was physically rehabilitated and able to walk on her own, they moved once again for her husband’s job. Now in another new community, Heather made a promise to herself to keep volunteering with Bobby and let him continue to visit others where he is needed most.
Heather and Bobby volunteer weekly and take pride in their volunteer work visiting with nursing home residents and patients with Alzheimer. Some of the patients may not remember Heather, but they always remember Bobby, and Bobby remembers them. Heather and Bobby are also involved with reading assistance intervention, and they have plans to volunteer as a team with their local Boys and Girls club soon!
Story provided by Heather Deaton
Bobby and Heather are members of Pet Partners and local Community Partner Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi
Image credit: Cassandra Farve Pekinto of the Sea Coast Echo