Roxy the dog brings out smiles
By Sue Tiffin
Campbell walks through the automatic doors of the Minden emergency
department and is immediately greeted by name by nurses, who get a quick
pet in. She then takes a moment to cozy up to anyone waiting at triage
who might need a cuddle before she walks on through to her intended
destination, Hyland Crest.
she basks in the same enthusiastic reaction to her visit – staff and
residents light up when they see her face, and as she walks toward them
she offers them a famous smile in return, connecting in friendship.
is a friendly nine-year-old golden retriever who has been visiting
residents, especially her great-aunt Agnes, since she was about seven
weeks old. When Roxy walks into Agnes’s room, the woman smiles at the
sight of the dog, feeding her treats to both of their delight.
After the visit, or perhaps once the treats run out, Roxy heads next door to see Bob Hurrie.
“Don’t rush,” says Bob, offering a treat, then a pet, a treat, then a pet, to Roxy, who gobbles it all up.
there, she walks down to the common room of the long-term care
facility, stopping for interaction as she’s recognized along the way,
before flopping down on her side next to a television broadcasting late
afternoon soap operas. She wags her tail a few times in acknowledgement
of people greeting her, and waits for her friends to approach her.
just part of her routine, isn’t it?” says Andy Campbell, as he looks at
his dog with pride. “She comes in, says hello. It’s all about food. But
she likes people, as most dogs do, wants to go and see them, say
is Andy’s third golden retriever, and the second to visit Hyland Crest
with him, about twice weekly, when he stops in to say hello to his aunt.
Andy says, “Let’s go see Agnes,” and the two walk down the street to do
of her routine is to come through the emergency department and stop at
the triage,” he said. “I always cut through, and when I cut through with
the dog, somebody would see me and I’d stop to talk to them, say hello.
The next time, Roxy will look for that person. Then the next time,
someone else might say hello. And Roxy will come in and look for that
person. And now she just stops. When we were just there before, the
nurse came out and pet her. Isn’t that nice? It’s really nice.”
he speaks of Roxy, a resident who once had a dog on her farm comes to
the common room, gets down on her hands and knees, and pets Roxy’s
belly, before offering the coveted treat.
“I do appreciate knowing you,” she says to the dog.
a connection they can make,” says Andy. “If you can make a connection
with a dog, it’s not going to interrupt your routine, but maybe change
it a little bit …And most of them had dogs at some point in their
life, so they go, ‘oh, this reminds me of Trixie,’ or ‘my dog…’ and I
end up having a conversation with them about their pets.”
And the visits are nice for Andy, too.
get a great deal of satisfaction too, because I end up talking with the
residents,” he says. “You end up making a connection as well, and
that’s nice. She’s made friends, and I’ve made friends.”