You may be wondering, have creatures from the world of Harry Potter stopped by the skilled nursing facility for a visit?
Nope, nothing as fantastical as that.
The magical beasts that frequent the halls of Life Care Center of Westminster, Colorado, are rescue foster pups!
Why are they magical? Because of the joy and smiles they instantly bring to the residents, patients, associates and visitors of the facility.
Judith Wright, a resident since August 2014, shared, “When you have all that love from animals your entire life, coming here feels empty. I wasn’t depressed, but I need something to hug. When the pups are here, I get all kinds of loving, unconditional love.”
Angela Rodenburg, director of the business office, is a founding member of The Good Dog Rescue, a non-profit that is entirely foster-based and takes in canines from shelters with the highest need.
Rodenburg not only volunteers as a director within the rescue. Her family also fosters. Since beginning volunteering, the Rodenburg family has fostered more than 70 dogs.
Seeing the reaction of the residents when pets visited, Rodenburg knew this was a match made in heaven. Most of the shelter pups come to the rescue confused and stressed from shelter life. They have not received the love and affection they deserve. What better place could there be for the pups than in the arms of a loving senior?
The foster dogs that Angela brings to the facility are anywhere from 6-week-old puppies to hospice care seniors. When foster dogs are visiting, there is usually a line out the business office door and down the hall as soon as the residents learn the magical beasts have arrived.
“When I see a non-verbal resident reach to caress their fur, when I see an otherwise hyper dog sit calmly at the feet of a resident in a wheelchair for loving, when I see the instant exchange of love, I generally have goose bumps, and my eyes well up with tears,” said Rodenburg. “Without words they have communicated to each other understanding and unconditional love.”
“I love them,” said resident June Maclellan. “They are magnificent! It makes me feel good to hold them. I grew up in the country and have always had dogs, cats and horses.”
Fellow resident Judy Welch commented, “Nothing feels happier to a person that’s here [than holding the pups]. The dogs are happy to be in your arms or in your lap.”
Welch added that she loves “to watch the changes in people’s faces when they are holding the puppies and to hear them giggling like they are young again.”
The visits are most definitely a win-win experience with benefits for both the seniors and the foster pups. Rodenburg will continue to bring the dogs as long as it brings joy to those at the facility and is looking forward to fostering another pregnant momma so the residents can participate in caring for the family until the puppies are old enough for adoption.