Chicago Methodist Senior Services’ Wesley Place residents recently met a new furry friend: Emma. She’s a golden retriever with Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dogs, a faith-based nonprofit with a team of golden retrievers who interact with people of all ages across the country. When the K-9 comfort dogs are not visiting people who have experienced traumatic events, they are brought to local communities like Wesley Place to brighten people’s days.
LCC’s comfort dogs spend 2,000 hours training to develop the patience, instincts and good behavior which help them make someone’s day better. The handlers receive three days of initial training as well as ongoing training once they pair with the retrievers. Then, the dogs are placed in communities for a bit of canine comfort.
Emma’s visit to lit up the Wesley Place community. Residents pet, laughed and talked with the mild-mannered dog. Emma brought back memories for residents who once had their own dog or knew one that was really special to them. Volunteer Coordinator at CMSS Anne Pothour coordinated the first visit from LCC’s comfort dog.
“Animal visits are really popular among residents, volunteers, and staff as well,” Pothour said. “They make for a really calming, therapeutic atmosphere which is especially important for people living with memory loss.”
Pothour is working on coordinating regular visits for CMSS communities from Emma and her cuddly colleagues.
To see more of the K-9 Comfort Dogs, visit LCC’s website or you can check out the puppy retrievers in training. You can also follow the CMSS blog to read more stories about animals visiting residents.