Meet Callie: A Lower Cape Fear Hospice therapy dog

Callie started her journey with Lower Cape Fear Hospice’s pet therapy program about three years ago.

Callie started her journey with Lower Cape Fear Hospice’s pet therapy program about three years ago.

After her owner, Carolyn Francis, adopted her, she noticed how calm and kind she was and figured she should put that to good use.

So she entered her in training to become a therapy dog.

“She was just so special and wanted everybody and everything, so I thought, ‘Well, we need to do something about that. Where you can go,’” Francis said.

Callie passed her training with flying colors according to Francis. Soon after that, off to work she went.

Francis and Callie started volunteering at the airport, nursing homes, and became a part of Lower Cape Fear Hospice’s pet therapy program where they visit every Wednesday.

While they are there, she comforts any patients and families that come across her path.

Sometimes she’ll even get in bed with a patient and take naps with them.

Francis says Callie can sense those who need comfort the most.

“When we were at the airport the last time, there was a lady out in the main lobby,” Francis said. “She went right to her and laid her head in her lap and the lady started to cry and she said ‘I so needed this today. I just lost my father.’”

Callie may be one of the “goodest girls” at Lower Cape Fear Hospice, but she’s not the only one.

The pet therapy program at LCFH aims to provide emotional comfort and relieve stress for those in the care facility.

Gwen Whitley, President and CEO of Lower Cape Fear Hospice, says the therapy dogs often help the patients and families forget the situation they may be in for just a moment.

“Sometimes this can be a very stressful environment,” Whitley says. “And to have a therapy dog come into the room and just be able to sit quietly or to be there with the family, for just a moment, they forget the situation they may be in that this four-legged animal is just bringing a smile to their face and giving them some unconditional love.”

They’ve had other animals in the care center as part of the pet therapy program before as well. Occasionally they will have a cat, and one time they even had a horse for a patient who loved horses.

They were able to open up the door to the patients’ room and the horse came right up and made itself at home.

Patients and families can also bring a family pet to the care center as well.

Lower Cape Fear Hospice is looking for pet therapy volunteers.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit LCFH.org.

Lower Cape Fear Hospice

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