Get to know our members better by reading more about them! If you’re a member and would like your story included, contact Laura Ackerman.
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Laura Ackerman and Addie
Animal Partner’s Name: Addie
Species and/or Breed: Bernese Mountain Dog
Registered Team Since: 2014
How You Became Interested in AAI Work: I took an obedience class with a trainer who was offering a therapy dog class. I took the class and realized my dog had the potential to do this work.
Your Partner’s Favorite Place to Visit: She enjoys reading with children because she can lay down and take a nap! She also enjoys visiting with college students, especially the students at Rocky Vista University, who are always so kind to her (and me).
Your Favorite Place to Visit: I enjoy visiting college students during finals week. They are under so much stress and missing their family and pets back home so they are always happy to see us. One medical student commented that the day the DPP dogs visited her campus was, “the best day of medical school ever!”
Your Most Memorable Visit: One year on Christmas Addie and I visited a senior living facility. There were not as many people to visit as I expected, because most residents were busy with their families. As we walked through the assisted living floor, a family member asked if we would visit her 92-year-old mom, who told me how she was temporarily in assisted living while she recovered from a fall, and her daughter was caring for her dog temporarily. She missed her dog terribly and greatly enjoyed the visit with Addie, who settled at the woman’s feet while the woman stroked her. As I left, the daughter confided to me that her mom would never be able to live independently again and would never be able to have her dog live with her again, so this visit meant more to them than I realized. That really moved me, as I know how I would feel if I had to give up my pets. That one visit made the whole day worthwhile.
How Your Partner Unwinds After a Day of Work: We go for a walk and then she takes a nap. Napping is high on her list of priorities.
Sebastian Roesinger and Hobbes
Animal Partner’s Name: Hobbes
Species and/or Breed: Chocolate Labrador Retriever
Registered Team Since: 2016
How You Became Interested in AAI Work: My mother has MS and I noticed how much better she felt when Hobbes was around. I wanted to share that with others.
Your Partner’s Favorite Place to Visit: Chatfield Reservoir? Swedish Hospital? As in therapy work or just in general?
Your Favorite Place to Visit: Washington Park? Swedish Hospital? As in therapy work or just in general?
What You’ve Learned from Volunteering with Your Partner: That I have so much to be grateful for, that life is precious
Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know: Hobbes used to be a blood donor too at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, but had to retire early
Sandy Langley and Greyson
Animal Partner’s Name: Greyson
Species and/or Breed: Shetland Sheepdog (“Sheltie”)
Registered Team Since: 2014
How You Became Interested in AAI Work: When my son was young and was a patient at Children’s Hospital in Ohio, the only thing he remembered from his stay was the dog that came to visit!
Your Partner’s Favorite Place to Visit: Rocky Mountain Cancer Center (“RMCC”)
Your Favorite Place to Visit:Rocky Mountain Cancer Center and Rocky Vista University
How Your Partner Unwinds After a Day of Work: A nap on the couch.
Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know: Greyson and I have had many visits with patients at The Medical Center of Aurora. One in particular was a gentleman who was recovering from cancer surgery. He instantly bonded with Greyson and thanked us for stopping by to visit.
Several weeks after our visit, the Volunteer Coordinator asked if Greyson and I could visit on a particular day, as the wife of a new patient wanted to know if a therapy dog could be with her husband on his first day of chemo. I said, “Yes of course!” Much to all of our surprise it was the gentleman we had met at the hospital. It was a very heartfelt visit and one I will never forget.
Diane Anderson and Ruby
Animal Partner’s Name: Ruby
Species and/or Breed: Golden Retriever
Registered Team Since: October 2017
How You Became Interested in AAI Work: My good friend Jim Harper had BluJeans, a wonderful male golden retriever who was a therapy dog for DPP. I took care of Blu when Betty and Jim went out of town. I absolutely loved Blu and was so devastated when he passed away. When my husband passed away in 2014, I made the decision to get a golden and my goal was to have a therapy dog. Ruby came into my life a year to the day after my husband died. She has fulfilled my dream.
Your Partner’s Favorite Place to Visit: Ruby loves every place that we have been: Brookdale Alzheimer Center in Lakewood, Porter Memory Care at Downing and Yale, and various distress events that we have had the opportunity to experience.
Your Favorite Place to Visit: I love visiting Brookdale Alzheimer’s Center because I have a friend who is a resident there.
How Your Partner Unwinds After a Day of Work: Ruby loves to chew things! If I don’t give her acceptable choices, she will seek out alternatives like pens, pencils and newspapers!
What You’ve Learned from Volunteering with Your Partner: It is so wonderful to see the residents and students respond so positively to Ruby and me. Some of the memory care residents have come to remember Ruby, so we try to make our visits as consistent as possible.
Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know: On one visit to Brookdale Alzheimer’s Care in Lakewood, a resident saw Ruby, petted her profusely and then said, “I have something for Ruby – I have been keeping this for her.” The resident went into her room and came out with a colorful ball. Ruby accepted it enthusiastically!