Western Michigan Brittany Club member Bill Houghtaling of Hastings, Michigan made the cover of the Hastings Reminder in honor of his therapy work with his two Brittanys Bandit and Ranger. Congrats, Bill!
“When my dogs visit with a patient in a hospital or nursing home, I have them sit with the patient on a chair or, if the patient wants, next to them on their bed, and then I take their picture,” said Houghtaling, a member of Therapy Dog International. “Then, I print and frame the picture so I can give it to them on my next visit. They get a big smile when I do and I see that most of them keep that picture in their room.”
What’s most moving for Houghtaling are the visits and memorable moments when he, Bandit, and Ranger visit patients whose challenges may not allow the time to enjoy a framed picture.“When we visit hospice patients the dogs sometimes get some of the most frail to talk or give a little, what I call, a half-smile, when they sit with them,” said Houghtaling. “The hospice nurses have told me it is really special for patients to react to the dog visit. Some of it brings tears to my eyes, and a special, good feeling.”
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